With an opportunity to add to their winning streak, the Detroit Tigers are also looking at a franchise first.
The Tigers will try to complete their first three-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays at Comerica Park while going for a fourth straight win Wednesday.
Detroit (25-23) followed a 6-3 victory Monday by rallying for a 7-6 win Tuesday. Alex Avila's second homer of the game, a two--run drive in the eighth inning, helped lift the Tigers after his solo homer in the sixth made it 6-5.
``In order to be a championship team you've got to be able to come from behind and win one-run games and withstand that kind of pressure,' said Avila, who's recorded two hits in four of his last five games following a 1-for-13 slump from May 10-16.
Miguel Cabrera hit a three-run homer, his ninth of the year and first in Detroit since April 10. The Tigers have scored 15 times during a three-game winning streak following a five-game slide in which they totaled seven runs.
Detroit's only sweep of the Rays came Sept. 4-6, 2009, in St. Petersburg, Fla., and the Tigers' Brad Penny (4-4, 4.45 ERA) will try to get his fourth win in five starts while perhaps making some history.
The right-hander yielded five runs over 21 2-3 innings in his first three May games en route to wins over the New York Yankees, Toronto and a fantastic outing against Kansas City on May 14, when he allowed five hits in eight innings of the Tigers' 3-0 win.
But Penny failed to keep his surge going Friday at Pittsburgh. In 5 2-3 innings, he was tagged for five runs and six hits with a season-high five walks in the 10-1 loss.
"Just too many walks and they got three infield hits off me,' said Penny, 2-4 with a 4.95 ERA in six career starts against Tampa Bay.
Ex-Tiger Johnny Damon is 0 for 6 and Evan Longoria 0 for 5 all-time against Penny.
Matt Joyce had three hits Tuesday for the Rays, including his eighth homer, to raise his AL-leading batting average to .367. Joyce, who hadn't hit higher than .252 in any of his three previous seasons, had 12 homers in 92 games as a rookie with the Tigers in 2008.
``It has been a tough week,' Joyce said after Tampa Bay's sixth loss in eight games. ``We've got to find ways to win these games.'
Andy Sonnanstine (0-1, 4.21) will make his fourth start in place of the injured Jeff Niemann (back) for Tampa Bay.
As a reliever, Sonnanstine had no record and a 2.19 ERA in six games this year. Since returning to the rotation on May 10, he's failed to go past the fifth inning while posting a 6.08 ERA.
Following a loss to Baltimore on May 15, Sonnanstine did not get a decision in the Rays' 5-3 setback to Florida on Friday. In five innings, the right-hander was reached for three runs - two on solo homers by Logan Morrison and Mike Stanton in the fourth - and seven hits.
Sonnanstine has served up five homers in 13 1-3 innings as a starter compared to one over 12 1-3 in relief.
He has not faced the Tigers since splitting two starts in 2008. The loss came at Detroit after he allowed five runs and five hits over 5 2-3 innings as the Rays (26-23) fell 6-4 on Sept. 26.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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