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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, May 11th (All times Eastern)

Detroit Tigers (19-18) at Minnesota Twins (12-22), 1:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Detroit - Phil Coke (1-5, 4.75) Minnesota - Scott Baker (2-2, 2.97)

(Sports Network) - The Detroit Tigers take aim at their fifth straight win this afternoon when they wrap up a brief two-game series against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.

The Tigers moved back over .500 in Tuesday's opener, as Victor Martinez went 3-for-4 with four RBI to help Detroit to a 10-2 win. Jhonny Peralta and Brennan Boesch both drove in a pair of runs for the Tigers, who have won seven of their last eight games.

Over the course of a 10-game hitting streak Martinez is batting .472 (17- for-36) and has driven in 10 runs over his last four contests.

"I thought we swung the bats well," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "I think we played a good game."

Rick Porcello (3-2) was solid for the Tigers, allowing just one run on three hits in five innings.

Twins starter Francisco Liriano (2-5) looked to follow up his no-hitter against the White Sox with another good start, but it was cut short due to illness. He left after the third inning but not before giving up four runs on three hits.

Rene Tosoni hit his first career home run for the Twins, who have dropped four in a row and are a major league-worst 12-22.

"We need some confidence," Twins outfielder Jason Kubel said. "We haven't had that in a while. We get it for a few games and something happens and we just go the other way. Hopefully we'll get it again."

Getting the call for the Tigers tonight will be left-hander Phil Coke, who has lost his last three decisions. Coke's latest loss came on Friday in Toronto, as the Blue Jays reached him for four runs and 11 hits in six innings, dropping the former reliever to 1-5, while raising his ERA to 4.75.

"He just hasn't gotten as many wins as you'd like, but he's done OK," Leyland said. "He's done fine. He competes, and he's got plenty of stuff to do it, without question."

Coke will be making his first-ever start against the Twins, but has faced them 14 times out of the bullpen, going 0-1 with a 4.97 ERA in those appearances.

Minnesota, meanwhile, will rely on right-hander Scott Baker, who is 2-2 with a 2.97 ERA. Baker beat the Boston Red Sox on Friday, holding them to a pair of runs and seven hits -- two home runs -- in eight innings. He also struck out eight in the win and has fanned 34 batters in 39 1/3 frames this season.

"I get more strikeouts and I don't give up as many hits, but sometimes you get hurt as far as home runs," Baker said. "They're going to have them, you've just got to make sure that you're not walking guys, and making sure that nobody's on base when it happens."

Baker is 6-4 lifetime against the Tigers with a 4.63 ERA in 20 starts.

The Tigers split their 18 matchups with the Twins last season, but were just 2-7 in Minnesota. In fact Detroit is just 5-15 in its last 20 trips to the Twin Cities.

05/11 10:33:09 ET