Tigers go for sweep of first-place A's Wednesday

Verlander starts for Detroit

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DETROIT - The Detroit Tigers (46-34) will go for a three-game sweep over the Oakland Athletics (51-32) on Wednesday behind Justin Verlander. The Athletics, who own the top record in baseball, haven't been swept since losing three to the Toronto Blue Jays in late May.

Detroit entered the series after losing two of three games to the last-place Astros on the road. Despite a nine-game homestand on the horizon, the Tigers were teetering on the brink of another losing streak.

In perhaps the most dramatic scenario the game has to offer, Rajai Davis hit a walk-off grand slam in the series opener to set the tone for Detroit. Then Rick Porcello followed up his first career shutout with another one, holding baseball's top offensive team to just four hits.

Now the Tigers will look to Verlander, who has made two straight quality starts, to finish the series with a flourish.

TV: 1:08 p.m. ET, MLBN, FSN Detroit

Verlander was Oakland's worst nightmare in the past two postseasons, eliminating the A's in the first round with dominant Game 5 performances each year. Though he hasn't seen Oakland this season, the 31-year-old owns this lineup, holding A's batters to a combined .207 batting average and just one home run in 150 at-bats.

Oakland will counter with right-hander Jesse Chavez, who lost his only start against the Tigers this season, allowing three runs in six innings. Chavez is hoping to make his first All-Star appearance in 2014, owing a 2.94 ERA and 6-4 record. Detroit will provide a challenge for the 30-year-old with just two starts remaining before the break, as the roster owns a .294 average in limited chances against him.

Wednesday's game will mark the final meeting between the top two teams in the American League during the regular season. Detroit has won four of six games against its rivals so far.

The Tigers will get their first look at the Tampa Bay Rays in Detroit on Thursday in the first game of a four-game series.

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