(Sports Network) - The Detroit Tigers get two cracks at the last-place Cleveland Indians today, as the AL Central squads hookup for a doubleheader at Progressive Field.
On Friday, Andy Marte and Austin Kearns each hit a two-run homer, leading the Indians in an 8-2 rout of the Tigers to begin a four-game series.
Travis Hafner and Trevor Crowe both added two hits and an RBI for the Indians, who had lost five of six to end the first half of the season. Carlos Santana also drove in a run and stole a base for Cleveland, which is still 15 games back in the AL Central.
"We got some key hits, especially the one by Marte," said Cleveland manager Manny Acta. "That two-run homer was big for us, and then the cushion that was provided by Austin Kearns."
Jake Westbrook (6-5) pitched 5 2/3 effective innings, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk while fanning five.
Miguel Cabrera and Brennan Boesch each drove in a run for the Tigers, who have lost two straight following a five-game win streak. Austin Jackson registered a triple among two hits for Detroit, which trails Chicago by one game for the AL Central lead.
Max Scherzer (6-7), who was 4-0 in his last five starts and allowed just three runs in his previous 27 2/3 innings, yielded four runs, five hits and a season-high five walks in five frames. He struck out seven.
"We have to play better in all phases," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. "We were sloppy defensively. We were sloppy on the bases. The pitching wasn't good. We didn't hit good. We didn't manage good. We didn't do anything good."
The Tigers will send Justin Verlander to the hill in today's first game. The hard throwing right-hander has been hot of late, winning three straight and six of his last seven starts. On July 9th, Verlander gave up two earned runs and eight hits over 5 1/3 innings of a 7-3 win over Minnesota.
Verlander is just 9-10 with a 5.39 ERA in 21 career starts versus the Indians, but he has won his last five decisions against them. He yielded three runs and fanned nine in six innings of a 6-4 triumph at Progressive Field on May 8th.
Detroit brought back Rick Porcello from Triple-A Toledo to start the second game. The young right-hander last made an appearance for the Tigers on June 19th, when he gave up five runs - four earned - in 5 1/3 innings of a 6-5 loss to Arizona.
Porcello has never lost to Cleveland in six career starts, posting a 4-0 record and a 2.55 ERA. In two appearances versus Cleveland this season, Porcello is 1-0, allowing five earned runs over 10 1/3 innings.
Fausto Carmona gets the nod for the Indians in the first game and he has put together three straight quality starts. On July 9th, the right-hander surrendered two earned runs over 6 2/3 innings of a 9-3 triumph at Tampa Bay.
In 13 lifetime starts against the Tigers, Carmona is 6-3 with a 3.34 ERA. He, however, is 0-2 in his past five appearances against them. On June 2nd, Carmona gave up just two earned runs over eight innings against Detroit, but was the on short end of a 3-0 decision.
Mitch Talbot toes the rubber in the nightcap for the Indians and he has fallen in two straight and four of his last five starts. In his most recent appearance on July 7th, the rookie right-hander permitted four earned runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 4-3 loss at Texas.
This is Talbot's fourth career appearance against the Tigers and he is 1-1 with a 9.49 ERA against them. He is 1-1 with a 7.20 ERA in two starts versus Detroit this season.
The Tigers split a two-game set in Cleveland in May, but they are 8-4 there since the start of last season, while going 20-7 overall in the last 27 meetings.