The first-place Detroit Tigers will try to take control of their weekend set with the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon when the teams meet up at Rogers Centre.
Looking to bounce back from a hard-luck loss his last time out, Max Scherzer takes the hill for the Tigers on Saturday.
Scherzer wasn't his sharpest on Aug. 4 against the Yankees, allowing nine hits and three walks over seven innings, but he worked out of jams to exit having allowed just two earned runs, which wasn't enough to avoid his first loss since June 17.
The hard-throwing righty has been outstanding on the campaign as a whole, owning a 13-4 record with a 3.24 ERA while striking out 171 batters in 153 innings.
Scherzer is 4-0 in six career starts versus the Blue Jays with a minuscule 1.79 ERA.
Marcus Stroman will try to continue his impressive rookie campaign for the Blue Jays. The 23-year-old is 7-3 with a 3.49 ERA with 68 strikeouts in 77 1/3 innings.
Prior to his last start, Stroman had won three straight games, allowing just one earned run over 21 innings, but his hot streak came to an end in an Aug. 3 loss to Houston by allowing five earned runs in three innings.
"I just didn't have my stuff," Stroman said. "I had trouble putting guys away. It was just a tough one, but I'm not discouraged."
The 2012 first round pick out of Duke has pitched especially well at home, going 5-1 with a 2.82 ERA at Rodgers Centre.
The Tigers came from behind on Friday night to claim the first game of the series, scoring three runs in the top of the ninth to capture a 5-4 win.
With one on and one out, Nick Castellanos tied the game when he belted a two- run homer off of Casey Janssen, and Eugenio Suarez, the very next batter, gave Detroit the lead with a solo shot.
"That was a good inning for us," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "I think everyone thoroughly enjoyed it."
After Anibal Sanchez struggled through 4 2/3 innings (10 H, 4 ER) before leaving with a pectoral strain, the Tigers' bullpen picked up the slack by pitching 4 1/3 scoreless innings, with Al Albuquerque (3-1) earning the win. Joe Nathan loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth but escaped with his 24th save.
Rajai Davis and Ian Kinsler combined for five hits at the top of the order for Detroit, which is 2 1/2 games ahead of Kansas City for the AL Central lead.
Janssen (3-1) was saddled with the loss and the blown save, spoiling a solid start by R.A. Dickey (6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 6 K) in the process.
The Blue Jays held a 4-0 lead after two innings, but the bats went silent for the rest of the night. Dioner Navarro went 3-for-5 and Jose Bautista (2-for-4) had his 69th RBI.
Toronto is 3-1 against the Tigers this season.