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DET@CWS: Fister fans six over seven strong innings

The last time Doug Fister took the mound for the Tigers, he had a chance to pull his club even with the White Sox for the lead in the American League Central.

When he makes his next start on Saturday against the Twins, Fister and Detroit will hope it goes nothing like that outing did.

Fister was shelled by Chicago on Monday for four earned runs on eight hits and two walks in just four innings -- and needing 93 pitches to do it. Fister's shaky performance was one of the reasons that cost the Tigers a chance to knot the division standings.

It was also a particularly surprising result considering Fister's showings in his three previous starts. The right-hander had gone 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA, striking out 14 batters over 19 innings.

Predicting Fister's performance against the Twins is even more difficult because of his Jekyll and Hyde-esque showings against them this year. His most recent performance -- on Aug. 14 -- was dominant, seeing him throw eight shutout innings. But Minnesota also banged six runs on eight hits over four innings against him on July 2. And neither side really seemed to claim a decisive advantage in Fister's first start against the Twins this season on May 17, when he allowed four runs on nine hits and two walks in six innings.

Moreover, Fister has baffled some Twins hitters while being dominated by others. Joe Mauer has struggled, hitting just .105 (2-for-19), while Justin Morneau has thrived, hitting .400 (6-for-15).

Meanwhile, just when Minnesota starter Samuel Deduno seemingly figured out his issues with walks, they flared up again. Deduno handed out five walks in only four innings against the White Sox on Sept. 15 after giving up only six free passes over his previous three starts (20 innings).

Deduno struggled as a result, allowing four earned runs in only four innings.

"My mechanics were OK, but I was just trying to do too much," Deduno said. "Nothing was working. But sometimes that's just part of the game."

Twins: Limiting Cabrera
• As far as manager Ron Gardenhire sees it, he can do little from preventing Miguel Cabrera from hurting the Twins during their three-game series. But he can try to limit the damage by getting the batters in front of Cabrera out.

That could be difficult as Detroit's No. 1 and No. 2 hitters in Friday's lineup -- Austin Jackson and Quintin Berry -- came into the series hitting .367 (11-for-30) and .375 (9-for-24) against the Twins this year.

"You've got to keep people off in front of him," Gardenhire said. "It might be a little let through with a couple of one-run homers, but if you start letting up three- and four-run homers it's going to murder you. ... You have to keep those guys off base and make them swing the bat, and then you can work from there and you work around him the best you possibly can."

• Denard Span has experienced frequent success against the Tigers throughout his career. The outfielder is hitting .356 (89-for-250) -- the best clip among active players -- with 11 doubles and eight triples in 60 career games against Detroit, including 27 multi-hit games. He has also logged four-plus hits seven times against the Tigers.

Tigers: Scherzer confident he'll pitch Sunday
• After initially appearing as a scare that could potentially derail Detroit's playoff hopes, Max Scherzer's shoulder fatigue may not cause him to miss any starts. Scherzer felt confident in his ability to start on Sunday after a throwing session on Friday, but he'll throw again on Saturday to make sure he can utilize his full arsenal of pitches.

"I'm expecting I should be able to make the start, seeing how my arm has responded to the treatment and the medicine," he said. "I'm getting the inflammation out. This wasn't a structural damage thing. This was just inflammation. After talking to doctors and realizing there's no structural damage, I don't have any fears or anything about hurting my arm further."

As good as Scherzer says he feels, manager Jim Leyland will approach the situation cautiously. Leyland will look to the advice of Detroit's medical staff following Scherzer's throwing session on Saturday.

"I'll have to be totally convinced by our medical team, which is excellent," Leyland said. "But that clearance will have to come from them."

• As Brennan Boesch's struggles at the plate continue, his playing time also dwindles. Boesch wasn't slated to be in the lineup for Friday's game before it was postponed. He didn't play at all in Detroit's three-game series against Oakland earlier this week. Boesch is hitting just .222 in the month of September with one home run and five RBIs.

Still, Boesch is handling the playing time reduction well, Leyland said.

"I don't imagine he's too happy about it," Leyland said. "But he hasn't put a tack on my chair."

Worth noting
• Despite going just 5-7 against the Tigers this year, Minnesota owns a .292 average (126-for-432) with 23 doubles and 13 home runs in those games. The batting average is the second-highest among all American League teams against Detroit, trailing only Texas (.319).

• The Twins haven't swept a three-game series from Detroit at Comerica Park since Aug. 8-10, 2003.

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