Twins fans, exhale -- your team's 10-game losing streak is over.
And the victory that put an end to that ghastly stretch came at the expense of the first-place Detroit Tigers, as Minnesota took Saturday's game at Comerica Park, 3-2. The two clubs will conclude their four-game series Sunday afternoon, with righty Mike Pelfrey throwing for the Twins against Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer.
Though recent times were lacking in joy for his team, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has been pleased with his players' enthusiasm and effort. No doubt, he felt Saturday's win was much deserved, even though a third-inning ejection forced him to watch most of it from the clubhouse.
"The crazy thing about it is that guys are still in the dugout hooting and hollering and staying into it, and that's what I expect," he said. "I walk through the clubhouse, and the guys still have the music on and their heads up. If it looked like they're not getting after it, that's when I would get upset and yell. But these guys really care.
"It bothers them and hurts them when they lose. You can see it after games. So you have to keep plugging away. It's a good group out there. They're trying hard. Things aren't bouncing our way right now. We have to come up with more hits and get deeper into games with our pitching. But it's not from a lack of effort, and that's what I look at."
Minnesota has had problems with its starting pitchers' ability to remain in games for lengthy periods. In Saturday's win, starter P.J. Walters threw six innings, becoming the first Twins pitcher to go at least six frames in more than a week. On Sunday, Pelfrey will certainly be challenged -- not just in subduing Detroit's powerful lineup, but in keeping pace with Scherzer, too.
The Tigers' powerful right-hander has not lost a game this season. He plowed through Cleveland's lineup in his last outing, moving past a first-inning run to retire the final 22 batters he faced. Scherzer also struck out seven of the last 12 batters he faced in his two-hit, eight-inning effort.
"That was a dominant performance," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "His last pitch was 98 [mph]. When you're up around 115-120 pitches and you have that left in the tank, that's saying a lot. That was impressive."
In nine starts this season, Scherzer is 6-0 with a 3.61 ERA. He has 75 strikeouts against just six walks.
Twins: Pelfrey hoping to avoid rain and runs
A rain delay cut Pelfrey's last outing short after just two innings in Atlanta, where he gave up two runs on four hits and a walk. He also notched one strikeout.
"Pelfrey was lobbying pretty hard to come back in the game," Gardenhire said. "But once you get to a certain point coming off what he went through, there's no chance we're going to run him back out there."
In his last three outings, Pelfrey is 0-1 with a 7.50 ERA over a span of 12 innings, during which he has struck out five and walked four.
On the season, Pelfrey is 3-4 with a 6.69 ERA. He was effective against the Tigers on April 4, when he picked up a win and allowed two unearned runs in 5 1/3 innings. Against Detroit on April 29, though, the righty gave up four runs in the same amount of innings en route to a loss.
Tigers: Miggy's bat unsurprisingly leading the way
Miguel Cabrera has at least one hit in each of his past 11 games, during which he is batting .442 (19-for-43) with four doubles, seven homers and 17 RBIs. Though Cabrera did not knock in a run in Saturday's 3-2 defeat, he still easily leads baseball with 57 RBIs this season. He also paces the Majors with a .385 average and 74 hits.
Only Baltimore's Chris Davis has homered more times than Cabrera, as Davis hit 16 long balls vs. 14 for the Detroit slugger. Cabrera needs one double to become the 15th active player to reach 400 two-baggers.
"[Cabrera] doesn't throw any at-bats away anymore, and I'm proud of him for that," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said recently, "because we talked about that a couple years ago. He's a hard guy to get out. No matter when he's up there, no matter what the situation is, he's a tough guy to get out. When he grinds that at-bat out, it's something to see."
Cabrera's streak of five straight games with multiple RBIs ended in Detroit's loss Saturday. Cabrera finished the game 1-for-4 with a single and a strikeout.
• The Tigers have the edge in the season series, 5-4. In those nine games, they have outscored the Twins by a margin of 35-32.
• After Sunday's meeting, the two clubs will meet nine more times this season. The next series is scheduled for June 14-16 at Minnesota's Target Field.
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.