Tigers hand Farmer ball versus Pirates

( - One of these things is not like the other ones.

Nonetheless, rookie Buck Farmer will try to show he belongs on Wednesday night when the Detroit Tigers host the Pittsburgh Pirates in the third game of a four-game home-and-home series at Comerica Park.

The Tigers added a third former Cy Young Award winner when they acquired David Price from Tampa Bay at the trade deadline, but the would-be impenetrable rotation has taken on water in the subsequent two weeks.

Price pitched Sunday and is not scheduled to start in this series, while Justin Verlander lasted just one inning before being pulled with a shoulder problem on Monday. An MRI on Tuesday revealed no damage in the shoulder, but he'll still miss at least one start.

Another starter, Anibal Sanchez, was placed on the disabled list Tuesday with a strained right pectoral muscle. And yet another, Rick Porcello, was scheduled to start on Tuesday but was pushed back to Friday after tossing two relief innings in a 19-inning game on Sunday at Toronto.

Robbie Ray made his first road start in the majors on Tuesday, and Farmer is making his first start on the big league level -- exactly two weeks after he was bumped from Single-A to Double-A.

"He's pitched very well," Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "He's got good stuff. Ideally, you'd have more development time. I haven't seen him myself really, maybe one start. Our guys like him."

Farmer was a fifth-round draft pick in 2013 and posted a 3.00 earned run average in two starts at Double-A Erie after he started 18 times at Single- A West Michigan and had a 2.60 ERA. Overall in the two stops, he's struck out 127 batters in 115 2/3 innings.

He'll be put in a position to stop a skid for the Tigers, who have seen a five-game lead in the AL Central Division turn into a half-game deficit.

"We've got to make our own opportunities," manager Brad Ausmus said. "We've got to take advantage of those opportunities and we're not doing that."

Detroit tries to avoid a five-game skid against Pittsburgh's Vance Worley, who's made four starts since the All-Star break while compiling a sub-1.00 ERA.

He's 3-0 in those four outings, including a seven-inning stint against San Diego on Friday in which he allowed a single run and struck out seven.

With Minnesota last season, Worley had a 7.21 ERA in 10 starts.

"I have a lot of people I like to keep in mind," Worley said. "In this game, you can never be content with what you're doing."

Worley dropped two starts to the Tigers while with the Twins in 2013 and was nicked for six runs and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings in a single outing at Comerica Park.

On Tuesday, Edinson Volquez pitched six strong innings and the Pirates continued their home domination of the Tigers with a 4-2 victory. Travis Snider had a pair of hits and an RBI for Pittsburgh, which has won five of its last seven games and continues to put pressure on NL Central-leading Milwaukee at 1 1/2 games back.

Volquez (10-7) yielded five hits and a pair of runs, and had five strikeouts. The right-hander is 6-1 over his last nine starts.

Robbie Ray (1-2) surrendered six hits and four runs over five-plus frames for Detroit, which got a solo homer from Alex Avila. The Tigers lost their lead in the division Monday night when they were passed by the Kansas City Royals.