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Twins plan to play hard with just pride at stake

Associated Press Modified: September 22, 2012 at 12:17 am •  Published: September 22, 2012

DETROIT (AP) — The Minnesota Twins have only pride at stake in their series against the Detroit Tigers.

While Detroit is trying to catch Chicago in the AL Central, the Twins will wake up Saturday 19 games behind the White Sox.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, though, expects his team's best effort as it plays out the string.

"Out of respect for the game, you go out and give them everything you have," Gardenhire said before the opener of a three-game set in Detroit was postponed by rain. "This atmosphere here does lift you up a little bit."

The Tigers gained ground in the playoff race hours after Friday night's washout, pulling within 1½ games of Chicago when the White Sox lost 6-2 at the Los Angeles Angels. Detroit also moved within 5½ games of Oakland for the second wild card.

The rainout will be made up Sunday night as part of a doubleheader.

Detroit will send Doug Fister (9-9) to the mound Saturday afternoon — not Rick Porcello, who was scheduled to start Friday night — and the Twins plan to stick with Samuel Deduno (6-4) in the series opener.

The Tigers will pitch Drew Smyly in one of Sunday's games and might have Max Scherzer available five days after his previous outing was cut short by a fatigued right shoulder. Minnesota will have Scott Diamond on the mound in the first game of the doubleheader and P.J. Walters in the nightcap.

A few hours before the scheduled start of Friday's game, Gardenhire and Twins first baseman Justin Morneau both said Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera should be voted AL MVP.

"I'm just tipping my hat to Cabrera, he's the best player in this league," Gardenhire said. "He's going for a Triple Crown, that's an MVP season. His team is in a playoff hunt not solely dependent on him, but he's the reason they're in it right now."

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