Tampa Bay (26-22) at Detroit (24-23)

Light Rain Shower Currently: Detroit, MI
Temp: 64° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Tue May 24, 2011
  • TV: SUN, FSD
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Detroit Tigers might have overcome their recent struggles against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Looking to remain undefeated at home versus Tampa Bay, ace Justin Verlander(notes) tries to help the Tigers to a third consecutive victory over the struggling Rays on Tuesday night at Comerica Park.

Detroit lost its first six games against Tampa Bay in 2010 before ending the season series with a 3-2 win. The Tigers (24-23) already matched last year’s win total against the Rays with a 6-3 victory Monday, their second straight win following a five-game skid.

Victor Martinez(notes) hit a two-run double and Miguel Cabrera(notes) delivered the tiebreaking single in the sixth inning as Detroit scored more than three runs for the first time in nine games.

Martinez is batting .538 (14 for 26) with 11 RBIs his last seven games against the Rays. Cabrera has hit .348 with three RBIs his last six overall for the Tigers, who have won six of seven at home.

Tampa Bay (26-22), meanwhile, has lost five of seven after building a season-high, three-game lead over the New York Yankees in the AL East. The Rays and Yankees are currently tied atop the division, with Boston one-half game out and Toronto 1 1/2 back.

The Rays could be in for another tough challenge Tuesday against Verlander (4-3, 2.96 ERA), who is 3-0 with a 3.48 ERA in five home starts versus Tampa Bay. The right-hander posted a 2.84 ERA while winning his last three starts against the Rays at Comerica Park.

After no-hitting Toronto on May 7 and giving up one run and two hits in eight innings to beat Kansas City on May 13, Verlander allowed three runs and struck out nine in eight innings but did not factor in the decision of a 4-3 loss at Boston on Thursday.

“He’s a bona fide ace,” Boston’s Carl Crawford(notes) told the Tigers’ official website.

Former Tiger Johnny Damon(notes) is batting .313 (5 for 16) with two doubles and one homer against Verlander. Damon has hit .367 his last eight games for the Rays, who have not scored more than four runs in each of the last five games.

Tampa Bay’s Wade Davis(notes) (4-4, 3.47) hopes to get some support as he tries to avoid losing his third straight start.

The right-hander has kept the Rays in each of his last two starts, but his teammates have totaled two runs in those games. Davis allowed three runs on two homers and walked four in a season-high 7 2-3 innings of a 3-2 loss at Toronto on Thursday.

Davis has given up four of the six home runs he’s allowed this season the last two outings. However, he felt he has something to build on from his last effort after giving up four runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-0 loss to Baltimore on May 14.

“Just striding better,” Davis said. “Everything was stronger in my lower half. My off-speed stuff was better, getting out in front. My curveball, slider, everything was much better.”

Davis was strong in his only start against Detroit on Sept. 6, 2009, when he gave up a solo homer plus two other hits while striking out nine in seven innings of a 5-3 win.

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Starting Pitchers

W. Davis KC vs. J. Verlander Det
11-10 Record 24-5
4.45 ERA 2.40
105 K 250
63 BB 57
1.38 WHIP 0.92


Tuesday, May 24