|Tigers Go For Sweep of Twins In Crucial AL Central Series|
|Thursday, 19 July 2007 05:45|
Tigers Go For Twin Sweep
That drought is in serious jeopardy since the Tigers will send Jeremy Bonderman to the mound when they try to complete the three-game sweep over the Twins in Thursday's finale.
Detroit (56-36) is a major league-best 31-17 on the road this season and has won 14 of its last 17 away games. The Tigers have taken four of five games at the Metrodome and both series this year after beating Johan Santana and the Twins 3-2 on Wednesday.
Detroit earned its ninth win in its last 11 games overall to boost its AL Central lead to two games over second-place Cleveland and eight games over third-place Minnesota (49-45).
Oddsmakers have made Minnesota -145 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 9 total runs (Matchup). Public betting information for this game is currently unavailable. (View MLB Bet Percentages).
Magglio Ordonez homered and drove in all three runs for Detroit to boost his major league-leading batting average to .358 with 15 homers and 79 RBIs.
"He's a pretty good hitter. He's been a pretty good hitter throughout his whole career," said Santana, who had his five-game winning streak snapped.
Minnesota may be without All-Star center fielder Torii Hunter after he left Wednesday's game in the fourth inning with a mild strain of his left hamstring. Detroit's Marcus Thames also limped off with an injured left hamstring and said he'll see how he feels Thursday.
The Tigers are going for their first sweep at the Metrodome since Sept. 28-30, 1999. They'll hand the ball to Bonderman (10-1, 3.50 ERA), who owns the highest winning percentage in the AL and has won five straight road starts.
The right-hander allowed three runs and six hits, including two homers, over seven innings in a 6-3 win in Seattle on Friday. He didn't issue a walk and struck out five, throwing 62 of his 87 pitches for strikes.
Bonderman, who has lasted at least six innings in 15 of his 17 starts, has won at least 10 games for four straight seasons.
"I think Bonderman is one of those guys to be honest with you, that when he pitches the guys feel good," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "When Kenny Rogers pitches, they feel good. When Justin Verlander pitches, they feel good. When your players feel good behind a guy, I think that's a big lift."
Bonderman is 3-6 with a 5.42 ERA in 13 career games versus the Twins. He pitched eight impressive innings and scattered six hits in a 1-0 home victory over them on July 1 while walking one and striking out seven.
Bonderman opposed Scott Baker (4-3, 5.43) in that game and will do so again Thursday. Baker gave up just three hits in a complete-game effort, but fell to 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA in five career starts versus the Tigers.
The right-hander is trying to win his third straight start after holding Oakland to two runs and five hits over six innings in a 6-2 win on Thursday. He will try to help the Twins avoid getting swept in a three-game series at home for first time this season.
After recording just three hits in a 1-0 loss in Tuesday's opener, Minnesota had 10 on Wednesday, but went just 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left 14 on base.
"It's pretty deflating. We had chances,'' said Twins right fielder Michael Cuddyer, who went 4-for-4 with a walk and was stranded all five times - including after his leadoff single in the ninth.
by: Michael Cash - thespread.com – Email Us
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