Yankees-Tigers Preview

The Associated Press

The Detroit Tigers have won eight straight at home, but have dropped Justin Verlander's last five regular-season starts against the New York Yankees.

The Tigers hope Verlander can extend their streak while potentially ending his own Monday night as they seek a fifth consecutive victory overall in the opener of a four-game set.

Verlander (11-7, 2.63 ERA) beat New York (63-44) in Game 3 of a division series last year, but he's 0-2 with a 4.91 ERA in his last five outings versus the Yankees in the regular season.

"You gotta score runs when you get the opportunities," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "And it seems like when we've had success against Verlander, we've gotten to him early."

The ace right-hander catches a break Monday since he won't face Alex Rodriguez, who is sidelined with a broken left hand after going 4 for 6 with two homers against him this year.

Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki have fared well against Verlander with averages of .344 and .333, respectively. It's been a different story for Nick Swisher (.216 with 18 strikeouts in 51 at-bats), Robinson Cano (.185), Raul Ibanez (.115) and Mark Teixeira (.111).

Verlander is 5-2 with a 1.68 ERA in nine home starts, and ranks among the majors' leaders with a 0.98 WHIP.

He recorded his major league-leading sixth complete game with a five-inning stint Tuesday in his second straight defeat, a rain-shortened 4-1 loss at Boston.

Detroit (58-50) improved to a major league-best 14-1 at home since July 4, as Miguel Cabrera's two-run homer capped a five-run rally in the 10th inning of Sunday's 10-8 victory over Cleveland.

"It was high," Cabrera said. "I was not sure if I hit it out. I'm glad."

Cabrera leads the majors with 91 RBIs. He has team highs of three homers and seven RBIs against the Yankees this year, though Detroit has lost four of six matchups.

The Tigers are enjoying their longest run at Comerica Park since a nine-game win streak June 2-18, 2010, and trail Chicago by 1 1/2 games in the AL Central.

Eric Chavez, filling in for Rodriguez, is 7 for 15 in the season series for the Yankees while former Tigers outfielder Curtis Granderson has three homers and eight RBIs.

Suzuki has hit safely in all 12 games since joining AL East-leading New York, which capped a 4-5 homestand in which it lost three one-run games with Sunday's 6-2 victory over Seattle. The Yankees are starting a seven-game trip.

"We lost some really tight games and hopefully this will get us on a good streak," Girardi said.

Yankees starter Ivan Nova (10-5, 4.53) will try to bounce back after he allowed a career-high nine runs over five innings last Tuesday in an 11-5 home defeat to Baltimore.

"He had no fastball command, inconsistent slider, inconsistent curveball,'' Girardi said.

Nova is 0-2 with a 7.54 ERA in his last four outings. The right-hander opposed Verlander in his lone career regular-season start against Detroit on April 27 and yielded six runs over 5 1-3 innings and did not get a decision in a 7-6 victory.

He has excelled on the road, going 7-1 with a 3.32 ERA.