Miguel Cabrera is proving his Triple Crown season of 2012 was no fluke, as he sits at or near the top of the AL in each statistical category yet again.
The reigning MVP looks to extend his hitting streak while helping Detroit deal the visiting Minnesota Twins a ninth consecutive defeat Thursday night.
After leading the league with a .330 average, 44 homers and 139 RBIs last season, Cabrera has started 2013 right where he left off. He's leading the majors hitting .387, is atop the AL with 52 RBIs and ranks second in the league with 13 homers.
Cabrera went 2 for 4 in Wednesday's 11-7 win over Cleveland to help the Tigers (25-19) sweep the two-game set, and he's hitting .469 during an eight-game hitting streak. He's hit five homers -- including three in an 11-8 loss to Texas on Sunday -- and driven in 10 runs over his last three contests.
He got a little help with his latest home run, though, as Indians' center fielder Michael Bourn misplayed Cabrera's fly to the warning track, letting the ball bounce off his glove and into the stands for a two-run homer in the eighth.
"It was a lucky home run," Cabrera said. "I was surprised. That's never happened to me."
Cabrera's 26 homers against the Twins are his second-most versus any team, and he's also hitting .323 lifetime against them. That may not bode well for a Minnesota team that hasn't gotten much help from its pitching staff during its slide.
The Twins (18-25) fell 8-3 at Atlanta on Wednesday, as Vance Worley gave up eight runs in 3 2/3 innings. Minnesota starters have a 8.41 ERA and have lasted more than 4 1/3 innings only twice during the skid.
The rotation's 5.69 ERA on the season is second-worst to only Houston (5.88).
Minnesota has struggled offensively as well while getting outscored 51-22 during the losing streak, but manager Ron Gardenhire is trying to remain positive.
"We're going to Detroit, and if you want to feel sorry about yourself that's not the place to do it," Gardenhire said. "If you get your socks knocked off, you owe to each other to go in there the next day and play the game. I don't have any doubts the guys in that clubhouse will show up ready to play."
The Twins will turn to Scott Diamond (3-4, 4.99 ERA), who has given up six runs in each of his last two starts and left after 4 1/3 innings of a 12-5 loss to Boston on Saturday.
He had gone 3-1 with a 2.13 ERA while pitching at least six innings in each of his previous four starts, including allowing two runs in six frames of a 6-2 win at Detroit on May 1.
The left-hander is 2-1 with a 2.16 ERA in his last five starts versus the Tigers, though Cabrera is 8 for 16 with three doubles in their matchups.
Rick Porcello (2-2, 5.92) will oppose Diamond looking to build off a couple of solid efforts.
He gave up two runs in six innings of Detroit's 4-3, 10-inning loss to Cleveland on May 12 before allowing one run in 5 2/3 innings of Friday's 2-1 win over Texas, striking out six in each outing.
The right-hander gave up three runs in 5 1/3 innings of an 8-2 loss at Minnesota on April 4 and is 6-5 with a 3.35 ERA in 16 career starts versus the Twins.
Minnesota will be without third baseman Trevor Plouffe, who was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion suffered Tuesday while breaking up an attempted double play.