Robertson Faces Twins
Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau are two of the marquee names that have contributed to the Minnesota Twins' success this season.
Scott Baker, meanwhile, has played nearly as important a role with far less notoriety.
The Twins look to make it five straight wins over the division rival Detroit Tigers on Saturday when the teams continue a four-game series at Comerica Park.
Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Detroit -111 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 9 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 73% of bets for this game have been placed on Detroit -111 (View MLB Bet Percentages).
Although he is tied for fourth on the Twins (52-41) with only five wins, Baker (5-2, 3.32 ERA) has been by far the team's most consistent starter. He has held opponents to three runs or fewer in 19 of his last 20 starts, dating to last season.
The right-hander deserved to win his fourth straight start Monday at Boston after allowing five hits in seven scoreless innings, but left without a decision in Minnesota's 1-0 loss.
"I gave it everything I had," said Baker, who walked two and struck out seven. "We made some great defensive plays, allowing me to continue to pitch and pitch into the seventh inning."
Baker is 1-0 with a 3.83 ERA in three starts this season against the Tigers (46-46). He may want to be careful with Detroit's Magglio Ordonez, who is 10-for-25 (.400) with two homers lifetime against him.
Glen Perkins turned in a strong start and three relievers combined to get the final seven outs as Minnesota won 3-2 on Friday.
"It was a very exciting ballgame again," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It was all Perkins. We needed that performance."
Getting Perkins into the seventh inning was important for the Twins after their bullpen needed to get 22 outs in Thursday's 7-6, 11-inning victory.
"We've all pretty much worked hard innings but we had to be ready for anything tonight," said reliever Matt Guerrier, who made his fifth appearance in seven games.
Nick Punto drove in a pair of runs for the Twins, who have won 18 of their last 23 games. The victory pulled Minnesota - 9-4 this season against Detroit - within 1 1/2 games of the Central-leading White Sox.
Mauer went hitless in four at-bats Friday, but is batting .436 (17-for-39) with 12 RBIs this season against Detroit. Morneau also has hit the Tigers well, going 22-for-53 (.415) with two homers and 10 RBIs.
Detroit has lost six of 10 following a season high-tying six-game win streak.
"Our offense just didn't do anything," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "Too many of our guys had oh-fors.
"We didn't make any opportunities for ourselves. We just didn't do enough."
Coming off his best start of the season, Nate Robertson (6-7, 5.19) looks to keep Detroit from falling below .500.
Robertson was outstanding Sunday at Seattle, allowing one run and four hits over nine innings in a game the Tigers eventually won 2-1 in 15.
The nine-inning stint was his first since June 22, 2005 at Minnesota. It was also the third time in five starts that the left-hander surrendered one run or none.
Robertson is 1-1 with a 7.02 ERA in three starts this season against the Twins, getting roughed up for six runs and 11 hits over four innings in a 6-4 loss at the Metrodome on July 1.
Morneau is only batting .256 (10-for-39) against Robertson, but four of those hits are home runs.
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