Tigers look to keep streak going vs. Rangers

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Tigers look to keep streak going vs. Rangers

The Detroit Tigers have been unstoppable since the All-Star break. They’ll try to take advantage of the slumping Texas Rangers once again in the third game of a four-game series in Detroit on Wednesday.

Detroit will carry a five-game winning streak into the contest, including the last two nights against the Rangers. On Tuesday, the teams waited out a 2-hour, 10-minute rain delay before the Tigers collected a 4-1 victory.

Robbie Grossman, who is having a career year in his ninth major league season, blasted his 14th homer, in the first inning. He had hit a solo homer that proved to be the winning run in the first game of the streak.

Despite a .229 batting average, Grossman is second on the team with 49 runs scored. His on-base percentage is a respectable .353 due to drawing 61 walks.

“He’s always been an on-base machine,” Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said. “The power has come as he’s gotten older and become a smarter hitter. But the quality of his at-bats doesn’t waver a ton.”

The Tigers’ pitching and defense have been sharp during the streak. They’ve allowed just five runs, four in an extra-innings victory over Minnesota on Saturday. Tarik Skubal limited the Rangers to four hits in six innings on Tuesday, and the trio of Kyle Funkhouser, Jose Cisnero and Gregory Soto combined for six strikeouts in the last three innings.

“You’ve got to win in a lot of different ways,” Hinch said. “Tarik set the tone. We played pretty good defense, came up with a big swing or two, and then our three big boys at the back end of the bullpen were excellent. That’s a good combination for us.”

Texas has lost seven straight, including five since the All-Star break. The Rangers have been outscored 55-8 during the slide.

Andy Ibanez’s RBI double ended a 27-inning scoreless streak on Tuesday. Rangers manager Chris Woodward said his team had better quality at-bats but it wasn’t enough.

“We have hitters’ meetings every day. … I know how hard it is to hit for a living,” he said. “I’m not here to say we should be scoring 10 runs a game; it’s really hard to hit in this league.”

Rangers right-hander Jordan Lyles (5-6, 5.20 ERA) will try to bounce back from a poor outing in which he surrendered four home runs in four innings to Toronto. Lyles had posted four consecutive quality starts prior to his outing on Friday, when Texas wound up losing 10-2.

“It’s a very good lineup, a very good team,” Lyles said. “They made me pay (for) a lot of mistakes.”

Lyles has allowed 21 home runs this season. Prior to Tuesday’s games, only teammate Mike Foltynewicz had given up more (28) in the majors.

“We can’t win too many games if we’re going to give up three or four homers in a game,” Woodward said.

Lyles has faced Detroit just twice in his career, including one start. He gave up a combined two runs in seven innings, with 11 strikeouts.

The Tigers will counter with rookie right-hander Matt Manning (1-3, 6.95), who will be recalled from Triple-A Toledo to make the start. Manning was optioned to the Mud Hens after his last start because the Tigers wanted a fresh reliever prior to the All-Star break.

Manning has made five starts, the most recent on July 9 when he gave up two runs on two hits in five innings at Minnesota.

–Field Level Media

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