After an ineffective outing from their oldest starter, the Detroit Tigers are turning to their youngest.
Kenny Rogers allowed seven runs while recording just two outs in Detroit’s 12-7 loss to Cleveland on Tuesday. Over the last four games, Detroit’s starters have allowed 20 runs and 22 hits in 15 innings.
“I’m sure that’s about as ugly as I can get,” the 41-year-old Rogers said of his outing.
The Tigers still own the best team ERA in the majors at 3.72, thanks in large part to Verlander, their rookie right-hander.
Verlander (12-4, 2.77 ERA) won his fifth straight decision on Friday, allowing one run and seven hits in six innings of a 7-4 victory over the Oakland Athletics. The 23-year-old, who owns a 1.77 ERA during his seven-start undefeated streak, is just one win off the major league lead.
“He’s a great pitcher,” A’s outfielder Jay Payton said. “He throws 100 miles an hour when he wants to and he’s got a great curveball and a good changeup. If you aren’t locked in, he makes it tough.”
Verlander has made two career starts against Cleveland, going 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA. He made his only start against the Indians this season on May 27, allowing one run in seven innings of a 3-1 victory to cap a four-start winning streak.
The Tigers (67-33) lost Tuesday for just the second time in seven games. They bounced back with three runs in the second inning and four in the fourth, but never took the lead.
Brandon Inge homered and drove in four runs, Dmitri Young also connected, and Curtis Granderson had four hits for Detroit. Inge is hitting .439 (18-for-41) with three homers and 13 RBIs over his last 12 games.
The Tigers failed to score in the first inning for the first time in four games after matching a 115-year-old record on Monday by scoring at least five runs in the first inning of three straight games.
The Indians (44-55) won for just the third time in 11 games as Grady Sizemore and Jason Michaels, the Indians’ Nos. 1 and 2 hitters, went a combined 6-for-7 with three walks, four runs and three RBIs, and Casey Blake hit an inside-the-park homer.
“We knew we had to keep scoring,” Michaels said. “It just felt like one of those night where no lead was going to be big enough.”
C.C. Sabathia (7-6, 3.73) will start the series finale for Cleveland. He lost his second straight start on Friday, his 26th birthday, allowing eight runs — three earned—and six hits in 3 2-3 innings of a 14-6 defeat to the Minnesota Twins.
Sabathia gave up six runs, four earned, and 13 hits in a 6-2 loss at Minnesota on July 15, after closing out the first half of the season with a three-hit shutout July 7 over Baltimore.
Sabathia is 10-5 with a 4.23 ERA in 18 career starts against the Tigers. He gave up three runs in eight innings of a 3-0 loss against them on May 13, his first defeat of the season.