While Danny Salazar turned in arguably the worst start of his career his previous time out, he was at his best against the Detroit Tigers last week.
The visiting Cleveland Indians could surely use another gem as they try to keep pace in the postseason chase Saturday night against the Tigers, who just climbed into first place in the AL Central.Detroit (81-66) has won four of five after taking Friday's series opener 7-2. J.D. Martinez went 2 for 4 with a homer and career high-tying four RBIs as the Tigers moved one-half game ahead of Kansas City for the division lead.Detroit has taken five of six from Cleveland thanks to three homers and eight RBIs from Martinez."He's certainly been a huge find for Detroit," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He started the season in Triple-A, and now he's hitting fifth for them. Having him makes getting through Miggy (Cabrera) and Victor (Martinez) a whole lot harder, and that's huge for them."Ryan Raburn homered against his former team Friday but the Indians were otherwise held in check. Cleveland went 0 for 2 with runners in scoring position, dropping to 8-3 in its last 11 on the road.The Indians remain a few games back in the wild-card hunt but likely can't afford to fall much farther behind. They now turn to Salazar (6-7, 4.19 ERA), who extended his scoreless innings streak to 21 with four sharp innings against the Angels before giving up six runs -- a career high -- in the fifth in Monday's 12-3 defeat.Salazar, in contrast, had everything working in last Wednesday's 7-0 win over Detroit. The right-hander struck out nine in his first complete game, becoming the first Indians pitcher to shut out Detroit since Jaret Wright on June 1, 1998."Salazar just pitched well," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "He was throwing mid-to-upper 90s the entire game. Overpowered us at times. I think this is just one of those nights that we tip our caps to him."Salazar improved to 1-1 with a 2.96 ERA in four career starts in the series. While he's allowed a combined nine runs over 12 1/3 innings in two of those outings, he's thrown 15 scoreless innings in the other two. Miguel Cabrera is 5 for 10 with a homer and a double in their matchups, but Torii Hunter is 3 for 14.Tigers rookie Kyle Lobstein (1-0, 2.78) takes the mound looking to build on his first big league win. The left-hander, who's limited opponents to a .206 average over three starts, threw 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball to beat San Francisco 6-1 on Sunday."This isn't a guy who is going to overpower you, but there are guys in this league who throw 82 and beat teams," catcher Alex Avila said. "He's got a lot of deception, he has a lot of movement and he's got four pitches that he can throw for strikes."When you can mix things up like that ... even a 90-mph fastball looks like 94."Lobstein allowed two runs and struck out a season-high 10 over 5 1/3 innings at Cleveland in his previous start last Tuesday.Cleveland's Carlos Santana is batting .167 against the Tigers this year, going 2 for 26 at Comerica Park.