1st-place Tigers face Royals again, work to stay even with White Sox

Tigers look to stay abreast with White Sox at top of AL Central Division

Headline Goes Here

DETROIT - The Detroit Tigers have climbed back into a first-place tie with the fading Chicago White Sox in the American League Central for the first time since Sept. 2.

The White Sox have lost six of their past seven games and will face the Cleveland Indians Wednesday night, a team they lost to on Tuesday, 4-3.

The Tigers have not only won the first two games of the series against the visiting Kansas City Royals, but they have rested the bullpen with outstanding performances by Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez. Rick Porcello will try to continue that trend on Wednesday against a Royals lineup that has produced two runs in the series.

Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera is also due, with just one hit in two games. Prince Fielder, hitting behind Cabrera, is 9-of-20 his last six games. The Royals, who have lost three straight, are led by the hot bat of Billy Butler. The designated hitter is 11-for-23 the last six games with a team-leading 102 RBIs.

Pitching matchup: Royals RH Jeremy Guthrie (7-12, 4.80 ERA) vs. Tigers RH Rick Porcello (9-12, 4.57)

Guthrie has won his last four decisions, including a victory over the Tigers in which he allowed one run over 7 1/3 innings on Aug. 30. He has given up two or less earned runs in five straight and eight of nine starts. Guthrie is 4-3 since being acquired from Colorado. He is 4-3 lifetime against the Tigers with a 3.84 ERA over 63 1/3 innings. Fielder is 4-for-5 against Guthrie.

Porcello has lost his last six decisions in seven starts, but his overall ERA slightly improved. His last victory was Aug. 7. Porcello is 5-3 with a 4.50 ERA in his career against Kansas City. He gave up two runs over five innings against the Royals Aug. 30 in a loss, but beat them May 1 by allowing three runs in eight innings. Butler is 12-for-38 against Porcello.

The Tigers have won 31 of their last 41 at Comerica Park.

Alcides Escobar is the first Royals player to record at least 30 doubles and 30 steals since Carlos Beltran in 2002.

Tigers pitchers have 1,261 strikeouts, second in the American League.

Copyright 2012 by ClickOnDetroit.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.