Miguel Cabrera and the resurgent Detroit Tigers picked up where they left off coming out of the All-Star break.
The same can be said for the Baltimore Orioles, but with much bleaker results.
Cabrera looks to continue his torrid stretch and help the Tigers extend their longest winning streak of the season against the sputtering Orioles on Saturday.
Cabrera is hitting .477 with four homers and 12 RBIs during Detroit's 9-3 stretch that has helped the club re-establish itself as a contender in the AL Central race.
The All-Star break didn't slow down the third baseman or the Tigers (45-42). He had two hits with a solo homer as Detroit opened this three-game set with a 7-2 victory Friday.
The Tigers' six-game win streak is their longest since a 12-game run in September.
"We had a little break from each other, saw our families and did whatever we needed to do for a few days," winning pitcher Doug Fister said. "We came back, reconvened, and we played well together. That's the biggest key for us."
Cabrera is another key, and that may continue against Baltimore (45-41). He has a career .364 average with 11 homers and 34 RBIs versus the Orioles, going 10 for 16 with six RBIs while homering in each of the last four meetings. He's the first Tiger to homer in four straight games against Baltimore since Chet Lemon in 1982-83.
Max Scherzer (8-5, 4.72 ERA) will try to extend Detroit's roll - and his own. The right-hander is 3-1 with a 2.00 ERA in his last four starts, striking out 33 with four walks in 27 innings.
He closed the first half of the season with another dominant performance in Sunday's 7-1 win over Kansas City, allowing one run and fanning seven in seven innings.
Scherzer's 121 strikeouts are among baseball's leaders, and a personal best prior to the break.
"I feel being able to locate my fastball and, obviously, where my slider and my changeup are, are at the best of my career (in) being able to be consistent with it from start to start," Scherzer told the team's official website. "I think that's why I'm generating a lot more swing and misses."
He's 2-1 with a 4.05 ERA in three starts against the Orioles, getting credit for a win in his only appearance in Baltimore on Aug. 13. He allowed five runs - four earned - with 10 strikeouts in seven innings.
The Orioles have dropped 14 of 20, including seven of 10 at home. They're eight games back of AL East-leading New York after trailing by 1 1/2 prior to that stretch.
Wei-Yin Chen (7-5, 3.93) hasn't been immune to Baltimore's struggles. The left-hander is 0-3 with a 5.96 ERA in his last four starts, yielding seven homers during that span. He's allowed 12 earned runs in his last three outings at Camden Yards after giving up eight in his first five.
Chen had the shortest start of his rookie season Sunday in a 6-0 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, lasting four-plus innings after allowing five runs and five hits - including three homers. That came five days after he carried a perfect game into the seventh inning of a 5-4 win at Seattle.
Baltimore isn't getting much offense from anyone with five runs in four games, but shortstop J.J. Hardy has been one of the biggest culprits, going 3 for his last 44.
- Detroit Tigers
- Baltimore Orioles