The Detroit Tigers aren't winning as many games as they would like with David Price on the mound. It's a good thing Kyle Lobstein is in the rotation to back him up.
The Tigers will go for a third straight win with the rookie on the mound Sunday night while also trying to dodge another painful sweep at the hands of the visiting San Francisco Giants.
With Saturday's 5-4 loss, the Tigers (77-65) dropped to 3-4 in games started by Price. With Lobstein starting, the club is 2-0.
Lobstein (0-0, 3.18 ERA) will make his fourth appearance and third start since debuting in long relief on Aug. 23. He's still looking for his first victory, but the left-hander has posted a 2.38 ERA as a starter and is recording outs in rather unpredictable fashion. The 25-year-old didn't strike out a batter in his first start, then fanned 10 while allowing two runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings of Tuesday's 4-2 win in Cleveland.
No matter how the outs come, confidence is tagging along.
"Right now I actually feel more comfortable, just because I have gotten a couple of starts," Lobstein told MLB's official website. "I feel like I'm starting to settle in a little bit."
Doing so again will require slowing Buster Posey and Hunter Pence, who continued to lead the San Francisco offense Saturday. Posey went 3 for 3 with his 20th home run and 11th multihit game in his last 15. He's batting .508 with seven home runs and 21 RBIs in that time and is a .391 hitter in six games against Detroit, including the postseason.
"It was a matter of time," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He hasn't changed anything. The talent has just surfaced again."
Pence went 2 for 4 and is batting .384 on a 18-game hitting streak, his longest since going 23 games with Houston in 2011.
The Giants (78-64) have now won nine of 11 and are batting .340 in their last 10 with 7.5 runs per game. They've also won eight of nine against the Tigers, including six straight dating to the start of the 2012 World Series.
While San Francisco remains in command of its NL wild-card position, Detroit is still chasing.
The loss was Detroit's third in four games, and it came despite plenty of power from the middle of the order. Victor Martinez reached 30 home runs for the first time in his career and Miguel Cabrera homered twice. The two-time defending AL MVP is batting .500 with four home runs and six RBIs in six September games. Martinez is batting .431 with six home runs and 14 RBIs over his last 15 contests.
Detroit will try to get to Tim Hudson, which hasn't been such a difficult task in recent months.
Back on June 12, when Hudson (9-9, 3.08) won his seventh game in 13 starts, it certainly didn't look like it would take until September for him to reach 10 wins. He's giving the feat a third shot after getting roughed up in Monday's 10-9 loss in Colorado. The veteran didn't get stuck with the decision but allowed six runs - five earned - and seven hits in five-plus innings.
After a 7-2 start with a 1.81 ERA through June 12, Hudson has gone 2-7 with a 4.43 ERA. He's been bad all year against the AL, going 1-3 with a 6.65 ERA.
The right-hander hasn't faced Detroit in over a decade but is 9-2 with a 3.07 ERA in 14 starts, all of which came in his time in Oakland. Cabrera is 12 for 28 against him.
The Tigers could have catcher Alex Avila back Sunday after missing four games because of a concussion.