Indians-Tigers Preview

The Associated Press

After making some massive strides in the AL Central race this weekend, the Detroit Tigers took a small step back in their series opener with the Cleveland Indians.

The Tigers will try to recover Tuesday night while giving right-hander Rick Porcello some more run support.

Detroit (72-62) opened its homestand with a three-game sweep of Chicago and moved into a tie with White Sox atop the division. The Tigers, winners in eight of 10 at Comerica Park, couldn't sustain that momentum Monday as they fell 3-2 to the Indians.

Asdrubal Cabrera hit the go-ahead sacrifice fly in the seventh inning and drove in a pair of runs in his return to the lineup. Cabrera didn't start the previous two games due to a sore right wrist.

The victory over Detroit was the Indians' second in 20 road games and seventh in their last 36 overall. It also snapped a four-game skid at Comerica.

Porcello (9-10, 4.57 ERA) will try to help the Tigers by ending a career-worst streak of four consecutive losing starts. The right-hander has given up three runs or fewer in each of his past three defeats but has received zero runs from his teammates.

Porcello allowed two over five innings Thursday in a 2-1 loss in Kansas City.

"He did great. He gave us a good chance to win that ballgame right there," outfielder Andy Dirks told the team's official website. "It's kind of one of those things where our offense didn't come through."

Porcello might need his teammates to come up big Monday as he's 1-2 with a 7.56 ERA over his last five starts against the Indians (57-78). He gave up five runs, eight hits and three walks over 5 1-3 innings in a 5-3 defeat in Cleveland on May 22.

He'll pitch opposite Justin Masterson (10-12, 4.91), who is trying to rebound from another poor outing.

The right-hander was tagged for eight runs over four-plus innings Thursday in a 12-7 loss to Oakland. With that effort, he dropped to 3-4 with a 7.62 ERA over his last seven starts.

"Justin is aware of what's happening with his delivery," pitching coach Ruben Niebla told the team's official website. "It kind of breaks down a little bit. It's something that he works hard at, making sure he stays balanced over the rubber and staying back."

Masterson is also 1-3 with a 9.28 ERA in his last four road games, including a 10-2 defeat to Detroit on Aug. 3. He gave up seven runs, 10 hits and four walks over four innings in that game.

He's 0-3 with a 7.71 ERA in three lifetime starts at Comerica but had a solid effort against Detroit at Progressive Field on May 24, allowing one run over seven innings and overcoming five walks in a 2-1 victory.

Miguel Cabrera is 10 for 22 (.455) with five walks against Masterson, while Asdrubal Cabrera is 10 for 29 (.345) versus Porcello over his career.

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