MLB

Tigers-Indians Preview

With tremendous production putting the Detroit Tigers on the verge of matching their best start in 30 years, the Cleveland Indians don't appear likely to slow them down.

The Tigers look to remain perfect by flexing their offensive muscle while continuing their dominance of the Indians on Sunday.

Detroit (5-0) is off to its best start since winning its first six in 1985, powering its way toward matching that mark by hitting .364 with five homers and 7.8 runs per game.

The Tigers pounded out 14 hits in Saturday's 9-6 win at Cleveland, a day after opening the three-game set with 18 hits in an 8-4 victory.

Ian Kinsler and Miguel Cabrera had four hits apiece and combined for three RBIs. Kinsler's second put Detroit ahead for good and sparked a four-run ninth.

Manager Brad Ausmus feels hitting is contagious.

"Our hitters feed off each other and like to do well," Ausmus said. "It's kind of a competition between them for who has the best game every day.

"It's not easy to win games here; this is the major leagues."

That doesn't seem to present much of a problem for the Tigers, who have won 17 of their last 22 visits to Progressive Field by hitting .304 with 25 homers and 6.7 runs per game. They've also batted .339 with 15 homers while winning nine of 10 overall matchups.

Kinsler is batting .400 (24 for 60) while getting at least one hit in each of his last 12 games at Cleveland, while Cabrera owns a .537 average with nine RBIs and 10 runs during his nine-game hitting streak there.

The first baseman is a .352 career hitter against the AL Central rivals.

Rookie Kyle Lobstein is scheduled to take the mound in place of Justin Verlander, who is on the disabled list with a strained right triceps. Lobstein went 1-2 with a 4.35 ERA in seven games - six starts - last year, and turned in one of his best performances at Cleveland on Sept. 2.

He struck out a career-high 10 and yielded two runs in 5 1-3 innings while not getting a decision in a 4-2 win. However, he didn't fare as well at home Sept. 13, surrendering four runs in five innings of a 5-4 win.

"Everything was working that day for me," Lobstein told MLB's official website of his performance Sept. 2. "What I can take from that is how I fared individually against certain hitters. Obviously I know they're pretty left-handed-hitter heavy in that lineup, so I think that should play well for me, being a lefty."

He was particularly effective against Carlos Santana, Michael Bourn and Yan Gomes, who were a combined 3 for 15 with seven strikeouts.

The Indians (2-3) are looking for TJ House to help avoid a sweep in his 2015 debut.

The only left-hander in Cleveland's rotation is beginning what he hopes to be his first full season as a starter with his first appearance against Detroit. He went 5-3 with a 3.35 ERA in 19 games in 2014, including 18 starts, but was 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA over his final five starts.

House, though, left a lot to be desired in his last three outings during spring training, surrendering 12 runs in 14 innings.

"This spring it looks a little glaring, that one inning is kind of getting to me in the box scores," House said.

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