Tigers hope for another offensive outburst at Twins

Riley Greene provided some early fireworks for the Detroit Tigers the last time he took the field.

On Thursday afternoon, when the Tigers play the Minnesota Twins in the rubber match of a three-game series in Minneapolis, Greene’s manager hopes to see an encore performance.

“It’s obviously awesome,” Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said after Wednesday’s 9-2 win. “Because when he’s hot, we’re hot.”

Greene tripled, homered and drove in two runs as the Tigers pulled even at one win apiece in the series. Three other Tigers players homered, including Carson Kelly, who clubbed a grand slam to put Detroit on top for good.

Now, the Tigers will go for their first series victory on the road since June 3-5, when they took two of three games from the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas.

Detroit will turn to right-hander Kenta Maeda (2-4, 5.76 ERA), who is set to make his 15th start of the season. The 36-year-old Maeda will return to familiar territory in Minnesota, where he spent the previous four years before joining the Tigers this season.

Maeda is looking to snap a six-game winless stretch. He finished with a no-decision in his most recent outing after giving up two runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings against the Los Angeles Angels last Friday.

In two career starts against the Twins, Maeda is 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA.

Minnesota will counter with right-hander Bailey Ober (7-4, 4.30), who will make his 17th start. The 28-year-old has 92 strikeouts in 88 innings this season.

Ober has won two of his past three starts. He also finished with a no-decision in his latest contest after allowing one run on two hits in six innings against the Seattle Mariners last Friday.

This will be Ober’s 10th career start against Detroit. In his first nine matchups, he has gone 2-2 with a 4.21 ERA, and this season he is 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA in two starts vs. the Tigers.

The series finale will mark the second game since Twins rookie Brooks Lee was promoted to the big leagues from Triple-A Saint Paul. Lee went 2-for-4 with an RBI in his major league debut on Wednesday night.

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli was proud to see Lee get his first hit and his first RBI.

“He went out and got a couple of those things out of the way right away,” Baldelli said. “They don’t have to be on his mind anymore. He can move forward and play some baseball.

“But it never gets old. It never gets old for us to watch young men out there achieving their dreams right before your eyes. Our sport is a pretty special sport in that regard where you get your moment basically in front of the entire stadium, in front of your friends and family, in front of the game.

“No one can really help you once you’re in the box. You’ve kind of got to go out there and fend for yourself and get it done. I was really happy for him. He’s worked really hard to get here, and he’s a good young player.”

–Field Level Media