The Baltimore Orioles will try to hang onto an American League Wild Card spot today as they finish their three-game series with the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.
The Tigers come into Sunday trailing Baltimore by one game for the second AL Wild Card berth and Chicago by 1 1/2 games in the Central Division. The Orioles hold just a one-half game lead over Oakland in the Wild Card standings and trail the Yankees by six games in AL East.
Baltimore bounced back from its loss in the series opener with a 3-2 victory over the Tigers in the second game on Saturday. Detroit failed to get anything going against Zach Britton, who threw seven scoreless innings. Designated hitter Chris Davis provided an offensive boost with a three-run home run while Nick Markakis continued to thrive in the leadoff spot.
Davis had not contributed an extra base hit in August and came into Saturday's game hitting .176 with 18 strikeouts in the month.
Markakis is batting .329 with 15 extra base hits and 24 runs scored over the past 35 games while hitting first in the order.
Baltimore will go for the series win by sending Wei-Yin Chen to the mound. Chen is coming off a career-high nine hits on Tuesday, but he spread them out over six innings and surrendered only one run in the club's 7-1 victory over Boston. The southpaw has earned a winning decision in three of his last four outings.
"Chen is good," said Boston Red Sox outfielder Cody Ross. "He locates his ball as good as anybody. He was getting some big outs when he needed to and big strikeouts."
Chen has held his opponents to three runs or fewer in six of his past seven starts which includes a six-inning, one run performance against Detroit. No batter on the Tigers has more than three at-bats against Chen.
Anibal Sanchez, whom Detroit acquired from Miami before the non-waiver trade deadline, was originally slated to start Sunday's game before his turn in the rotation was pushed back to Wednesday.
Detroit will instead counter with Doug Fister. The right-hander overcame some poor defense by his fielders that gave up four unearned runs in his past start and lasted eight inning without surrendering an earned run. The Tigers' right- hander has been on fire since the All-Star break and recorded quality starts in seven straight appearances as his team tries to catch up in the AL Central race.
"We go out there every day saying we have to win this game no matter what," Fister said. "We want our future to be in our hands and not relying on someone else. We just have to take care of our business and go about our business the right way, and hopefully it will pan out for us."
Fister is 3-1 with a 3.94 ERA in five career starts against the Orioles.
The Tigers offense was shut down on Saturday as Jhonny Peralta's two-run single in the eighth was the only play that put runs on the board. Prince Fielder went 0-for-2 with two walks one day after belting two home runs. Miguel Cabrera stayed hot with his fourth straight multi-hit game and his sixth consecutive game with a hit overall.
Detroit won two of three games in a July series against the O's and the teams split their 2011 season series, five games apiece.