Tigers try to stay on point, resume set with Indians

The Detroit Tigers, leaders in the American League Central, shoot for their third win in a row and the fourth in the last five outings on Saturday as they host the Cleveland Indians in the second of a three-game set at Comerica Park.

Now seven games over .500 and sporting the best home record in the AL at 20-10, the Tigers try to build on their 7-5 victory from Friday night.

In that contest Detroit starter Justin Verlander posted his eighth win of the campaign, working seven innings as he gave up three runs on seven hits and a pair of walks, striking out six as he captured his fourth win in a row and the sixth in the last eight decisions.

"I've still got a ways to go," Verlander said after the victory. "I've still got some work to do. But it's nice to be able to go out there and get wins for our ball club."

Closer Jose Valverde surrendered a couple of runs in the ninth, but still the Tigers held on for the win and moved to 3 1/2 games over Cleveland for first place in the division.

Victor Martinez belted his fifth home run of the season, a solo shot to lead off the second inning, finishing with three hits and three runs scored overall. Torii Hunter, now batting .305, also had three hits for the hosts.

Drew Stubbs and Jason Giambi both hit home runs for the Indians, the former scoring two runs in the contest. Jason Kipnis added two hits and a couple of RBI, but still the Indians lost their fifth straight and sixth in the last seven outings.

Ubaldo Jimenez dropped to 4-4 on the season for the Tribe as he gave up five runs -- three earned -- on seven hits and three walks in a mere three innings of work.

"In the first inning, I felt really good," Jimenez said. "In the second inning, everything was going the other way. I threw too many pitches in that inning and after that, I was kind of fatigued."

Justin Masterson was scheduled to start Saturday, but the Indians pushed him back for Sunday's game. After placing right-hander Zach McAllister on the disabled list with a right middle finger strain, Carlos Carrasco will toe the rubber Saturday.

Carrasco is 0-1 with a 17.18 ERA in just one start. He was hammered by the New York Yankees on April 9, when he allowed seven runs and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings of a 14-1 setback. In three career starts against Detroit, Carrasco is 1-2 with an 8.36 ERA.

As for the Tigers, they have slated Rick Porcello to counter Carrasco. The right-hander, who last faced the Tribe the second week of May when he lasted six innings but was not charged with the loss in a 4-3 setback, suffered his third defeat of the season last weekend in a 4-2 loss at Baltimore.

Through six innings, Porcello gave up three runs on six hits, fanning seven, as he saw a two-game win streak come to an end.

Except for Minnesota, against which he has pitched a total of 17 times, Porcello has seen Cleveland more than any other opponent in his career, putting up a 5-3 mark in 16 contests.

Detroit has won three straight over the Indians and four of six on the season.