Tigers-Indians Preview

The Associated Press

The Detroit Tigers extended their winning streak to four despite having a run disallowed during their last game.

They haven't had much offense to spare for Rick Porcello of late.

Porcello takes the mound Sunday seeking his first win in over a month as the visiting Tigers try for a three-game sweep of the woeful Cleveland Indians.

Miguel Cabrera hit his 37th homer and Anibal Sanchez took a no-hitter into the seventh inning Saturday as Detroit (77-67) officially eliminated Cleveland (60-86) from playoff contention with a 5-3 victory. The Tigers had a run taken off the board in the fifth inning when it was ruled on appeal that Alex Avila didn't touch third base before crossing home.

The Tigers didn't gain any ground in the AL Central but did stay one game in back of first-place Chicago, which beat Minnesota 5-3 on Saturday.

"It is what it is," manager Jim Leyland said. "We're still playing for pretty big stakes, just as they are."

Batting .284 during its winning streak - including a .395 mark with runners in scoring position - Detroit now tries to keep things going for Porcello (9-12, 4.59 ERA).

Porcello enters Sunday having lost a career-worst six consecutive starts, a stretch during which the Tigers have provided him with an average of 1.06 runs of support.

The right-hander suffered his career high-tying 12th defeat Monday in a 6-1 road loss to the White Sox. He carried a shutout into the six inning before coming undone following a costly Tigers error.

"When you get in a tough situation like that, you've got to bear down and find something within to get out of those jams," said Porcello, who allowed four runs - three earned. "I wasn't able to do that."

Porcello went 4-0 with a 2.10 ERA over his first five starts in this series before posting a 5.29 mark while going 1-3 in his last nine. He's given up a combined eight runs over 11 innings in losing both his matchups versus Cleveland this year.

He'll need to be wary of Carlos Santana, who's gone 8 for 21 (.381) with three homers in their matchups. Asdrubal Cabrera is 12 for 32 (.375).

Taking the mound opposite Porcello is Ubaldo Jimenez (9-16, 5.52), the major league leader in losses. The right-hander is 1-9 with a 7.13 ERA over his last 12 outings and finds himself on the verge of losing a career-worst fifth consecutive start.

Jimenez is trying to avoid becoming the first Indians pitcher to lose 17 games since Tom Candiotti went 7-18 in 1987. He surrendered five runs - two earned - and four walks over five innings Tuesday in a 6-4 loss at Texas.

"As a player, you're never going to think like that, that you're going to have a season like this," Jimenez told the team's official website. "You're always going to think positive and be optimistic. But it's happened."

Jimenez has compiled a 7.11 ERA in losing his last two matchups against Detroit.

Hitting .163 with runners in scoring position during a 1-7 skid, Cleveland is an AL-worst 16-45 since the All-Star break.

"It's been a trying season," Saturday's losing pitcher Justin Masterson said. "This has been a testament to our season in general with things that can get out of hand."

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