With their once prodigious lead in the American League East dwindling by the day, the New York Yankees need CC Sabathia to be a stopper on Wednesday.
The Yankees' ace will try to halt Detroit's 10-game winning streak at Comerica Park when the two teams resume a four-game set. The Tigers, meanwhile, will be trying to win 11 straight in the Motor City for the first time since August of 1949.
The Tigers have won the first two in the series, following up Justin Verlander's impressive 14-strikeout performance on Monday by holding on for a 6-5 win in the second test of the set.
Miguel Cabrera hit a solo homer and knocked in three runs while Andy Dirks had two RBI for the Tigers, who have won 10 in a row at home for the first time since June 15-July 15, 2006. Jhonny Peralta also drove in a run.
Rick Porcello (9-6) gave up three runs on eight hits over 6 2/3 innings for Detroit, which has won six straight games overall to move within a half-game of the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central.
"He came out there and he threw strikes. He stayed in the ballgame late enough for them to get their bullpen a little bit of rest," Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson said when talking about Porcello.
Eric Chavez hit a two-run homer for the Yankees, who lost Monday's series opener by a 7-2 margin. Ichiro Suzuki had two RBI.
Phil Hughes (11-9) allowed four runs on eight hits over 4 1/3 innings to take the loss.
New York has now lost 12-of-18 overall dating back to July 19 and its advantage atop the AL East has shrunk to 4 1/2 games over Baltimore. Conversely, the Tigers have won 12-of-18 over the same stretch to put the heat on the ChiSox.
Detroit is also a gaudy 16-1 in the Motor City since July 4 and has outscored the opposition by a 68-28 margin during its 10-game run at Comerica.
Sabathia, however, has been pitching well recently and is coming off a complete game three-hit performance in a 6-3 win over Seattle last Friday. The six-time All-Star hasn't lost since June 7 against Tampa Bay and has won both of his starts against the Tigers this season. Overall the big lefty is 17-12 with a 4.44 ERA in 34 career starts against Detroit.
Anibal Sanchez, who was acquired from Miami back on July 23, will take the hill for the Tigers. The veteran bounced back from a tough debut with Detroit by allowing two runs and eight hits in six innings during a 10-2 victory over slumping Cleveland last Friday.
Sanchez hasn't faced the Yankees since his major league debut on June 25, 2006, when he allowed seven hits over 5 2/3 innings in a 5-0 win for the then Florida Marlins.
The Yankees, who were ousted in five games by the Tigers in last October's ALCS, have lost six of their last seven regular-season visits to Detroit.