Tigers look to keep rolling in Toronto
Despite facing a sizable deficit in the AL Central, Detroit Tigers outfielder Johnny Damon showed that he feels his club shouldn't give up on its postseason hopes.
The Tigers' recent performances indicate that they haven't.
After handling the Toronto Blue Jays in the opener of a four-game road series, Detroit goes for its seventh win in eight tries Friday night.
The Tigers (64-64) are nine games behind Minnesota in the division and 14½ back in the wild-card race. Damon, however, chose to stay with Detroit on Tuesday by rejecting a move to Boston following a waiver claim.
"I feel like we're not out of it yet," Damon said. "At least, we can make some kind of run."
Detroit had won five in a row when Damon decided to stick around. That run ended with a 12-inning defeat to Kansas City on Wednesday, but the Tigers bounced back with a 7-1 victory over the Blue Jays (66-61) on Thursday.
Jhonny Peralta matched a season high by driving in four runs and Detroit allowed only Jose Bautista's major league-best 41st homer. The Tigers are batting .328 and have a 1.50 ERA over the last seven games.
Justin Verlander (14-8, 3.65 ERA) will try to extend his team's hot streak as he goes for his third victory in four starts. He allowed one run over eight innings of an 8-1 win over Cleveland on Sunday, giving him a 2.37 ERA in his last three games.
"We're all competitive guys — we wouldn't be at this level if we weren't — so you want to go out there and one-up the last guy," Verlander said. "Everyone's pitching well, so you don't want to be the one that goes out there and ends the streak."
After posting an 11.40 ERA in his first three starts against Toronto, Verlander beat the Blue Jays for the first time July 22 by allowing two runs over eight innings in a 5-2 victory.
Shaun Marcum (11-7, 3.70) will try again to match his career high for wins, set in 2007. After pitching a one-hitter to beat Oakland 3-1 on Aug. 16, the right-hander lost 5-0 to the Red Sox on Sunday.
Marcum retired the first 12 batters before allowing three runs over seven innings.
"He made three bad pitches," manager Cito Gaston said. "He threw 91 pitches — three bad ones. Otherwise, he pitched a good game."
Marcum gave up two runs over 5 2-3 innings in a 3-2 win over the Tigers on July 24. He has gone 2-1 with a 4.15 ERA in three career starts against Detroit.
Miguel Cabrera, looking to extend his hitting streak to 10 games, has two doubles and a home run in eight at-bats versus Marcum.
Bautista is 1 for 7 with two strikeouts against Verlander.