Sanchez, Tigers aim for afternoon sweep of Twins

Anibal Sanchez looks to build off his record performance last time out as he tries to lead the Detroit Tigers to a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday afternoon.

Sanchez fanned a career-high 17 batters on Friday versus the Atlanta Braves, hurling a gem in a 10-0 win. His strikeout total broke the previous club record of 16, set by Mickey Lolich in 1969.

The right-hander scattered five hits and walked one over his eight innings, striking out eight of the first 13 batters faced. Sanchez then fanned three batters in the eighth inning, ending his outing at 121 pitches, 84 for strikes.

"That one ranks up there. He was unbelievable," said Tigers catcher Brayan Pena. "The fact that the Braves are one of those teams that are playing great baseball right now, for him to perform the way he did, the way he challenged himself was unbelievable."

The victory improved Sanchez to 3-1 through five starts as he rebounded from his first loss of the season in his previous outing. The 29-year-old has a 1.34 earned run average on the season and has now fanned 41 through 33 2/3 innings.

Sanchez did not allow a run when he faced the Twins in Minnesota on April 3, allowing two hits and three walks over five innings. He struck out five and did not factor into his club's 3-2 loss.

He is 0-1 lifetime versus the Twins in three starts with a 3.24 ERA.

Countering for the Twins will be left-hander Scott Diamond, who picked up his first victory of the season on April 21 at the Chicago White Sox before suffering a loss to the Texas Rangers on Friday.

Diamond allowed three runs on a career-high 12 hits versus the Rangers, fanning four without a walk over 6 1/3 innings of a 4-3 defeat. He fell to 1-2 through three starts this season with a 4.32 ERA.

The 26-year-old has had solid control over the season, yielding just two walks in 16 2/3 innings, but getting touched for 24 hits.

Diamond is 1-2 in five career meetings against Detroit with a 2.67 ERA.

The Tigers were in perfect form in Tuesday's 6-1 victory over the Twins, getting seven solid innings from ace Justin Verlander and two-run homers off the bats of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. Alex Avila also homered in Detroit's fifth straight win.

Verlander struck out eight and allowed one run and five hits, ending April with a 1.83 ERA.

"I felt pretty good. I was able to establish my fastball early and work off of that," Verlander said.

Cabrera, meanwhile, ended the month with a major league high-tying 28 RBI, while Fielder is right behind him with 27. Fielder also hit his seventh homer of April, a career high for the month.

"I think (Cabrera) is one of the best players in the league, if not the best, and (Fielder) is not far behind," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Detroit's sluggers.

Wilkin Ramirez went 2-for-3 with an RBI double for the Twins, who have dropped five of their last seven games to fall one game below .500 (11-12).

Vance Worley (0-4) was saddled with the loss after allowing all six runs on 10 hits -- three homers -- over 4 2/3 innings. Worley hasn't picked up a win since Aug. 1 2012.

Minnesota won two of three from the Tigers in an early April series, though Detroit won the 2012 season series, 10-8. That included a three-game sweep in Minnesota from May 25-27.