Rockies-Tigers Preview

The Associated Press

Some recent success against NL opponents has the Detroit Tigers feeling confident.

Interleague play has only added to the Colorado Rockies' struggles.

The Tigers look for a third consecutive victory while trying to extend the Rockies' season-high skid to nine games Friday night at Comerica Park.

Detroit (30-33) is perhaps the majors' biggest underachiever this season, but it improved to 6-3 against the NL after taking four of six at Cincinnati and Chicago over the last week.

"We've got to start winning two out of three,'' said manager Jim Leyland, whose team is third in the AL Central. "That's how you crawl back into the thing.''

Austin Jackson had three hits with three RBIs and Justin Verlander struck out eight over eight innings in Thursday's 5-3 win over the lowly Cubs. Two of Jackson's six hits in 22 at-bats since coming off the disabled list from an abdominal strain have left the park.

Though Detroit is 8-13 against the Rockies and lost two of three at Coors Field last season, Colorado (24-38) has dropped its last 10 interleague contests. The Rockies fell to 0-9 against the AL this season with an 8-2 loss to Oakland on Thursday.

The Rockies last dropped nine straight Sept. 15-23.

"We've got to do something different,'' said Alex White, Thursday's losing starter. "It's tough to watch, tough to be a part of, and we're all sick of it.''

Detroit rookie Casey Crosby (1-1, 9.35 ERA) looks to help extend Colorado's misery when he makes his third career start in the opener. After he gave up six runs in 3 1-3 innings of a 9-4 loss to the Yankees in his major league debut June 1, the left-hander yielded three in 5 1-3 innings of a 7-5 win over Cleveland on June 7.

"This was a lot better," Crosby said. "It was definitely a positive thing.''

He will face a Colorado lineup without Troy Tulowitzki.

The shortstop is eligible to come off the DL on Friday, but he reaggravated a groin injury during a rehab assignment Wednesday. Batting .287 with eight home runs and 27 RBIs in 47 games, Tulowitzki underwent an MRI and manager Jim Tracy is unsure if his star will travel to Detroit.

"We have a good idea of what we're dealing with, we just have to figure out how to deal with it," Tracy told the Rockies' official website. "I didn't sense anything real serious. So we're trying to find out what caused that little something."

Though the Rockies were held to six hits and didn't score until the ninth inning Thursday, the club's major concern continues to revolve around a starting pitching staff that has a 12.30 ERA during the eight-game skid.

Jeff Francis (0-1, 21.60) hopes to end the rotation's awful stretch Friday with a better performance in his second start since Colorado signed him last weekend. The left-hander allowed eight runs and 10 hits in 3 1-3 innings of an 11-5 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday.

Francis, who pitched for Kansas City in 2011, is 0-2 with a 3.08 ERA in four starts versus Detroit.

Miguel Cabrera is batting .406 with eight homers in 36 career games versus Colorado, but he's just 3 for 16 with three walks against Francis.

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