A major key to any team's success over the course of a long season is winning within the division. The Tigers, chasing the Indians for the top spot in the American League Central, have an opportunity to boost their record in the division with a big four-game series against the rival Twins at Comerica Park this weekend.
Minnesota comes to town for the Memorial Day set, which kicks off with the series opener on Thursday evening. Detroit right-hander Rick Porcello will square off against Minnesota lefty Scott Diamond.
The Tigers are 8-6 against AL Central foes. They have a winning record against the other two divisions in the AL and are 3-2 against National League opponents.
The Twins and Tigers have already split six games this year, with Minnesota out-scoring Detroit, 23-20.
The Twins are 0-3 on their current road trip after losing, 8-3, to the Braves on Wednesday.
Porcello is 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA in his last four starts after beating the Rangers on Friday night. He gave up just one run in 5 2/3 innings, with his sinker working well for him all night. He's struck out at least six in three consecutive starts.
"He has been aggressive, throwing a better breaking ball and using his changeup really well," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He's a ground-ball guy, and if he gets strikeouts, that's just a bonus."
Diamond, meanwhile, struggled through 4 1/3 innings against the Red Sox on Saturday. He gave up six runs on eight hits.
"I tried to muscle up too many pitches, and it made the ball stay up in the zone -- and I paid the price for it," he said afterward. "I struggled to find my control and my rhythm and ended up throwing way too many pitches."
Tigers: Cabrera crushing the ball
Reigning AL MVP Miguel Cabrera is riding a remarkable offensive wave. He leads the Majors in batting average (.387), RBIs (52) and hits (70).
Cabrera is hitting .393 with runners in scoring position since the start of the 2011 season, best in the Majors during that time. He is batting .517 (30-for-58) in such situations during the 2013 campaign.
Cabrera's home run Wednesday -- his 13th of the season -- brought his career total with the Tigers to 196, passing Kirk Gibson to take over 10th place in Tigers history. He's four shy of matching Bill Freehan for ninth.
Twins: Morneau in May
• Justin Morneau has hit safely in 18 of 20 games this month (11 multihit games), batting .378 (31-for-82) with 20 RBIs.
Morneau is a .315 career hitter in May with 58 doubles, 50 home runs and 188 RBIs, making it his most productive month of the season.
• The Twins have been swept four times this year.
• Detroit has recorded at least one extra-base hit in 38 straight games. Only the Pirates (currently at 41) have had a longer streak this year.
• Minnesota has allowed 50 first-inning runs this year. Opponents have scored in the first inning in 10 of their last 18 games.