Tigers prepare for playoffs with set against Marlins

The newly crowned American League Central champion Detroit Tigers will spend the rest of the regular season on the shores of Biscayne Bay, as they open a three-game series against the Miami Marlins Friday night.

The Tigers captured their third straight division title with Wednesday's 1-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins and Max Scherzer was his usual self on the mound, striking out 10 over seven shutout innings. He did have some issues with control and walked six batters, but only allowed two hits.

Joaquin Benoit struck out two batters in the ninth for his 24th save.

"For us to be able to do it three straight years now is really special and a testament to the talent in our clubhouse," Scherzer said.

Detroit scored the only run of the game when Austin Jackson tripled to lead off the first inning and scored on Torii Hunter's base hit to center field.

The Tigers have won 11 of their last 15 games and will send Jose Alvarez to the mound Friday. Rick Porcello was originally slated to pitch, but will rest for the playoffs. Alvarez is 1-4 with a 5.50 ERA in 13 games (5 starts) this season and the rookie left-hander has never faced the Marlins.

Detroit will get suspended shortstop Jhonny Peralta back after his 50-game penalty for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Peralta will be used as an outfield candidate since the Tigers made a deal for shortstop Jose Iglesias. Peralta could be inserted on Detroit's postseason roster.

"He's worked hard, eager to get back. The team has been receptive to him coming back, and we think it's best for the ballclub to give him the opportunity," Tigers team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said.

The Marlins have alternated wins and losses over their last six games and took two of three games from the Philadelphia Phillies this week. They recorded a 3-2 win on Wednesday, as Justin Ruggiano scored the go-ahead run on a fielder's choice in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Adeiny Hechavarria had three RBI and former Phillie Placido Polanco finished 3-for-4 with a run scored in the win.

Brad Hand started for the Marlins and limited the Phils to a pair of runs across 6 1/3 innings for the no-decision. Another former Phillie, Chad Qualls, picked up the win by getting the final out of the eighth inning and Steve Cishek hurled the ninth for his 33rd save. Cishek set a club record with his 28th straight save.

"I really just tried not to think about it (the record), but I would be lying if I said it wasn't in the back of my head. I just tried to go out there and get three outs and help our team get the win," said Cishek.

Miami has lost 100 games twice in its existence and hasn't reached the playoffs since winning the 2003 World Series.

Tom Koehler will start this Detroit series on the mound for the Marlins and has a record of 4-10 with a 4.45 ERA in 28 games (22 starts). Koehler is only 1-5 at home, but did defeat the Washington Nationals on the road his last time out on Sunday, when he gave up two runs in six innings.

The right-handed Koehler will face the Tigers for the first time.

The Tigers and Marlins are meeting for the first time since 2004, when Detroit won two of three matchups in the Motor City. The Marlins took two of three meetings with Detroit at home back in 2002.