While the Detroit Tigers hope their latest victory might provide the spark they desperately need to get on a roll, the NL Central-leading Cincinnati Reds are trying to break out of their own minor rough patch.
The Tigers continue a tough stretch in their schedule Friday night against the Reds in their first visit to Great American Ball Park.
Detroit (26-31) swept a three-game set at Minnesota from May 25-27, but has since gone 3-7 against Boston, the New York Yankees and Cleveland - all teams with winning records. The Tigers snapped a three-game skid Thursday by holding on for a 7-5 win over the Indians.
"It's all must-win time," outfielder Quintin Berry told the Tigers' official website. "It's time to get things rolling."
Miguel Cabrera hit his 13th homer and Brennan Boesch broke out of a 2-for-38 stretch with two hits Thursday as Detroit jumped out to a 7-1 lead, then held on to avoid the sweep.
Cabrera has homered in each of the last two games, and is batting .386 with 27 RBIs in his last 27. He's a .386 lifetime hitter at Great American Ball Park, but has not played there since 2007, with Florida.
Prince Fielder - a former NL Central rival of Cincinnati (31-25) from his Milwaukee Brewers days - is batting .323 with 11 homers and 34 RBIs in 52 career games at the Reds' hitter-friendly yard, and .423 with 12 RBIs during his current 14-game hitting streak.
The Tigers are 4-2 all-time in Cincinnati, but haven't played there since 2001, at the former Riverfront Stadium.
Rick Porcello (3-4, 4.86 ERA) takes the mound for the Tigers to face the Reds for the first time. Though the right-hander is 0-2 with a 4.78 ERA in five starts since beating the Chicago White Sox on May 6, Detroit has won his last two outings while he's allowed four runs over 12 innings. He gave up one run in six innings of a 4-3 victory over New York on Saturday.
Porcello will be up against a Reds club that has dropped three of four, including two of three at home to Pittsburgh.
After Ryan Ludwick's second homer of the night tied Thursday's game in the ninth, hard-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman allowed the deciding run in the 10th inning of a 5-4 defeat.
For Chapman, it was the first earned run given up all season in 25 appearances spanning 30 innings.
"It's tough to take," manager Dusty Baker told the Reds' official website''
Joey Votto had three hits Thursday to raise his average to .543 (25 for 46) during a 13-game hitting streak. However, he's batting .182 (8 for 44) in his last 12 games against AL opponents.
The Reds have lost seven of their last 10 interleague home games, but took two of three at Yankee Stadium last month.
Cincinnati starter Mat Latos (4-2, 4.91) is 4-2 with a 3.53 ERA in seven career starts against AL opponents, but has never faced Detroit.
The right-hander is 4-0 with a 3.83 ERA in eight starts since losing at St. Louis on April 18, but yielded seven runs - four earned - in 3 1-3 innings of the Reds' 12-9 victory at Houston on Saturday.