Indians-Tigers Preview

It's been a little more than two years since Detroit's Justin Verlander earned a victory against the Cleveland Indians.

The Tigers right-hander looks to change that Friday night when he tries to avoid a fifth straight losing decision to the visiting Indians.

Verlander's 18 wins over the Indians (6-7) are tied for his second-most against any opponent, but he is 0-4 with a 5.19 ERA in seven starts since beating them at home April 17, 2014. The former AL Cy Young Award winner also dropped his last two outings against Cleveland last season.

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He last lost three consecutive starts to the Indians in 2008.

Verlander (1-1, 7.16 ERA), though, followed a rough seven-run, 10-hit allowance over 4 1/3 innings of a 7-4 loss to Pittsburgh on April 11 by giving up three runs on two first-inning homers and lasting six in Saturday's 5-3 win at Houston.

"With our offense, I give up three early, but you still know if you settle down, it gives us a chance to win," Verlander said told MLB's official website.

The Tigers (8-6) have lost three of four since that victory, and were held to five hits in Thursday's 4-0 defeat at Kansas City.

Ian Kinsler had two of those hits but Miguel Cabrera went 0 for 4, and is 2 for 18 in the last four games. Justin Upton is 2 for 21 with 10 strikeouts in the last five.

Detroit hardly made a dent offensively the last time it faced Josh Tomlin on Sept 4, when he allowed a run, four hits and struck out six in a complete-game 8-1 victory at Comerica Park.

After inclement weather delayed the start to his 2016, Tomlin gave up a solo homer, three other his and struck out six without a walk in five innings of a 7-5 victory over the New York Mets on Saturday. The right-hander left that contest due cramping in his hamstring, but knew it would not be a major concern going forward.

"I don't know if it was just the adrenaline of not pitching for that long," he said. "My hamstring kept grabbing at me. I knew it wasn't anything serious like a pull. It was just cramping up on me when I followed through."

Cabrera and Kinsler are a combined 10 for 27 with three doubles against Tomlin, but Victor Martinez is 1 for 13. That one hit left the park.

Though the Indians scored three more runs Thursday than in their previous three contests, they fell 10-7 to Seattle in 10 innings. Rajai Davis hit a three-run homer and Mike Napoli had a tying two-run shot in the eighth as Cleveland overcame an early 5-0 deficit but lost for the fourth time in six games.

"It's a hard game to win, but it would have been a great game to win,'' Indians manager Terry Francona said. ''We kept coming."

Napoli is batting .310 with two homers in 29 at-bats against Verlander. Davis, though, is 2 for 13 and Jason Kipnis is 4 for 42 with 14 strikeouts against him.

A free agent acquisition in January, Davis will face Detroit for the first time after spending the previous two seasons there.