70ºF

Tigers look to avoid sweep in New York Sunday

Detroit now 6.5 games behind Kansas City

photo

NEW YORK – The Detroit Tigers will look to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Yankees Sunday as they carry a four-game losing streak into the series finale.

Detroit, just 23-32 since a red-hot 11-2 start to the season, has fallen to .500 (34-34) for the second time this season. After an eight-game losing streak dropped the Tigers to 28-28 on June 5, the team rebounded to win six of its next eight games and appeared to be pulling out of the funk.

But the team is playing ugly baseball again, losing its last four games by a combined score of 34-11. The Tigers dropped two games to the overmatched Reds last week before being steamrolled in each of their first two games in the Bronx.

Anibal Sanchez and Masahiro Tanaka will face off for the second time this season Sunday. On April 23, the two righties went punch for punch, each allowing one earned run over 6 1/3 innings. Sanchez allowed just one hit and struck out eight in that start, allowing one run to score on a 6th-inning balk. Tanaka surrendered just three hits and struck out six.

First Pitch: 1:05 p.m. on FSD

Sanchez is coming off one of the best starts of his career: A two-hit shutout over the Reds. Sanchez allowed a pair of singles and struck out seven batters in his first complete game of the season. In his last 20 2/3 innings pitched, Sanchez has allowed just 10 hits and no runs, striking out 15.

Meanwhile Tanaka, who missed the entire month of May with an injury, has tossed three straight seven-inning quality starts since his return. Opponents have just 17 hits and four runs off of Tanaka over 21 innings. He hasn't walked a batter since Yoenis Cespedes in the 7th inning in Detroit on April 23.

Detroit's starting lineup will be:

Rajai Davis, CF
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
Yoenis Cespedes, LF
J.D. Martinez, RF
Bryan Holaday, C
Andrew Romine, 3B
Jose Iglesias, SS

The Yankees will send out:

Brett Gardner, CF
Didi Gregorius, SS
Alex Rodriguez, DH
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Brian McCann, C
Garrett Jones, RF
Chris Young, LF
Stephen Drew, 2B
Brendan Ryan, 3B

The Tigers hope to start a winning streak Sunday with a trip to Cleveland looming. Saturday's 14-3 loss dropped the Tigers a full 6 1/2 games behind the Kansas City Royals in the AL Central Division and three games behind the Minnesota Twins for the final wildcard spot.