After a slow start, Travis Hafner is proving last year’s breakout season wasn’t a fluke.
Coming off taking three of four games from Baltimore, the Indians are 12-5-1 in their last 18 series.
Hafner went 2-for-3 with two walks and scored three runs, upping his average during the seven-game road trip to .444 (12-for-27), with three homers and 11 RBIs. He hit only one home run in April and batted .247 in May before hitting .345 with eight homers in June.
The 28-year-old first baseman leads Cleveland with a .303 average, 14 home runs and 51 RBIs. He set career highs last year by hitting .311 with 28 homers and 109 RBIs.
Hafner and the rest of the streaking Indians will get their first look at Detroit rookie Justin Verlander in Monday’s second game.
The 22-year-old right-hander will be making his major league debut after rocketing through the Tigers farm system. Verlander was drafted with the second overall pick in the 2004 amateur draft out of Old Dominion.
Verlander went 1-0 with 14 strikeouts in two starts with Double-A Erie. He started the season with Class A Lakeland and posted a 9-2 record and a 1.67 ERA.
Detroit has lost eight of its last 10 games, including a 1-0 loss to the New York Yankees on Sunday.