On Saturday the Tigers won their second straight and the third in the last four outings with a resounding 10-1 victory over the Tribe which means Detroit now enjoys a 3 1/2 game cushion in the standings as the squad moved to 36-27 at home in 2011.
Brandon Inge announced his return from the minors yesterday as he belted a home run and knocked in a pair in the nine-run win. Ramon Santiago finished up 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI, while Alex Avila and Victor Martinez each scored twice for the hosts as well.
Starting pitcher Doug Fister logged just his fifth win in 18 decisions on the campaign for the Tigers, allowing only one run on six hits while fanning seven in as many innings.
"Its a fun ball club to be a part of, especially when they are known for putting up big runs like this," said Fister, who was acquired from the Mariners on July 30. "It makes our job as pitchers a lot easier."
Over on the other side, David Huff lasted a mere 2 1/3 innings as he gave up five runs on four hits and just as many walks in his second loss of the campaign.
Shin-Soo Choo had a solo homer in the third inning for the Indians as they scattered a total of seven hits but were unable to capitalize on that production.
In an effort to keep his record against the Tigers unblemished this season and keep Cleveland within striking range, Ubaldo Jimenez gets the ball for the visitors this afternoon. Jimenez, who is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA versus Detroit thus far in 2011, but just 2-2 in his career, last pitched on Tuesday when Cleveland bowed to the Chicago White Sox on the road by a score of 8-7.
The right-hander did factor into the decision however, as he allowed five runs -- four earned -- on nine hits and one walk, while striking out five over the course of just 4 2/3 innings of action.
As for the Tigers, they plan on handing the ball to right-hander Rick Porcello who is in his third year in the majors. The New Jersey native was on the hill Monday when he lost his second straight outing as he and the Tigers bowed to Minnesota at home, 9-6. During the matchup Porcello worked his way through six innings, giving up nine hits and six runs, although only four of them were earned. For the second straight game and the third time in the last four, Porcello also surrendered a home run as well and has now been stuck on 11 wins for the season since the end of July.
Inge, who is making $5.5 million this year, spent a considerable amount of time down at Triple-A Toledo before making his return to the big leagues. The third baseman, who hit .287 with seven home runs and 19 RBI in 29 games with the Mud Hens, was hitless in his last eight games with the big club in July before being sent down.
With the win on Saturday the Tigers closed the gap in the season series to just a single game (6-5) as they claimed their third straight victory over Cleveland.