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DET@TEX: Verlander gives up just one run over seven

After securing their first road series win in a month -- and just the second since the All-Star break -- the Tigers are back in Detroit with their ace on the hill. It may be just the momentum the preseason American League Central favorites need heading into a pivotal homestand.

Detroit, which is coming off taking two of three from the Twins in Minnesota, continues to chase the first-place White Sox in the AL Central. The Tigers are now home for their next nine games, beginning with Friday's series opener against the Orioles at Comerica Park, where they're 33-23.

The Tigers were off on Thursday -- one of two off-days in a five-day span -- while the Orioles wrapped up their series against the Red Sox with a 6-3 loss in Baltimore. The Orioles, fighting for the team's first playoff berth since 1997, are 32-25 on the road this year, including 18-13 against the AL Central.

Reigning AL Cy Young Award and AL MVP Award winner Justin Verlander gets the ball for Detroit, with the benefit of five days' rest. He last faced the Orioles on July 15, when he tossed eight shutout innings in Baltimore.

Verlander also had a strong outing in his last start, scattering one run and seven hits over seven innings against the Rangers' powerful lineup, but he was matched by Derek Holland in the 2-1 loss that fell on the bullpen.

"I was able to make my pitches when I needed to and kept us in the ballgame," Verlander said after the loss. "It's tough that we didn't win this one, but we battled."

It'll be right-hander Tommy Hunter on the mound for Baltimore, which trails New York in the AL East but figures to be a serious contender in the AL Wild Card race.

Hunter has not won a ballgame since July 18, but he has allowed five earned runs over his last two starts (10 2/3 innings). In his last outing, he scattered eight hits over five frames, taking a no-decision against the Royals.

Hunter struggled with deep counts in what amounted to his shortest outing since May 28, but the bullpen held on for the victory.

"I kept them in there," Hunter said, "and the bullpen pretty much shut them down."

Tigers: Cabrera cruising
• After collecting two RBIs on Tuesday night to become the first player in the Majors to eclipse the 100-RBI mark this season and the third in Tigers history to amass 100 RBIs in five straight seasons, Miguel Cabrera kept piling it on Wednesday.

Cabrera went 2-for-5 and hit his 30th home run of the season in the series finale against the Twins, adding two more RBIs to his season total. He's hitting .349 (122-for-350) with 27 doubles, 23 home runs and 81 RBIs over his last 88 games.

"I marvel at him all the time," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "I probably don't brag on him as much as I should. This guy's just -- I don't really know what kind of adjectives to describe him. He's so talented, so gifted, so strong."

• Anibal Sanchez was scheduled to start in Sunday's game against the Orioles, but Leyland said he will move Doug Fister up to make that start, and Sanchez's next outing will come Wednesday against the Blue Jays.

Orioles: Betemit lands on DL
• Infielder Wilson Betemit was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Thursday because of a bone bruise and a partial cartilage tear in his right wrist.

Baltimore recalled Joe Mahoney from Triple-A Norfolk to fill Betemit's place on the active roster. Mahoney was hitting .263 with nine homers and 53 RBIs in 118 games for Norfolk, though his status with the team is day to day, according to Orioles manager Buck Showalter.

"We'll see what our needs are after tonight, and after tomorrow, and after the next day," Showalter said. "Joe has done well down there, though."

Since he has not played since Saturday, Betemit will be eligible to be activated from the DL on Aug. 27

• The Orioles originally planned to start Steve Johnson in Saturday's game, hoping they wouldn't need to use him as a long reliever before then. But he pitched two innings against Boston on Thursday, possibly jeopardizing his status as a starter.

"We hope to get through the night without using Steve, but if we have to, we're prepared, because of the way we set up our rotation down below to cover it," Showalter said.

Worth noting
• The Orioles are 1-2 against the Tigers this year, and were outscored 17-10 in a three-game homestand from July 13-15.

• Cabrera and Prince Fielder will both certainly appreciate the Tigers' two off-days in a five-day span, having both played all 118 of Detroit's games this season. Comments