DETROIT - The streaking Toronto Blue Jays will have their work cut out for them if they want to complete a sweep of the Tigers, as they face Justin Verlander in today's matinee finale of a three-game series in Detroit.
The Blue Jays will not have Edwin Encarnacion in their starting line-up. The slugger left Wednesday night's game in the ninth inning with tightness in his back.
The right-handed Verlander is coming off a 6-3 win over the hosting Seattle Mariners on Friday, giving up three runs on five hits and a walk over 7 2/3 innings. It was his longest outing since going eight frames on April 6, and his seven strikeouts against the Mariners was his highest total since also fanning seven on May 4 at Kansas City.
Verlander is 6-4 with a 3.99 earned run average on the year and 3-2 lifetime against the Blue Jays with a 4.02 ERA.
Toronto left-hander J.A. Happ will make his seventh start of the year and had won three straight outings before a 6-1 loss to the Royals on Friday. It was an odd game for Happ, who logged a season-high 7 2/3 innings, but also yielded a 2014-worst six runs on nine hits and two walks.
Happ, 31, dipped to 4-2 with a 4.10 ERA in nine total appearances on the season and will face the Tigers for the third time in his career and for the second time as a starter. He has held them to a run over 9 1/3 innings without a decision, striking out eight.
The red-hot Blue Jays are looking to sweep the Tigers for the first time since April 5-7, 2004 and won their fourth straight overall with last night's 8-2 win.
Melky Cabrera had three hits, one a homer, and three runs scored, while Jose Bautista also chipped in with three hits and a pair of RBI. Adam Lind drove in three runs in his club's 13th victory in 15 games.
R.A. Dickey (6-4) gave up both runs on seven hits and four walks in five-plus innings, while four relievers combined to yield zero hits the rest of the way.
That includes Aaron Loup, who took over in the sixth inning for Dickey after he had yielded a pair of walks around a single to load the bases with nobody out. However, Loup fanned J.D. Martinez and then induced weak pop flies in foul territory to both Rajai Davis and Ian Kinsler.
"Tonight, I guess was one of those lucky nights where you kind of pull a rabbit out of your hat," said Loup. "Usually you don't get out of situations like that."
Miguel Cabrera and Kinsler had solo homers to produce the two Detroit runs, while Rick Porcello (8-3) was charged with three runs on six hits over seven innings.
"We had some opportunities. We were unable to come up with the big hit tonight," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.
The Tigers have lost four straight.