In another American League Central showdown, the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers will wrap up a three-game set on Sunday afternoon at Comerica Park.
These teams have split the first two entries in this series with Detroit taking a 10-4 victory on Friday and Cleveland squeaking out a 7-6 victory on Saturday.
The Indians had a 6-1 lead going into the bottom of the seventh inning and nearly let that lead slip away, but an RBI sacrifice fly from Jason Giambi in the eighth inning gave them enough breathing room to escape with the win.
Asdrubal Cabrera was the real star on offense for the Indians as the shortstop went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI while Michael Bourn and Jason Kipnis scored two runs apiece.
Ubaldo Jimenez got the win for the Indians in a fine performance in which he allowed just one run on three hits while striking out eight batters in six innings. Chris Perez gave up an RBI single to Torii Hunter in the ninth inning and settled down to close the door for his sixth save. Cleveland has won five of its last six.
Justin Verlander did not look like the ace the Tigers are used to seeing on Saturday. The right-hander labored through five innings and allowed four runs, three earned, on six hits and five walks. Verlander took the loss, which was the third of the season for him and third in the last four games for the Tigers.
Omar Infante went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored for the Tigers as the only batter in the lineup with more than one hit.
Zach McAllister will continue to make his claim as ace of the Indians' rotation when he gets the starting job again on Sunday.
The 25-year-old has been enjoying a very strong third season at the Major League level as his 2.63 ERA leads the team by a far margin. His three wins are also second on the team while he is third in strikeouts (28).
In his most recent start, the right-hander was the major reason for the Indian's 1-0 win over Oakland as he pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings while allowing just five hits and a walk with four strikeouts. It was the longest outing of the season for McAllister and the second straight game he has lasted at least seven innings.
Prior to this season, McAllister has made three starts all-time against Oakland. He is 1-1 with an ERA of 4.50 in those appearances though he has pitched just a combined 18 innings in those starts. He has no record and a 2.04 ERA in three career starts against Detroit.
Detroit's rotation has been one of the best in baseball this season except in the fifth spot. That is a problem most teams would be more than willing to take on, especially if Rick Porcello, who takes the mound Sunday, is that starter.
Porcello is just 1-2 with an ERA of 7.52 on the campaign. That is nearly four runs higher than the next highest ERA among Detroit starters (Max Scherzer, 3.61). However, Porcello has a career ERA of 4.66 and a record of 49-44 in his five seasons, which are numbers that are more than acceptable for the fifth spot in the rotation.
The former first-round pick began to show signs of turning it around in his last start on May 2 when he allowed just three runs over seven innings. It was his longest start of the season. Porcello has now gone at least six innings while allowing three runs or less in back-to-back games after failing to do so in his first four starts.
A year ago, Porcello was winless in his three starts against the Indians with an ERA of 5.17. Before that rough seas Porcello had enjoyed success against the Tribe as he had gotten wins in all five decisions he factored into against them. In his career, the right-hander is 5-3 with an ERA of 4.55 in 15 appearances against Cleveland.
This is the first series of the season between these division foes. Last season Cleveland won 10 of 18 meetings.