Each starter looks to continue his respective hot stretch as Los Angeles tries to complete a three-game sweep Sunday against visiting Detroit, which has gone cold at the wrong time.
The Angels are two games out of the AL’s second wild-card spot - shared by East co-leaders Baltimore and New York - after Saturday’s 6-1 win over the Tigers. Mike Trout homered off Justin Verlander to lead off the bottom of the first inning, then robbed Prince Fielder of a home run to end the game.
Los Angeles (76-63), which trails Texas by seven games in the West, has won five straight and 10 of 11 since dropping consecutive games at Detroit on Aug. 25th and 26th.
“We still have a couple of weeks where we have to continue to play like this in order to get where we want to get,” said the Angels’ C.J. Wilson, who won his third straight start. “Texas is not slowing down, and neither are any of these other teams that we’re chasing.”
Detroit (73-65) fell two games behind Central-leading Chicago after losing for the fourth time in five games since a three-game sweep of the White Sox.
“It was a little bit of a letdown right in the first (inning), and that is something we can’t really let happen,” manager Jim Leyland said.
Miguel Cabrera, considered a candidate for AL MVP along with Trout, was ejected shortly after grounding into a double play in the fourth inning, apparently upset from a call while he was at-bat.
Cabrera is 1 for 6 in the series and is hitting .222 over his last six games, but he’s hitting .313 lifetime off Greinke, who finally seems to be settled in with the team that acquired him from Milwaukee before the July non-waiver trade deadline.
Greinke (4-2, 4.36 ERA) has won his last three starts with a 1.66 ERA after giving up one run and four hits in seven innings of Tuesday’s 6-1 victory over Oakland. He had gone 1-1 with a 7.20 ERA in his previous four outings.
“The last three are how I want to pitch,” Greinke said. “I’ve just been trying to pitch like normal, I guess.”
The right-hander’s current surge began with a win at Detroit on Aug. 24, when he gave up five hits - including Cabrera’s eighth-inning home run - in 7 2-3 innings of a 2-1 victory.
Sanchez (2-4, 4.50) has been pitching just as well lately for the Tigers, going 1-1 with a 0.92 ERA over his last three starts after giving up two unearned runs in six innings of Monday’s 3-2 loss. He went 1-3 with a 7.97 ERA in his first four starts with Detroit after being acquired from Miami before the deadline.
The right-hander has faced the Angels once in his career, allowing one run in seven innings of the Marlins’ 2-1 loss June 20, 2011.
Angels slugger Mark Trumbo, hitless in his last 15 at-bats, was benched Saturday and it’s unclear if he’ll be back in the lineup Sunday.
“We’re in the middle of a pennant race,” Trumbo told the team’s official website. “There’s no time for feelings now. I enjoy playing, being out there, but I totally understand. I just haven’t been getting it done.”