With 10 of their 13 remaining games against the bottom two teams in the AL Central, the Detroit Tigers' chances for a division title seem strong.
They'll try to make good on the favorable schedule beginning Monday night in the opener of a three-game visit with the Minnesota Twins with ace Max Scherzer on the mound.
The Tigers (83-66), who lead Kansas City by 1 1/2 games with a three-game series remaining between the two, swept Cleveland in a three-games series over the weekend and have won six of seven to regain control of the division.
''Every game is huge,'' Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. ''Every game we play matters. Every game Kansas City plays matters.''
Sunday's 6-4 win featured home runs from Ian Kinsler and J.D. Martinez with Kinsler's two-run blast in the seventh inning putting the Tigers ahead for good.
"Any time we're down like that early in the game and we're able to come back, it just speaks volumes about this team," J.D. Martinez told MLB's official website.
Martinez has gone deep three times in five games with eight RBIs. He's also batting .355 on a seven-game hitting streak against the Twins (63-86).
Scherzer (16-5, 3.19 ERA), who can match Jered Weaver for the AL wins lead, hasn't made it through seven innings in his last four starts after doing so in six straight.
Control issues have crept up with seven walks in his last two starts, including four in Tuesday's 4-2 win over Kansas City. The right-hander allowed a run and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings while throwing 117 pitches a start after reaching a season-high 124, his highest total since 2011.
"I've been halfway guarded throughout the whole year because I know in September you want to be able to do this," Scherzer said.
He's 8-2 in his career against Minnesota and has won his last five starts in the series with a 2.87 ERA. Trevor Plouffe is 1 for 15 with seven strikeouts against the reigning AL Cy Young winner, while Kurt Suzuki is 3 for 7 with a home run.
The Tigers play seven of their last 13 against the Twins after the clubs split their first 12 games. The Tigers have hit .325 in the season series with Victor Martinez batting .367 with 14 RBIs. Torii Hunter is batting .395 in 11 games against his former club.
The Twins ended a four-game skid with Sunday's 6-4 road win over the Chicago White Sox. Plouffe went 2 for 4 and homered for a second straight game.
Anthony Swarzak will start for Tommy Milone, who is out with shoulder fatigue and a sore neck. Swarzak (3-1, 3.95) has made just one start since 2012, a 3-1 victory over Cleveland on July 23 in which he allowed a run and two hits in five innings. He had lost his previous five starts back in 2012.
Manager Ron Gardenhire isn't concerned with his ability to change roles and go on three days rest after pitching two relief innings Thursday.
"I don't worry about Swarzy," Gardenhire said. "He can go. He'll tell you he can keep going and he'll tell us, also, when he's about out of gas."
The right-hander is 0-2 with a 12.66 ERA in three starts against the Tigers. Miguel Cabrera is 6 for 19 with two home runs and two doubles against him, while Ian Kinsler is 7 for 16 with a homer.
Tigers catcher Alex Avila left Sunday's game at the end of the seventh inning with lightheadedness. He is day to day.