Mike Maroth looks to continue his domination of the Indians at Jacobs Field, and the Detroit Tigers go for their first three-game series sweep in Cleveland in nearly 16 years when the teams close out their weekend series on Sunday.
Maroth is 7-3 with a 2.96 ERA in 11 starts versus Cleveland in his career and is undefeated on the road, going 5-0 with a 2.63 ERA in six outings.
This season, Maroth (4-2, 2.55 ERA) has allowed four runs or less in all six starts and had arguably his best outing against the Indians on April 16 when he gave up three hits with five strikeouts over seven scoreless innings in a 1-0 win.
With a victory, Maroth would move three games over .500 for just the third time in his career. The left-hander, who has increased his win total each of his first four full seasons, began the 2004 campaign at 4-1 and later was 10-7 before an 11-13 finish.
The Tigers have not swept a three-game series in Cleveland since June 5-7, 1990.
Former Tiger Jason Johnson will get the start Sunday for the Indians (17-20).
Johnson (2-2, 5.82) will face Detroit for the first time since being signed as a free agent in the offseason. He spent the past two years with the Tigers and went a combined 16-28 with a 4.82 ERA in 66 starts.
Johnson pitched well in his first three outings with Cleveland, going 2-0 with a 1.83 ERA, but is just 0-2 with a 9.95 ERA in four starts since. He gave up six runs and 11 hits over five innings of a 10-7 loss to Kansas City on Tuesday.
Johnson is 2-3 with a 4.91 ERA in seven games, including five starts, in his career against the Tigers. He hasn’t faced them since giving up two runs in six innings of a 6-1 defeat on May 5, 2003, while playing with Baltimore.
The Tigers (23-13) improved to a major league-best 15-7 on the road with a 3-0 win over the Indians on Saturday. The win also moved Detroit one-half game behind the defending World Series champion Chicago White Sox in the AL Central.
Jeremy Bonderman carried a no-hitter into the fifth and threw eight scoreless innings, allowing three hits and striking out eight, and Chris Shelton broke a 12-game homerless drought with a solo shot in the third as one of just seven hits for Detroit.
“He got in a favorable count, got the bat through the zone and hit it out,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “I don’t want him to get caught up in hitting home runs. That got him in a little trouble before.”
C.C. Sabathia nearly matched Bonderman’s performance but was the loser for the Indians, who have dropped five straight games for the first time since July 10-17. Sabathia allowed two runs in eight innings, but tied a career high with 10 strikeouts.
“It’s a slump where anything that can go wrong will,” he said. “But we’re a team that learns from our mistakes. It was a case of Bonderman being really good rather than our offense struggling.”
Casey Blake singled in the sixth to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. He’s hitting .439 (18-for-41) over that span with four homers and eight RBIs.