The Rangers look to hold the Tigers’ bats in check again on Sunday as the teams close their four-game series at Comerica Park.
The Tigers (79-44) own the best record in baseball and lead the NL Central by 5 1/2 games over the second-place Chicago White Sox, but have dropped eight of their last 11 games. Over that 11-game span, Detroit has scored just 31 runs.
The Tigers have been held to a total of two runs in consecutive losses to the Rangers, including Saturday’s 3-1 defeat. Craig Monroe homered for Detroit, which did not get its first hit until the fifth inning and has totaled only 10 in the series.
Detroit is still looking to notch its 80th win, a total it has not reached since 1993 when it last finished a season above .500.
The Rangers (64-60) recalled pitcher Robinson Tejeda from Triple-A Oklahoma City, and he combined with four relievers on a five-hitter Saturday.
Mark Teixeira homered for Texas, which has won eight of 10 and trails first-place Oakland by 5 1/2 games in the AL West. The Rangers have allowed 37 runs over their last 10 games.
“As long as I get a good pitch to hit, I’ll hit it,” said Teixeira, who also homered Friday. “Whether it’s a walk or a home run, I’ll do anything I can to help the team win.”
Texas will recall another pitcher from Triple-A to make Sunday’s start, as John Koronka (7-7, 5.31 ERA) takes the mound. Vicente Padilla, who was suspended for his role in Wednesday’s bench-clearing brawl with the Los Angeles Angels, was originally scheduled to start the finale, but Koronka was moved back from Saturday to take his place.
Koronka has not started for the Rangers since Aug. 5, when he allowed seven runs and two homers in four innings of a 10-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. He made his only start against Detroit on April 7, allowing four runs in five innings of a 5-2 loss.
Texas manager Buck Showalter will serve the final game of his four-game penalty for the brawl on Sunday.
Detroit will start Jeremy Bonderman (11-5, 3.69), who allowed two runs in 7 2-3 innings of the Tigers’ 3-2 win over the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday, but did not receive a decision. He is 0-1 over his last four starts despite a respectable 3.86 ERA in that span.
Curt Schilling, who started for Boston, was full of praise for his opponent.
“I knew coming in that Bonderman was pitching,” Schilling said. “I mean, if I could start a major league team with five starting pitchers, he is on my list. He is one of the best pitchers and definitely one of the top two or three young pitchers in the game.”
Bonderman is 2-0 with a 4.50 ERA in three career starts against the Rangers. He has not faced them this season.