The Detroit Tigers will attempt to extend their winning streak to four games when they visit the Cleveland Indians on Friday in the opener of a four-game series between the American League Central rivals. Detroit rebounded from a loss at Toronto on Monday by winning the final three games of the set with the Blue Jays, including an 11-1 triumph in Thursday's finale. Austin Jackson went 4-for-5 with a homer, three RBIs and four runs scored while Justin Verlander scattered three singles over seven scoreless innings.
Cleveland lost two straight at Kansas City after winning the series opener on Tuesday. The Indians built a 5-0 lead Thursday afternoon as Drew Stubbs belted a two-run homer and added a two-run single, but Ubaldo Jimenez and the bullpen were unable to maintain it as Cleveland dropped a 10-7 decision. Michael Brantley went 4-for-5 with an RBI as the Indians fell 1 1/2 games behind division-leading Detroit.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Detroit, SportsTime Ohio (Cleveland), MLB Network
PITCHING MATCHUP: Tigers RH Rick Porcello (4-6, 5.21 ERA) vs. Indians RH Justin Masterson (10-6, 3.48)
Porcello is looking to end his personal losing streak, which reached three starts when he allowed three runs over six innings at Tampa Bay on Sunday. That outing was considerably better than his previous two, in which he surrendered a combined 13 runs and 19 hits over 10 1/3 frames. The 24-year-old Porcello is 6-3 in 17 career starts against Cleveland, including a 1-0 mark in two meetings this season.
Masterson tossed his third shutout of the campaign on Sunday at Chicago, limiting the White Sox to six hits with a walk and eight strikeouts. The 28-year-old, who has blanked Chicago twice this year, is a stellar 6-1 with a 2.29 ERA in nine home starts. Masteron has struggled against Detroit over his career, going 2-7 with a 5.09 ERA in 15 games (12 starts).
1. Cleveland 2B Jason Kipnis enters with a 15-game hitting streak and has reached safely in 35 consecutive contests.
2. 3B Miguel Cabrera did not contribute to Detroit's 16-hit attack on Thursday as he sat out with a sore back. The 2012 Triple Crown winner leads the major leagues in batting average (.364) and RBIs (85).
3. Masterson is the first Indians pitcher to throw three shutouts in a season since Dennis Martinez in 1994.