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Twins Looking To Regain First Place

(Sports Network) - The Detroit Tigers are back on top in the American League Central Division and will try to remain there when they resume a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins tonight from Target Field.

The Tigers moved a half-game ahead of the Twins in the AL Central with Monday's 7-5 win in the series opener. Miguel Cabrera and Brennan Boesch hit back-to-back two-run doubles to set the tone in the first inning, whileRyan Raburn had two hits and two runs batted in for Detroit, which has won two straight and three of its last five games.

Jeremy Bonderman recorded the win and was reached for four runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings of work. Jose Valverde then fanned three batters over 1 2/3 innings of relief for his 18th save. The news was not so good for the Detroit bullpen, as setup man Joel Zumaya suffered an elbow injury that landed him on the disabled list Tuesday.

"You heard something different when he let the ball go, and it didn't sound good," Tigers catcher Gerald Laird said on the team's site.

Zumaya, a right-hander, is one of the hardest throwing pitchers in the game and his loss could be detrimental for a Tigers team trying to make some noise in the AL Central. Detroit will send another righty to the mound tonight, as Armando Galarraga is set to make his eighth start of the season. Galarraga is 3-1 with a 3.68 ERA in eight games (7 starts) this season and won his most recent outing last Thursday in a 6-5 triumph over the New York Mets.

Galarraga allowed four runs and five hits in six innings, and is 2-0 in his last five starts, including a near perfect game back on June 2. He hasn't fared so well in his career against Minnesota, going 1-5 with a 5.48 ERA in nine career games, seven of which have been starts.

Detroit is 3-4 on a nine-game road trip and 16-23 away from Motown.

The Twins, meanwhile, have lost two in a row and six of their last seven games to lose ground in the division standings. Jim Thome had two hits, including a home run, and two RBI last night, while Jason Kubel and Delmon Young both knocked in a run.

"They jumped out real quick, they kept putting runs up," said Twins outfielder Delmon Young. "Bonderman pitched well and they got into their bullpen."

Minnesota ace Francisco Liriano was dealt the loss for surrendering six runs and nine hits in six innings. Liriano also struck out six batters.

The Twins will also host Tampa Bay on their current homestand and are 23-14 in their new digs this season. Taking the ball for Minnesota tonight will be Nick Blackburn, who has lost two straight starts and is 0-4 with a 12.05 ERA in five starts since a personal five-start winning streak.

Blackburn previously pitched in a 5-0 loss at Milwaukee last Thursday and yielded all five runs on six hits and three walks over 3 2/3 innings. On the bright side, Blackburn is back at home and owns a 4-0 mark in six Target Field starts this season. He beat Detroit back on May 4 this season with a complete game performance and is 3-3 with a 3.78 ERA in eight career games (7 starts) in this rivalry.

Minnesota has won four of seven matchups with Detroit this season and swept a three-game series at Target Field from May 3-5.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.