Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees have been teeing off on Detroit Tigers pitchers, though that could change against Anibal Sanchez.
Sanchez goes for the longest shutout streak of his career while trying to help the Tigers salvage a win in Sunday's finale of this three-game series with the Yankees.
New York (38-30) has won 11 of 12 at home and is hitting .371 with 10 homers and 32 runs on a four-game win streak, including eight home runs among 31 hits in this series.
Rodriguez had a three-run homer and drove in a season-high five runs in a 14-3 win over Detroit (34-34) on Saturday after launching a solo shot for his 3,000th career hit in a 7-2 series-opening victory a night earlier.
"I just think he's thriving on being back in the game, something that was taken away," manager Joe Girardi said, referring to A-Rod's season-long drug suspension last year.
Rodriguez and the Yankees, however, are in for a stiff test against Sanchez (5-7, 4.65 ERA), who has put together 20 2-3 consecutive scoreless innings over his previous three starts - winning the last two. He had a personal-best 23 straight innings without allowing a run as a rookie with the Marlins in 2006.
The right-hander is coming off his best performance of the season after tossing a two-hitter in a 6-0 win over Cincinnati on Monday.
"Location I think was the most important thing," Sanchez told MLB's official website of getting his first complete game in two years. "I was able to mix the pitches. (Catcher James) McCann called a great game. I give a lot of credit to him."
Sanchez held the Yankees to one run and one hit with eight strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings while not factoring into the decision in a 2-1 loss April 23. He was credited with a 9-3 victory in his last appearance in the Bronx on Aug. 10, 2013, fanning eight and allowing two runs in seven innings.
The Tigers haven't won since last turning to Sanchez, losing four in a row thanks in large part to batting .197 while the starting pitchers have posted an 8.27 ERA.
Their latest effort was enough for manager Brad Ausmus to talk to the team.
"We got our butts whooped. Not much to it," Ausmus said. "You're going to have a couple of games like this each season."
Victor Martinez is 1 for 16 against New York this year, including 1 for 6 in this series after missing a month with left knee inflammation. The designated hitter has a .214 season average with one homer and 15 RBIs after he was a Triple Crown threat in 2014, hitting .335 with 32 home runs and 103 RBIs.
The Yankees will hand the ball to Masahiro Tanaka (4-2, 2.49), who started opposite Sanchez in his only meeting with the Tigers on April 23. He yielded one run and three hits in 6 2-3 innings but went on the disabled list with a strained forearm shortly thereafter.
The right-hander is 2-1 with a 1.71 ERA in three starts since returning from his five-week layoff. Tanaka was the hard-luck loser Monday, allowing two runs and scattering nine hits in seven innings of a 2-1 defeat at Miami.
Brett Gardner is 9 for 16 with two homers and five RBIs in three games. He went 3 for 6 - coming a homer shy of the cycle - while scoring twice Saturday, but he's 1 for 6 versus Sanchez.