Tigers try to stay focused in series with Marlins

7:02 AM, Sep 28, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - The AL Central-champion Detroit Tigers will be playing on the road to start the postseason next week, but still have a series to continue against the Miami Marlins.

The Tigers suffered a 3-2 loss to the Marlins in Friday's series opener and will start the playoffs away from Comerica Park. Miami scored three runs in the third inning off Tigers starter Jose Alvarez, who lasted 2 2/3 innings and made the start so Rick Porcello could rest. Porcello, though, replaced Alvarez and hurled 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

Austin Jackson and Jhonny Peralta had an RBI apiece, while Miguel Cabrera and Alex Avila each finished with two hits for the Tigers, who just captured their third straight division title and lost for the third time in five tries.

"We tried to win that game tonight," Detroit manager Jim Leyland remarked. "If you noticed, we were pinch-hitting a lot of people. We were making pitching changes. But I just wanted to get a few people off their feet. I think that's more important."

Peralta made his return from a 50-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy and was in left field. Peralta was the club's starting shortstop before the penalty was levied and his absence forced the Tigers to make a trade for infielder Jose Iglesias.

Detroit is 2-2 on a six-game road trip and will send former Marlin Anibal Sanchez to the mound Saturday. Sanchez spent his first six-plus years with the Marlins and is 14-8 in 28 starts this season with a 2.64 earned run average. Sanchez, who came over via trade with Miami in 2012, was 7-0 over his previous 11 starts until losing to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. He was touched for four runs and eight hits in five innings.

The right-handed Sanchez has never faced his former club.

Miami is trying to end the season on a positive note and won for the fourth time in six tries on Friday night. Tom Koehler pitched well and picked up the win with 5 1/3 innings of two-run ball. Steve Cishek worked around a hit in the ninth for his 34th save and added to his club record of 29 straight successful saves.

Giancarlo Stanton cleared the bases with a three-run double in the third inning for the Marlins.

"He was fortunate enough to come up with the bases loaded and hit that ball down the line," Miami manager Mike Redmond said of Stanton. "The hit was big to score the runs, but Yelich was running hard from the start."

Nathan Eovaldi gets the nod for the Marlins Saturday and has won two of his past three decisions, including Monday's 4-0 win over Philadelphia in which he pitched 7 2/3 shutout innings. The effort pushed Eovaldi's record to 4-6 in 17 starts with a 3.50 earned run average and the right-hander has never faced the Tigers. Eovaldi has a 2-4 record in eight home assignments.

The Tigers and Marlins are meeting for the first time since 2004, when Detroit won two of three matchups in the Motor City. The Marlins took two of three meetings with Detroit at home back in 2002.

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