Tigers-Indians Preview

The Associated Press

The Detroit Tigers have spent the past three weeks striving to overtake Kansas City in the AL Central, but both clubs have another team almost on their heels.

While hoping to get Miguel Cabrera back, the Tigers will seek to reclaim sole possession of first place and slow down the surging Cleveland Indians on Monday.

Detroit (74-62) will be alone atop the division for the first time since Aug. 10 if it wins for the seventh time in 10 games and Kansas City drops its fourth in a row Monday night.

The Tigers were in line to stay tied with the Royals after a 6-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday, but Kansas City's game against Cleveland was suspended with the Indians leading 4-2 in the 10th inning.

"As weird as it is, you put this in your rearview mirror and move on quickly," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.

Detroit is hoping Cabrera can begin contributing again in the race. The Tigers star sat out Sunday after leaving Saturday's 8-4 win against Chicago with a sore right ankle.

Cabrera is hitting a team-best .383 in the 12 games against the Indians this season and is 15 of 28 (.536) with three homers lifetime versus Monday's scheduled starter, Corey Kluber (13-8, 2.52 ERA). That's his best performance against any active pitcher he's faced at least 20 times.

"It's day to day. We'll see (Monday)," manager Brad Ausmus told MLB's official website.

Detroit is 5-7 against Cleveland this year but registered a three-game sweep in its last visit to Progressive Field from June 20-22.

With its game against Kansas City set to be completed Sept. 22, Cleveland (70-64) remains 3 1/2 back of the Royals, but ti was 7 1/2 behind Detroit and five back of Kansas City before winning 13 of 18.

The Indians have a 1.77 ERA during that surge, but Kluber has cooled off since a superb stretch. The right-hander has allowed six runs in 13 1-3 innings in back-to-back losses after going 7-1 with a 1.19 ERA in 10 starts.

He gave up three runs and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings Wednesday in a 3-2 loss to the White Sox.

Kluber, 1-1 with a 2.78 ERA in three starts against Detroit this season, surrendered two runs in 8 2-3 innings and struck out 10 in his most recent matchup, a 6-2 road win July 19.

"(Cleveland is a) tough team. The guy we see (Monday) is one of the best in the league in Kluber," Detroit's scheduled starter David Price told MLB's official website.

Price (12-10, 3.32) has an MLB-best 224 strikeouts, 11 ahead of Kluber in third, but the left-hander recorded only three in his most recent outing. That's because he was tagged for eight runs and 12 hits in two-plus innings in an 8-4 loss to the New York Yankees.

He also became the first pitcher in 25 years to give up nine consecutive hits in a game.

Price yielded two runs and four hits over 16 innings in his previous two games, and was 1-1 with a 2.35 ERA in his first four starts after being acquired from Tampa Bay on July 31.

He hasn't faced Cleveland since a 13-0 drubbing April 7, 2013. Price was charged with eight runs in five innings after going 5-0 with a 1.64 ERA in his first six matchups.

Michael Brantley, batting .422 with 16 RBIs in his last 21 games against Detroit, is 1 for 10 lifetime versus Price. Yan Gomes, hitting .457 against the Tigers this season, has never faced him.

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