Following arguably their most exciting game of the season, the Tigers open a three-game series with the Royals on Monday.
Detroit (5-1) won two of three games against Kansas City (2-4) last week, scoring a total of 15 runs in the victories. The Tigers then combined for nine runs in two straight wins over Cleveland before rallying from six runs down in a 9-8 victory Sunday.
“We play nine innings, and we hung in there,” Leyland said.
Ordonez, trying to bounce back from a subpar season, is batting .462 with two homers and six RBIs. The veteran right fielder went 7 for 14 against the Royals last week.
Cabrera went 8 for 14 in that series, and is batting .522 with two homers and eight RBIs this season. He had hits in eight straight at-bats against Luke Hochevar(notes) (0-0, 0.00) before going 0 for 3 in Detroit’s 3-2, 11-inning win Wednesday night.
Hochevar, who is starting this series’ opener, gave up five hits in 7 2/3 shutout innings, a promising start for the 2006 No. 1 overall pick. He went 1-10 with an 8.21 ERA in his final 13 starts last year.
The right-hander is 1-2 with a 4.85 ERA in four starts and one relief appearance versus the Tigers.
Scherzer, a native of St. Louis, fared well in his home state despite a cold and rainy evening that kept him from keeping a clean grip on the ball.
The right-hander earned a win in his only other appearance against Kansas City, allowing two runs in six innings for Arizona in a 12-5 victory June 17.
Kansas City was held to three runs in three of four games prior to an 8-6 loss to Boston on Sunday. The Royals could have had more, but went 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position.
“He’s been swinging the bat well, he really has,” manager Trey Hillman told the Royals’ official Web site. “I think he’s got a chance to drive in a lot of runs.”