The Detroit Tigers might finally be starting to get it together. They go after a fourth straight win tonight in the second test of a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Comerica Park.
Picked by most to run away in a relatively weak American League Central, the Tigers have stumbled and come into tonight's tilt one game under .500 and two games back of division-leading Cleveland.
Detroit, though, has started to pick up its play and on Tuesday won for the seventh time in nine tries, as Austin Jackson and Delmon Young both knocked in a pair of runs to help the Tigers to a 6-3 win.
"We wanted to try and jump on them early. I think that's the game plan when you have a couple of good pitchers on the mound," said Jackson. "You try to get out on them early and try to disrupt whatever momentum that they have. We were able to do that tonight."
Quintin Berry and Miguel Cabrera each added two hits, an RBI and a run scored. It was Cabrera's fourth straight game with an RBI.
Justin Verlander (7-4) allowed three runs -- one earned -- on five hits and four walks over seven innings, while Phil Coke tossed a perfect ninth to record his first save of the year in place of closer Jose Valverde, who suffered an injury while warming up.
Lance Lynn (10-3) was touched for five runs on nine hits and two walks through five innings to absorb the loss for the Cardinals, who have dropped three of their last four.
"Against a team like this, if you're behind in the count they are going to hurt you and that's what happened tonight," Lynn said about his outing. "I have to be better than that."
Getting the call for the Tigers tonight will be 23-year-old righty Rick Porcello, who is 4-4 with a 5.18 ERA. Porcello won for the first time in seven starts on Wednesday in Chicago, as he held the Cubs to four runs and nine hits in five innings.
Porcello beat the Cardinals the only other time he faced them, limiting them to an earned run in 5 2/3 innings.
St. Louis, meanwhile, will counter with veteran right-hander Jake Westbrook, who is also coming off his first win in seven starts his last time out. Westbrook beat the Chicago White Sox on Thursday, surrendering three runs and five hits in six innings to run his record to 5-6 to go along with a 4.27 ERA.
"I thought he did a great job working from the bottom [of the strike zone] up," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He came out in the first inning and tried to find what the umpire's lowest zone was going to be. There was a little more life there, and you can't rule out having that extra day [of rest]. I always believe that that's a big shot in our arm for our starting staff."
Westbrook, a former Cleveland Indians ace, has faced the Tigers 23 times (20 starts) and is 6-8 with a 5.58 ERA.
St. Louis took two of three from the Tigers the last time these teams faced off back in 2009 at Busch Stadium.