Justin Verlander is back to his winning ways. Miguel Cabrera has dominated at the plate against the New York Yankees this season.
Those two stalwarts will try to lead the Detroit Tigers to a victory in the rubber match of a three-game series Sunday afternoon in the Bronx.
Verlander gave up 18 hits and 13 runs -- eight earned -- in road losses to the White Sox and Royals late last month, but has bounced back with impressive victories against the Nationals and Indians. In the two triumphs, Verlander has given up a total of two runs over 14 innings.
Over his career, Verlander is 5-5 with a 3.74 ERA in 14 games against the Yankees.
Cabrera went 3-for-5 with a solo homer and two runs scored in yesterday's 9-3 Detroit win. The reigning Triple Crown winner is batting .450 (9-for-20) with two homers and six RBI this season versus the Yankees. During his career against New York, he is hitting a robust .367 with 17 home runs and 43 RBI in 45 contests.
Andy Pettitte, who has given up a pair of homers in 12 Cabrera at-bats in his career, will be on the mound for the Yankees. The left-hander is 0-3 over his last four starts and is coming off a horrid performance at Chicago when he allowed 11 hits and seven runs over 2 2/3 innings of an 8-1 loss to the White Sox on Monday.
Pettitte is 10-9 in 23 games against the Tigers.
Torii Hunter also had three hits and a homer and Anibal Sanchez fired seven strong innings yesterday for the Tigers.
New York ended the Tigers' 12-game winning streak in Friday's series opener, but received another poor start out of Phil Hughes while managing little production offensively to drop its sixth contest in eight games.
"It was a good win to come back after a tough loss last night," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "Obviously got some big hits and we made some good defensive plays."
The Tigers, meanwhile, boasted a 17-hit performance at the plate. Austin Jackson had a solo homer with three runs scored and Hunter broke the game open in the sixth with three-run homer, ending with four RBI on the afternoon.
Sanchez (10-7) fanned eight while stifling the Yankee bats, with the only blemish on his four-hit performance occurring on a two-run homer from Lyle Overbay, who knocked in all three of New York's runs.
Winless over his last six outings, Hughes (4-11) was yanked after permitting four runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. He hasn't won since July 2 and has dropped 10 of his last 12 decisions overall.
"I think it's just consistency," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Hughes' struggles. "He's worked very hard in between starts and trying to fix things, but it hasn't happened on a consistent basis."
Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was given the day off. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts on Friday. Rodriguez is expected back in the lineup today. He's 8-for-24 with three homers and seven RBI lifetime versus Verlander.
A-Rod has 1,950 career RBI and needs one RBI to surpass Stan Musial for sole possession of fifth place on MLB's all-time list.
Alfonso Soriano went 0-for-4 yesterday for the Yankees. He's one hit away from becoming the 16th active player to reach the 2,000 hit plateau.
Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki is also approaching a milestone. He has totaled 3,993 hits when combining his Major League total (2,715) and Pacific League total (1,278). He needs seven more hits to reach the 4,000-hit plateau, reached only by Pete Rose (4,256) and Ty Cobb (4,191), when taking into account hits from baseball in the U S. and Japan.
The Tigers took two of three from the Yankees earlier in the year.