Runs have come in bunches lately for the Detroit Tigers and the AL Central leaders look to stay unbeaten on their homestand when they open a quick set versus the Washington Nationals Tuesday at Comerica Park.
The Tigers were off Monday and are coming off a three-game weekend sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies. They used a 2-1 victory to take the series opener, then recorded a 10-0 win on Saturday with a subsequent 12-4 pounding in the finale.
Detroit put the game away with an eight-run sixth inning thanks to a grand slam by Jhonny Peralta. Ramon Santiago collected three hits, Matt Tuiasosopo and Victor Martinez drove in two runs apiece and slugger Miguel Cabrera was ejected in the third inning for arguing balls and strikes. Tigers manager Jim Leyland defended his top player and was also tossed from the game.
"I'm not getting into that," Leyland said. "That's a dead issue. (Cabrera) obviously said something and made a remark that the umpire didn't care for. We'll just leave it at that."
Leyland's club has won seven of eight games and is 2 1/2 games ahead of Cleveland for the AL Central lead.
With baseball's trade deadline looming, the Tigers acquired reliever Jose Veras from the Houston Astros in exchange for outfield prospect Danry Vasquez and a player to be named.
Detroit will call on Anibal Sanchez for Tuesday's opener of a two-game series with the Nationals and ended a losing streak his last time out Wednesday in a 6-2 road win over the Chicago White Sox. Sanchez, who had dropped two straight starts, kept the White Sox off the board in six innings of work and improved to 8-7 in 17 starts to go along with a 2.68 earned run average.
Sanchez lost to the Nationals back on May 8 in D.C., but the former Miami Marlin is 8-1 with a 2.02 ERA in 20 career starts against them. The right- hander is 5-2 in seven home starts this season.
Washington will depart the friendly confines of Nationals Park to start a five-game road trip against Detroit and Milwaukee, and just went 4-7 on a recent homestand.
The Nationals concluded the residency by taking three of four from the New York Mets, including Sunday's 14-1 demolition behind strong pitching from Taylor Jordan and an 18-8 advantage in hits. Wilson Ramos hit a grand slam and drove in five runs and Denard Span went 4-for-4 with three RBI, a home run and three runs scored. Ian Desmond also had four hits and scored three times.
"This is definitely what we envisioned coming out of Spring Training," said Span. "Being able to score runs like this and just put a lot of pressure on other teams' starting pitching and getting deep into the other team's bullpen."
Jordan struck out seven and allowed one run in six innings for the first win of his major league career (1-3).
"I've been working on my slider a lot and it's finally coming around," Jordan said. "It's definitely more of an out pitch now. ... It seems like it has a little bit sharper break on it."
The Nationals have won three in a row and four of five games, and went 2-5 on their last road trip.
Taking the mound for Washington Tuesday will be Stephen Strasburg, who suffered a tough-luck loss his previous time out in a 4-2 loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Strasburg fanned 12 batters and was reached for a run and two hits in eight innings of work, falling to 0-2 in his last three starts.
The right-handed Strasburg is just 5-8 in 20 starts with a 2.85 ERA and only 1-4 in nine road assignments. He has never faced the Tigers.
Washington won both meetings with Detroit back in early May after losing the previous six meetings between the clubs.