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Verlander eyes second win in finale with Tribe

(SportsNetwork.com) - Justin Verlander tries to build upon his first win of the season Thursday when the Detroit Tigers close out a weather-abbreviated two-game series against the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park.

Verlander defeated San Diego on Saturday, as he held the Padres to a pair of runs and eight hits in seven innings to even his record at 1-1 to go along with a 2.57 ERA. He also struck out a season-high eight batters in the win.

Verlander has faced the Indians 35 times and is 17-14 against them with a 4.38 ERA. In five starts against Cleveland last season, Verlander went 3-1 with 3.38 ERA.

Cleveland, meanwhile, will counter with righty Danny Salazar, who is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA. Salazar absorbed the loss last Thursday in Chicago, as the White Sox battered him for five runs and six hits in just 3 2/3 innings.

"Again, the stuff is there," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "He is young. He is still learning how to pitch. We love him to death, but there is still some learning to do."

Salazar has yet to record a decision in two starts versus the Tigers, but has pitched to a 2.63 ERA over 13 2/3 innings of those outings.

After Tuesday's opener was postponed due to inclement weather, Cleveland managed a rare win over their American League Central foes, as Yan Gomes' early two-run triple and some deft relief work from John Axford staked the Tribe to a 3-2 victory.

Leading by a run in the bottom of the ninth, Axford gave up a one-out hit to Alex Avila, who was credited with a double and landed at third thanks to a Michael Bourn error on the play. He recovered to fan pinch-hitter Don Kelly swinging and then induced a game-ending groundout from Rajai Davis to earn his fifth save.

Zach McAllister (2-0) earned the win, giving up a run on four hits over six strong frames.

"I was able to make the adjustments I wanted to in my previous start," said McAllister. "I kept the ball down and I was able to carry that over to today."

Miguel Cabrera knocked in both runs for the Tigers, with Anibal Sanchez (0-1) taking the loss by allowing two hits and three runs -- two earned -- over five full frames. He fanned eight but issued four walks.

"He (Sanchez) just hasn't gotten into any type of rhythm, any type of routine yet," said Tigers catcher Alex Avila. "His stuff was really sharp today. The only thing that was something he couldn't find was his fastball."

The Tigers have now lost five of seven since starting the year, 4-0.

Cleveland had lost 15 of 19 meetings with the Tigers last season.