Those pitchers will each be in search of a third straight victory in Thursday's four-game series finale at Comerica Park.
Verlander is the only starter to last through the fifth inning in this series as he pitched a four-hitter for his fifth complete game Wednesday in a 5-1 victory that ended the Twins' season-high five-game win streak. Detroit (40-42) got stints of four innings from Doug Fister and 2 2-3 from Duane Below in dropping the first two games of this set."I watch what is going on with our team, and I knew our bullpen was beat up," Verlander said. "I knew I needed to give us at least seven or eight innings."
Minnesota (35-46), which fell to 4-1 at Comerica this season, has fared worse with its starters. Liam Hendriks lasted four-plus innings, Nick Blackburn four and Brian Duensing 4 1-3 on Wednesday before he exited with a bruised left ankle.
Both bullpens could get a break Thursday.
Porcello (6-5, 4.35 ERA) has yielded one run over 13 innings in back-to-back wins while Diamond (7-3, 2.63) has given up five over 16 in his two.
Porcello turned in his first scoreless effort of the season Saturday at Tampa Bay, allowing four hits with no walks over seven innings.
"It's good to get on a little bit of a roll, but I want to keep it going," he said.
The right-hander is 6-4 with a 3.06 ERA in 14 starts against Minnesota, with a 4.50 ERA and no decisions in two this year.
Diamond enters after surrendering two runs over eight innings Saturday in a 7-2 win over Kansas City.
"I was feeling confident earlier, this is just icing on the cake I guess," Diamond said. "I'm pretty happy to be able to just keep going out."
The left-hander went 0-2 with a 3.65 ERA in two starts against Detroit last year, with Miguel Cabrera going 3 for 5 against him.
Cabrera homered twice and drove in three runs Wednesday. He's 13 for 30 with three homers and 13 RBIs against the Twins this year."I think Cabrera saw two fastballs all day, and one went over the center-field fence and the other went over the right-field fence," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That's not smart pitching."
Both teams' center fielders and leadoff hitters have fared well in the season series. Span is 10 for 27 while the Tigers' Austin Jackson , batting .413 with 14 runs scored during an 11-game hit streak, is 7 for 14.
|June 24, 2012||Matt Capps||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|June 17, 2012||Matt Capps||Day-to-Day||Sore right shoulder|
|June 17, 2012||Joe Mauer||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised right quadricep|
|June 16, 2012||Joe Mauer||Day-to-Day||Sore left hamstring|
|June 15, 2012||Justin Morneau||Day-to-Day||Left forearm injury|
|June 14, 2012||P.J. Walters||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|July 02, 2012||Max Scherzer||Day-to-Day||Left hamstring soreness|
|June 25, 2012||Alex Avila||Day-to-Day||Left knee tendinitis|
|June 19, 2012||Jose Valverde||Day-to-Day||Right wrist|
|June 11, 2012||Drew Smyly||15-Day DL||Severe blister, left middle finger|
|June 11, 2012||Drew Smyly||15-Day DL||Severe blister, left middle finger|
|June 06, 2012||Alex Avila||15-Day DL||Aggravated right hamstring strain|
DETROIT (AP) -- Prince Fielder didn't feel any pressure in a big situation.
Fielder hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the eighth inning and Delmon Young followed with a solo shot to lift the Detroit Tigers to a 7-3 win over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday and a split of the four-game series.
Miguel Cabrera 's RBI single for Detroit in the eighth tied it 3-all. The hit scored Austin Jackson , who tripled with one out before pinch hitter Quintin Berry walked.
That set the stage for Fielder.
"It's exciting. ... Miguel took a lot of the pressure off. I can't say enough about the way he played today," said Fielder about Cabrera, who was 2 for 4 with two RBIs. "Like I said, I'm just glad those three guys in the eighth there really set the tone."
Alex Burnett (2-1) relieved starter Scott Diamond to begin the eighth inning after Diamond allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out four.
Burnett, who allowed three runs and two hits in 1-3 of an inning, was relieved by Tyler Robertson after Cabrera's tying hit. Fielder then hammered Robertson's 1-0 pitch into the right-field stands for his 13th homer of the season.
"Just hung a slider to him (Fielder) and he did with it what he's supposed to do," Robertson said. "It wasn't good pitch . . . That happens when you don't make pitches."
Berry knew the ball was gone when Fielder hit it.
"Gosh, that was awesome. As soon as he hit it, I knew he got it. I was fired up," Berry said. "I was fired up that you could tell he's been putting some good swings on some balls and not getting anything from it, just barely missing them and seeing him get that at that point, I'll take that all day. Huge time to come up big."
Fielder, who was voted to start in Tuesday's All-Star Game in Kansas City at first base by the fans, will also represent the American League in Monday night's Home Run Derby. He was selected as one of the four AL participants by captain Robinson Cano . who won the Home Run Derby last season.
"The fans don't want to see me take ground balls," Fielder said. "I figure it'll be fun to do, plus the fans want to see it, might as well do it."
Before his home run Fielder was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts and had nearly knocked Tigers' catcher Gerald Laird out of the game in the top of the fourth
With runners on first and second and none out, Minnesota's Jamey Carroll attempted a bunt and popped it up foul a few feet from the plate down the third-base line. It appeared to be Laird's ball, but both starter Rick Porcello and Fielder went after it.
Porcello got a glove on the ball, but the 275-pound Fielder, running at full speed, knocked both players to the ground and the ball out of Porcello's glove. Laird, who got hit in the eye by Fielder's elbow, lay face down on the ground and had to be checked by Detroit's medical staff. He eventually got to his feet and remained in the game.
Fielder said he called the ball but no one heard him.
"It wasn't loud enough, I don't think I was loud enough. Yeah, I wasn't loud enough," he said.
"Yeah, I think we just both called for it," Laird said. "It gets loud, because the crowd really gets going, and you just kind of - you see it all the time, for some reason, you just don't hear the other person."
Carroll eventually flied out.
Anthony Swarzak replaced Robertson in the eight after he surrendered Fielder's home run and Young sent a 0-1 pitch over the fence in right center. It was originally called a double but it went to instant replay and was changed to a homer. It was Young's seventh home run.
Octavio Dotel (2-2) got the win in relief, allowing one hit in 1 1-3 innings. Jose Valverde pitched a scoreless ninth for Detroit.
Minnesota, which had 15 hits, took a 1-0 lead in the second on three consecutive singles. Brian Dozier got the RBI single on a bouncer up the middle to give the Twins runners on first and third with one out.
But two consecutive runners were thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
Carroll hit a chopper down the third base line and Cabrera charged the ball, picked it up and made a perfect running throw to Laird, who tagged out a sliding Darin Mastroianni .
Dozier advanced to second on the play and Denard Span followed with a line single that left fielder Ryan Raburn corralled before throwing out Dozier at the plate.
"We left a bunch of runners on base and had guys thrown out at home," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said.
The Twins extended their lead to 3-0 in the fourth on an infield RBI single by Span and a run-scoring line single to left by Joe Mauer .
Porcello was lifted after the next batter, Ryan Doumit , drilled a liner off Porcello's body. Porcello couldn't find the ball after it fell to the ground and Doumit was credited with a single.
Rand came out to check Porcello and Tigers manager Jim Leyland pulled him in favor of Darin Downs . Porcello allowed three runs on 12 hits in 3 2-3 innings.
Cabrera's RBI single put Detroit on the board in the fourth.
The Tigers pulled to 3-2 in the fourth on Brennan Boesch 's run-scoring double into the left-center gap. It scored Jhonny Peralta , who led off with a single and moved to second on an error.
NOTES: The start of the game was delayed by rain for 1 hour, 22 minutes. It was the third straight game in the series that began after a rain delay. ... Jackson was 2 for 4 to stretch his hitting streak to 12 games. He is hitting .420 (21 for 50) during the streak. ... The Tigers open a weekend series with Kansas City at Comerica Park on Friday night. Tigers rookie left-hander Drew Smyly (3-3, 4.54 ERA) will face Jonathan Sanchez (1-4. 6.80). ... The Twins open a three-game series at Texas on Friday night. Francisco Liriano (2-7. 5.40) will oppose the Rangers' Martin Perez (1-0, 9.00). . Detroit optioned OF Matt Young to Triple-A Toledo . Minnesota optioned IF Chris Parmelee to Triple-A Rochester and selected RHP Sam Dedundo from the same team.