Rick Porcello has played a part in the Detroit Tigers' streak of solid starts but his next opponent has given him some trouble recently.
Porcello will try to earn his first win over the Minnesota Twins in nearly two years in Friday night's opener of a three-game series.
Detroit's starters have allowed three runs or fewer in 18 of the last 19 games with Porcello (3-3, 4.86 ERA) pitching in three of those contests. The right-hander has been effective in most of his last eight starts as well, going 3-1 with a 3.24 ERA, and gave up two runs and three hits over six innings in a 6-4 win over Cleveland on Saturday.
Porcello has allowed three runs in all but one of those starts but the lone exception was against the Twins. Porcello surrendered five runs and 10 hits in five innings to them May 23 but his teammates helped him avoid a loss by rallying for a 7-6 victory.
Porcello is 0-1 with a 6.30 ERA in his last four matchups with Minnesota (29-34), winners in 11 of 18 and six of eight at home. The Twins, though, had a season-high four-game win streak at Target Field snapped with a 3-2 loss to Philadelphia on Thursday.
After taking a lead on Justin Morneau's two-run double in the seventh inning, Minnesota gave up two runs in the next frame. Jared Burton took the loss in his return from a groin injury.
"You get that situation, you got Burton in the game, we feel pretty good about it," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It didn't work out tonight, but we feel pretty good about that situation."
The Twins have dropped five of seven to the Tigers after winning two of three in the only meeting in Minnesota this season from April 1-4. Before its opening series in 2013, Detroit had won 15 of 19 road games against its AL Central rival.
The Tigers will try to register another win in Minnesota by adding to Scott Diamond's recent woes, and they might get some help if Austin Jackson can return from a hamstring injury that's kept him out since May 11.
Jackson has been rehabbing at Triple-A Toledo this week.
"We have to make sure he's ready to hit up here," manager Jim Leyland said Wednesday. "We'll have to see where his timing is. Hopefully he'll have no issues physically."
Diamond is 1-3 with a 7.26 ERA in his last six starts, and he gave up a career-high seven runs and 10 hits over 4 2-3 innings in a 7-0 defeat in Washington on Sunday.
"I'm really frustrated with the way it went and how it all played out in those last couple of innings for me," he said. "Nothing to really hang my head about. Just come back and continue to stay aggressive."
Diamond (4-5, 5.19) has been much better against Detroit lately, going 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in two matchups this season and 2-0 with a 2.73 ERA in his last five.
Miguel Cabrera, though, has been very successful in their matchups. He's 10 for 19 (.526) with a homer and three doubles against the left-hander.
Josh Willingham is 7 for 13 (.538) with two home runs and seven RBIs versus Porcello.