DETROIT - Miguel Cabrera is creeping closer to his second straight Triple Crown as the Detroit Tigers close in on an American League Central title. Cabrera and the Tigers attempt to even the series when they host the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday.
The Athletics found their way around Cabrera's 43rd home run to a win in the opener and are holding off the competition in the American League wild card race.
Oakland is two games ahead of the Cleveland Indians for the second wild card and 2 1/2 behind the Texas Rangers in the AL West. The Athletics are staring at a rough part of the schedule with Tampa Bay and Texas coming up after the four-game set at Detroit and are without Josh Reddick (wrist), who went on the disabled list Monday. Detroit is 5 1/2 games clear of the Indians in the Central as Cabrera leads the AL in batting average (.359) and RBIs (130) while trailing only Chris Davis (46) in home runs.
TV: 7:08 p.m. ET, CSN California (Oakland), FSN Detroit
PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics LH Tommy Milone (9-9, 4.30 ERA) vs. Tigers RH Justin Verlander (12-9, 3.68)
Milone is winless in his last two starts and failed to make it through the fifth inning in either of those outings. The 26-year-old keeps the ball in the zone but gets in trouble with the home run ball, including three surrendered in his last two starts. Milone is 1-0 with a 3.09 ERA in two career starts against Detroit but owns a 5.00 ERA on the road in 2013.
Verlander's inconsistent season is coming off a down note after he allowed six runs on 10 hits in seven innings against Minnesota last week. The former MVP has surrendered four runs or more in five of his last 10 starts and two or fewer in the other five. Verlander is 8-5 with a 2.32 ERA in 14 career starts against Oakland, including a one-run, three-hit effort April 13.
1. Cabrera is 8-for-17 with three home runs and seven RBIs in the last four games.
2. Oakland CF Coco Crisp has homered in four of the last five games.
3. Tigers RHP Octavio Dotel (right elbow inflammation) struck out two in a scoreless inning during a rehab appearance for Triple-A Toledo.
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