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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, July 31st (All times Eastern)

Detroit Tigers (54-49) at Boston Red Sox (52-51), 7:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Detroit - Justin Verlander (11-6, 2.60) Boston - Josh Beckett (5-9, 4.57)

(Sports Network) - Ace right-hander Justin Verlander tries to restart a winning streak tonight when the Detroit Tigers visit Fenway Park for game two of a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox.

The American League's reigning Cy Young Award winner and most valuable player, Verlander had won three straight starts and allowed just three runs in 25 innings before dropping a 5-3 verdict at Cleveland on July 26.

The loss lowered his record to 11-6 on the season, a year after he was 24-5 in 34 starts with a stingy 2.40 earned run average in 251 innings.

The Indians touched him for five runs on nine hits in seven innings and raised the 2012 opposition batting average against him to .200.

Foes managed just a .192 average against Verlander in 2011.

Verlander is 3-3 in nine career meetings with the Red Sox.

Boston replies with Texas-born righty Josh Beckett, who's dropped two in a row since a 7-3 win at Tampa Bay on July 15.

He allowed three runs in six innings of the defeat of the Rays, but has since surrendered 16 hits and nine runs in 13 innings in losses to Toronto and Texas.

Beckett last faced the Tigers on May 31 in Boston and was tagged for 10 hits and four runs in seven innings of a 7-3 loss.

In eight career meetings with Detroit, he's 3-4 with a 3.86 ERA. Beckett also has been rumored to be on the trading block.

In Monday's opener, Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run home run and drove in three as the Red Sox won, 7-3.

Will Middlebrooks hit a two-run homer while Carl Crawford drove in a run and scored twice for the Red Sox, who have won three straight.

Clay Buchholz (9-3) went eight innings in the win, giving up three runs - two earned - on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts.

"(I) good control of my pitches and didn't really have to battle anybody too hard," Buchholz said.

Austin Jackson hit a solo home run while Miguel Cabrera and Alex Avila each drove in a run for the Tigers, who have lost four of five.

Max Scherzer (10-6) had won his previous four decisions, but lost after giving up five runs on seven hits with a pair of walks and nine strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings.

"I thought he was pretty good all night out there," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "They have some good hitters over there and got a few runs, but I thought he was pretty stingy."

The season series is even at 4-4 after the Tigers sweeping the initial three- game get-together in Detroit in April. In five games since, the Red Sox have won four times.

Boston won the series in 2011, five games to one.

07/31 10:31:26 ET

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