Detroit snapped a five-game losing streak on Sunday, as Rick Porcello tossed eight scoreless innings and Jhonny Peralta ripped a solo home run, helping the Tigers salvage the finale of their three-game interleague set with the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 2-0 win at PNC Park.
Porcello (4-2) surrendered just one hit and struck out three with two walks for the Tigers, who had won seven in a row prior to the most recent slide. He also had a hit while Casper Wells brought in the other run for the victors.
The Tigers have now recorded at least one extra-base hit in all 46 games this season. Since 1919, the club record to open the season is 51, set by the 1986 team.
Getting the call for the Tigers tonight will be lefty Phil Coke, who is 1-5 on the year with a 3.88 earned run average, but is winless in his last six starts. Coke did not get a decision on Wednesday in Boston, but was terrific, as he scattered three hits over seven scoreless innings of his team's 1-0 loss.
"It seemed like everything [was working]," said Coke. "My fastballs were good. My sinker, my changeup and my slider were all there."
This will be Coke's first-ever start against the Rays, but he has faced them 14 times out of the bullpen and has pitched to a 1.29 ERA in those outings.
Tampa, meanwhile, also stopped a losing streak on Sunday, as James Shields' gem in Florida propelled his club to a 4-0 win. Shields (5-2) tossed a three- hit shutout and struck out a career high 13 to help the Rays stop a three-game skid.
"Oh yeah, I wanted to finish this one real bad. Any time you get to the ninth inning, you want to finish it," said Shields, who already has three complete games this season. "The guys really picked me up out there...I just found out I had 13 strikeouts, which is a career high, so that's also real good."
Shields, Matt Joyce, Casey Kotchman and Elliot Johnson each knocked in a run for the Rays, who have just two wins in their last six games.
Tonight, the Rays turn to rookie right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, who has been masterful on the road in his young career, posting a 6-0 mark with a 3.75 ERA in 11 games, seven of which have been starts.
The 24-year-old Hellickson won his fourth straight start on Wednesday in Toronto, as he beat the Toronto Blue Jays, holding them to four runs (three earned) and five hits in 5 2/3 innings to run his record to 5-2 to go along with a 3.18 ERA.
Hellickson beat the Tigers last season in the only other time he faced them, yielding three hits over seven scoreless innings.
Tampa won six of its seven matchups with the Tigers a year ago.
WEATHER NOTE: The forecast for Michigan is basically the same all week: mild with a chance of showers. There is rain in the area, but it does not look severe and the Tigers and Rays should start on time with no delays.