Indians-Tigers Preview

The Associated Press

Cleveland Indians right-hander Derek Lowe jokes that he's "no longer a prospect."

Even in the twilight of his career, the 39-year-old sinkerballer keeps getting the job done.

Nearly 15 years to the day after Lowe picked up his first major league win at Detroit, the Dearborn, Mich, native will go for No. 174 in Thursday's series finale as the visiting Indians try to improve to 6-0 against the Tigers this season.

Six days after giving up a season-high eight runs in a 14-7 road loss to the Chicago White Sox, Lowe (7-3, 3.06 ERA) threw 6 2-3 innings of one-run ball on his birthday, Friday's 7-1 victory over Minnesota.

"It's more rewarding the older you get,'' he said. "I think when you're young people kind of expect it. And I'm not old, by the way. I'm olding.''

Lowe is 6-2 with a 2.34 ERA in 10 starts against the Tigers, whom he hasn't faced since June 13, 2008, with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

He'll take the ball a day after the 15th anniversary of his first major league win - Seattle's 6-3 victory June 6, 1997.

Lowe will try to pick up another as the Indians (30-25) go for their first series sweep at Detroit since Aug. 25-28, 2008. Cleveland had dropped seven of nine overall and 23 of 26 at Comerica Park heading into this three-game set.

"The championship goes through Detroit,'' Indians manager Manny Acta said following Wednesday's 9-6 win. "They beat us up pretty good last year, the whole division, and they're a very good ballclub."

The Tigers (25-31), though, have dropped seven of nine and are trying to avoid their first four-game slide since a season-worst five-game skid April 22-27.

Before opening a 15-game stretch of interleague play Friday at Cincinnati, the Tigers will try to wrap up their six-game homestand with a second win.

Left-hander Casey Crosby (0-1, 16.20) will make his second career start in the finale in place of the injured Doug Fister.

Crosby is trying to rebound from a 9-4 loss to the New York Yankees on Friday as he walked four and surrendered six runs in 3 1-3 innings.

"You just file that one away, run him out there against Cleveland, and see what he does," manager Jim Leyland told the Tigers' official website. "The equipment's there. We asked a lot of the kid tonight, but we've been forced this year into a lot of different situations. We just have to battle it."

Crosby should be careful pitching to Indians center fielder Michael Brantley, who is batting .365 (19 for 52) during a team-best 14-game hitting streak after hitting his first homer of the season Wednesday - a three-run shot in the first inning.

Brantley is 7 for 16 with three extra-base hits off Tigers pitching this season.

Miguel Cabrera will go for a sixth consecutive multihit home game against the Indians. The reigning AL batting champ went 2 for 4 with a solo homer Wednesday, but he's just 4 for 23 with a home run off Lowe.

Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder, who is batting .429 (21 for 49) with two homers and 11 RBIs during a 13-game hitting streak, has five hits in 23 at-bats against the right-hander.

Detroit has lost 16 of 24 at Comerica since opening 4-0.

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