The Detroit Tigers are finally starting to play like the team that was picked by most to run away with the American League Central.
They go after their second six-game winning streak this month when they open a three-game series with the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday at Progressive Field.
"We're playing good right now, but we have to continue," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "Even when times were bad earlier in the season, it was not because of lack of effort or people not being ready to play. We just weren't playing very good."
The Tigers swept their way into first place this weekend, taking all three games from the Chicago White Sox, including a 6-1 win in Sunday's finale at Comerica Park.
Miguel Cabrera hit two of his team's four home runs in that one, while Jacob Turner earned his first major league win in that one to help the Tigers move 1 1/2 games up on the White Sox.
The start may have been a showcase for Turner, who was dealt to Miami on Monday for infielder Omar Infante and right-hander Anibal Sanchez.
Infante spent his first six seasons with Detroit, helping the club reach the 2006 World Series. He hit .287 with 10 stolen bases for the Marlins this year, while Sanchez was 5-7 with a 3.94 ERA.
"I am happy to go to Detroit," Infante said through a translator. "I know Detroit, they are in first place. I am happy to go back and hopefully do good there."
Heading to the hill for the Tigers tonight will be righty Doug Fister, who has won his last three starts. Fister was terrific in beating the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Wednesday, limiting them to a run and a pair of hits in eight innings. He also struck out 10 and improved to 4-6 to go along with a 4.04 ERA.
He has faced the Indians nine times and is 3-2 against them with a 2.35 ERA.
Cleveland, meanwhile, is heading in the exact opposite direction of the Tigers and enters this series having lost seven of its last 10. The Tribe, though, managed to snap a four-game losing streak on Monday, as they salvaged the finale of their set with the Baltimore Orioles, 3-1.
Justin Masterson (7-8) held Baltimore to one run on seven hits over 7 1/3 innings. After walking a career-high seven in his last start in Tampa Bay, Masterson only handed out one free pass while striking out six.
"I had good movement, for the most part, in the zone," Masterson said. "For the most part, yeah, down in the zone, more or less."
"Masterson did a tremendous job," Cleveland manager Manny Acta said. "He did what we expect our No. 1 guy to do -- get out there and shut down the opposition and give us an opportunity to win a ball game even when we don't score many runs."
Shin-Soo Choo provided the decisive shot for Cleveland, socking a two-run home run in the third inning.
"Choo got a couple good pitches to hit," Hunter said. "He got it up in a jet stream ... Just a bad pitch."
Getting the call for the Tribe this evening will be inconsistent righty Ubaldo Jimenez, who i s 8-9 with a 5.24 ERA. Jimenez lost for the fourth time in five starts on Thursday against Tampa, as he allowed five runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He also walked five batters and has issued a league-high 67 free passes this season.
Jimenez has beaten the Tigers twice already this season, but is just 4-5 lifetime against them with a 5.37 ERA in nine starts.
Cleveland is 5-1 against the Tigers this season.