While the Detroit Tigers dominated the Cleveland Indians to conclude last season, the same cannot be said after the first seven meetings in 2012. After winning 10 straight against their American League Central rivals in 2011, the Tigers fell for the sixth time in seven matches with Tuesday's 3-2 setback. The series-opening loss snapped Detroit's five-game winning streak and dropped it into a first-place tie with the Chicago White Sox in the division. The visiting Tigers will continue their three-game set versus the Indians on Wednesday.
Cleveland pulled to within three games of the pair following its second straight victory. The Indians pulled out all the stops on Tuesday as Aaron Cunningham's suicide-squeeze bunt in the seventh inning allowed pinch runner Lou Marson to score the eventual game-winning run. The sacrifice bunt was just the team's second since May 1 - a span of 77 games.
Pitching matchup: Tigers RH Max Scherzer (9-5, 4.61 ERA) vs. Indians RH Derek Lowe (8-8, 5.04)
Scherzer won his third in a row after allowing one run on three hits while striking out nine in a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday. Scherzer, who turns 28 on Friday, fell to 4-4 in his career against Cleveland after yielding a season-high eight runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings on June 6.
After a promising start to the campaign, Lowe has lost two in a row and five of his last six decisions. The 39-year-old Michigan native struggled in his last outing against Detroit, permitting seven runs on nine hits in five innings on June 7. Despite the setback, Lowe has traditionally fared well versus the Tigers - going 7-3 with a 2.38 ERA while registering a 0.92 WHIP.
Cleveland's Shin-Soo Choo has enjoyed considerable success versus Scherzer, going 10-for-17 in his career.
Omar Infante made his Detroit debut on Tuesday, going 1-for-4 in the No. 9 slot in the lineup. Infante's playing time will come at the expense of LF/2B Ryan Raburn.
Indians RHP Roberto Hernandez, who has served his suspension for identity fraud, will make a minor league start for low-A Lake County on Thursday. Hernandez was formerly known as All-Star pitcher Fausto Carmona.