Righty Rick Porcello gets another chance to end a personal skid and keep the Detroit Tigers in a first-place tie atop the American League Central Division tonight when they host the Kansas City Royals in game three of a four-game set at Comerica Park.
The Tigers gained a game on the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday, when they defeated the Royals in game two while the White Sox dropped a game to Cleveland.
Anibal Sanchez tossed a three-hit shutout in the Tigers' 2-0 win.
Sanchez (4-6) struck out 10 and walked one while earning his first shutout since Sept. 10, 2011 at Pittsburgh when he was a member of the Marlins.
"We need to take care of our game. We don't have to pay attention to what the White Sox are going to do, or whether the White Sox win or lose," Sanchez said. "We need to keep focusing on our game. That's more important."
Prince Fielder and Delmon Young each hit RBI singles in the first inning for Detroit, which won the first two games of the series.
Bruce Chen (11-13) allowed two runs on 10 hits over 6 2/3 innings for the Royals, who have dropped three straight. The left-hander struck out five and walked three.
"They came ready to play. I left a couple pitches up and they got some base hits," Chen said. "But we played hard and we never gave in."
The Tigers won seven of the first 11 games between the teams in 2012, though Kansas City swept a three-game set at Kauffman Stadium from Aug. 28-30. Detroit won the 2011 season series, 11-7.
Meanwhile, Porcello was 9-6 on the season after a 6-5 defeat of the New York Yankees on Aug. 7 in Detroit.
He's winless in seven starts since, losing six decisions across the stretch while his earned run average has actually dropped from 4.62 to 4.57.
He got a no-decision at Cleveland in his most recent start on Sept. 16 and allowed two earned runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Porcello, who's 5-3 in 13 career starts against the Royals, dropped a 2-1 verdict at Kansas City on Aug. 30 after allowing two runs on eight hits in five innings.
He's opposed by veteran Jeremy Guthrie, who starts for the 13th time with the Royals since a midseason trade with Colorado for lefty Jonathan Sanchez.
Guthrie was 3-9 in 19 games with the Rockies before the deal and has won four of seven decisions since, all of which has come in a nine-start unbeaten string since early August.
He was a 5-3 loser to Texas on Aug. 3 but is 4-0 since, including a victory over Porcello and the Tigers in the aforementioned Aug. 30 matchup.
Guthrie allowed a run on 10 hits in 7 1/3 innings of the 2-1 win and is 4-3 in 12 career games against Detroit.