Welcoming the leaders to the Dome

The Twins are opening up a three-game set with the Tigers tonight at the Dome. It’s a big series considering that Minnesota is currently three games back of Detroit in the AL Central standings.

Minnesota will be facing left-hander Luke French in his first Major League start. French has made two previous relief appearances for Detroit and did not give up a run over three innings. We’ll have to see how the Twins fare against a young lefty they’ve never seen before — they haven’t exactly been successful in some of those situations in the past.

Both Justin Morneau (tight left groin) and Nick Punto (tight lower back) are in the lineup after leaving Wednesday’s contest due to the injuries. Manager Ron Gardenhire said that both players were fine and that catcher Mike Redmond’s right forearm is still very sore so he’s unlikely to see any action tonight.

Jason Kubel is coming off the bench for the series opener as Delmon Young gets the start at DH. Gardenhire wanted to add one more right-hander in the lineup against the lefty French. So Kubel could provide a little pop off the bench late in the contest.

Here are tonight’s lineups:

Curtis Granderson, CF
Placido Polanco, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Marcus Thames, DH
Don Kelly, LF
Brandon Inge, 3B
Josh Anderson, RF
Gerald Laird, C
Ramon Santiago, SS
Pitching: Luke French, LHP

Denard Span, LF
Brendan Harris, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Joe Crede, 3B
Delmon Young, DH
Carlos Gomez, CF
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: Kevin Slowey, RHP


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