(SportsNetwork.com) - After splitting the first two tests of this weekend's four-game set, the Tampa Bay Rays and Detroit Tigers will settle their differences once again on Saturday at Comerica Park.
Detroit rolled to an 8-1 victory in Thursday's opener, but Tampa Bay got some revenge on Friday with a 6-3 triumph.
The top of the order really got things going for the Rays, as Desmond Jennings and Ben Zobrist combined to go 5-for-10 with two RBI and three runs scored. Evan Longoria, batting fourth, went 2-for-2 with a home run and a pair of walks as well.
Alex Cobb did not have his best stuff, but still earned the win, pitching five innings and allowing three runs on five hits. Brad Boxberger, Joel Peralta and Jake McGee combined to throw four innings of scoreless relief, with McGee earning his fourth save in the process.
The Rays have suddenly caught fire, with wins in six of their last seven games.
Drew Smyly took the loss for Detroit. He lasted a bit longer than Cobb (5 1/3 innings), but let up five runs on seven hits to fall to 4-8 on the season.
As far as offense goes, the Tigers did not get much, with only six hits as a team. J.D. Martinez had a pair of those hits, including a double in the fourth inning.
Friday's loss ended a four-game winning streak for the Tigers.
Tampa Bay will turn to young right-hander Chris Archer in Saturday's matchup.
Archer, who burst onto the scene a year ago when he went 9-7 and posted an ERA of 3.22 in 23 starts, has carried over that success this season. In 17 starts he has posted a record of 4-5, but his ERA sits at 3.24, the lowest among Tampa Bay starters, including ace David Price.
He last stepped on the mound last Monday against the Yankees, when he tossed seven innings of two-run ball, allowing five hits and striking out four batters. Archer has pitched across seven innings in each of his last two starts after doing so only twice in his previous 15 outings on the campaign.
Archer has pitched against Detroit once prior to Saturday. In that outing he allowed three runs on five hits in five innings. Despite that effort, the Rays did win the game 4-3, although Archer did not factor in the decision.
As Archer toes the rubber for Tampa Bay, Detroit will counter with Anibal Sanchez.
Although he may not have the win totals of Rick Porcello (11-4) and Max Scherzer (10-3), Sanchez has still been a dominant force in the Tigers' rotation. The right-hander leads Detroit starters in ERA (2.63), WHIP (0.976) and hits per nine innings (6.5). Unfortunately, those numbers have not equated to an inflated win total, with Sanchez's record at 5-2.
Sanchez had won three straight starts before facing Oakland last Monday. In that contest he pitched well enough, allowing three runs, two of which were earned, over seven innings, but he had to settle for a no decision, despite Tampa Bay pulling out a 5-4 victory.
In his career Sanchez has pitched against Tampa Bay five times. In that time he has gone 2-1 with a 4.05 ERA across 33 1/3 total innings.
The Tigers and Rays split six meetings a season ago.