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08/08/09 1:14 AM ET

Pavano gets first assignment with Twins

Minnesota (53-56) at Detroit (58-50), 6:05 p.m. CT

DETROIT -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that it wasn't hard to slot the newest pitcher in his rotation, Carl Pavano, into Saturday's start against the Tigers.

"That's his day to pitch," Gardenhire said in reference to the fact that Pavano had been scheduled to start for Cleveland on Saturday prior to being acquired by the Twins.

But it certainly didn't hurt that Pavano is 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA in three starts against the Tigers. Two of those starts have actually come at Comerica Park, where Pavano will be pitching again on Saturday.

So is there something about pitching against the Tigers that has made Pavano particularly successful?

"It's tough to put my finger on it," Pavano said. "I was able to stay aggressive. My team put me in position a lot of times to get some runs on the board where I could stay aggressive and make pitches when I needed to. I think every start comes down to that, not just against the Tigers.

"Any start I've had, you've got to make pitches and execute pitches in big times in a game and even when you've got a lead have to stay aggressive. I'm not a guy that's going to pitch around a lot of guys or walk guys. I'm going to go after them. I need to continue that."

Pavano's success has not just been against Detroit. He's a combined 5-1 vs. the Tigers and White Sox this season, the two clubs that the Twins are currently chasing in the American League Central race.

But perhaps the strongest start of the season for Pavano came this past Sunday, when he held the Tigers to just one run over eight innings.

"He'll come in with a lot of confidence," Tigers infielder Ramon Santiago said of Pavano's start on Saturday. "We have to be ready."

With the third-place Twins in the midst of trying to fight their way back into the hunt, trailing Detroit in the division by 5 1/2 games entering Saturday, Pavano was asked what he can do to help the club.

"I think given the opportunity to go out there every fifth day, go deep into ballgames and keep my team in ballgames," Pavano said. "That's really my job. Toe the rubber and be aggressive and be consistent and get these guys in and out of the dugout as quick as possible so they can put some runs on the board. I know they are going to play some good defense behind me. I'm going to keep it simple, just go out there with my game plan, stay aggressive and work deep into ballgames."

With Pavano set to start on Saturday, Glen Perkins has been moved to the bullpen for this series against the Tigers. Gardenhire said that both Perkins and Francisco Liriano, who is currently back in the Twin Cities tending to a family matter, are still technically in the rotation. But the club will soon decide which pitcher will be permanently moved to the 'pen.

Pitching matchup
MIN: RHP Carl Pavano (9-8, 5.37 ERA)
The Twins acquired Pavano on Friday from the Indians to give their rotation a veteran pitching presence and one who can eat up innings.

DET: RHP Justin Verlander (12-5, 3.29 ERA)
Verlander gave up five first-inning runs in his last outing Monday against the Orioles, then shut them down for the next seven innings, allowing Detroit to come back and tie the game before winning on a walk-off homer. It ended Verlander's streak of quality starts at five, but it still marked the Tigers' fifth victory in Verlander's past six starts. He struck out a season-high 13 Twins in his last meeting with Minnesota in May, but ended up with no decision.

Orlando Cabrera extended his career-high streak to 17 games on Friday night with his sixth-inning single. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first player in 79 years to switch teams with a double-digit hitting streak and then continue the streak for at least his first five games with the new team. ... Carlos Gomez left Friday's game in the seventh inning after fouling a ball off his left leg. He was diagnosed with a bruised left calf.

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Up next
• Sunday: Twins (Scott Baker, 9-7, 4.59) at Tigers (Jarrod Washburn, 8-7, 2.93), 12:05 p.m. CT
• Monday: Off-day
• Tuesday: Twins (Nick Blackburn, 8-6, 3.79) vs. Royals (Kyle Davies, 3-8, 6.37), 7:10 p.m. CT

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.