MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins are missing two of their top hitters against Detroit ace Justin Verlander on Saturday.
Joe Mauer missed his third straight game because of a stiff neck and Michael Cuddyer was out with a sore left wrist.
Two days after saying Mauer "had to be available to play" in a game against the Baltimore Orioles, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire defended his star catcher, who has come under criticism for missing so much time with injuries.
Gardenhire said before the game that Mauer doesn't get enough credit for all of the times he has played hurt and felt that was unfair.
Cuddyer was hit by a pitch on his left wrist on Wednesday night, but played on Thursday and Friday before needing a day off to rest it.