The red-hot Tigers go for their 15th win in 18 games when they face the Indians in the rubber game of a three-game series Thursday evening in Cleveland.
Detroit’s 5-3 win on Wednesday kept the Tigers tied with the White Sox for first place in the AL Central. Rookie Quintin Berry, who made his major-league debut May 23, is sparking Detroit. He went 3-for-4 with a walk and two RBIs on Wednesday, giving him eight games this season with at least three hits.
The Indians have dropped five of seven, scoring just 16 runs in that stretch. DH Travis Hafner hit his ninth homer Wednesday but is hitting just .230 with 28 RBIs. Cleveland desperately need to win the series finale before it embarks on a nine-game road trip, as the Indians have slipped four games back of the Tigers and White Sox.
Pitching matchup: Tigers RH Justin Verlander (11-5, 2.42 ERA) vs. Indians RH Zach McAllister (4-2, 3.21)
Verlander has won seven of his last eight decisions and has gone at least eight innings in three consecutive starts. He’s holding batters to a .193 average and has an incredible WHIP of 0.92. But in 28 career starts against Cleveland, he’s 13-12 with a 4.70 ERA.
Batters are hitting .241 against McAllister, who has given up three or fewer earned runs in seven straight starts. He’s fanned 52 in 56 innings. The Indians have won six of his nine starts this season.
Tigers closer Jose Valverde has 19 saves in 23 chances after recording a save Wednesday.
Cleveland has won six of eight meetings this season.
Indians SS Asdrubal Cabrera made throwing errors on consecutive plays in Wednesday’s loss, giving him 12 errors this season.