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First-place Guardians welcome last-place Tigers in for twin bill

Aug 14, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Cleveland Guardians shortstop Amed Rosario (1) celebrates in the dugout after scoring a run against the Toronto Blue Jays during the ninth inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Guardians have two chances to fatten their lead in the American League Central against the division’s last-place club.

Cleveland, which has won seven of its last eight games, will host a doubleheader against the floundering Detroit Tigers on Monday. The Tigers have dropped their last seven games, including three home games against the Guardians last week.

After their six-game winning streak was halted on Saturday, the Guardians bounced back with a 7-2 win at Toronto on Sunday.

Amed Rosario sparked the victory with three hits, including a homer. He also walked once and stole a base while scoring three runs and driving in a pair.

“I have so much respect for how he approaches the game every day,” manager Terry Francona said. “It’s a big part of what we’re doing.”

Austin Hedges drove in two runs as Cleveland moved eight games above .500, matching a season high.

Aaron Civale (2-5, 6.05 ERA) will start the opener for Cleveland. Civale has always given the Tigers fits — he’s 7-0 with a 2.11 ERA in nine career starts against them.

Civale made his first start against anybody since July 13 on Wednesday at Detroit. He lasted four innings, giving up two runs and three hits. He had been on the injured list with a wrist injury.

“The first three innings, he was really good. Kind of vintage Civale,” Francona said. “In the fourth, I don’t know if he was tiring. Some things happened, there was some traffic, but he got through it. I thought it was really encouraging.”

Right-hander Xzavion Curry will make his major league debut for the Guardians in the nightcap. Curry has spent the bulk of the season in Double A. He has made six starts for Triple-A Columbus, going 3-1 with a 3.09 ERA.

Right-handers Drew Hutchison (1-6, 4.45 ERA) and Bryan Garcia (0-0, 2.35 ERA) will be the starting pitchers for the Tigers. Garcia will be recalled from Triple-A Toledo as the 27th man.

Hutchison faced the Guardians on Wednesday and gave up three runs and eight hits in five innings while taking the loss. He had a pair of five-inning starts against them last month, collecting his lone victory of the season and getting a no-decision in the other.

Hutchison is 1-2 with a 6.59 ERA in seven lifetime appearances — six them starts — against Cleveland.

Garcia will be making his third MLB start this season. In his last major league outing, Garcia held Tampa Bay scoreless for four innings with one hit but issued six walks.

He’s 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA in 32 appearances with the Mud Hens, including four starts.

The Tigers have fallen 30 games below .500. They were swept by the Chicago White Sox over the weekend, including a 5-3 outcome on Sunday.

They have continued to strike out at an alarming rate without showing any patience at the plate. Detroit’s batters whiffed 14 times on Sunday without drawing a walk.

“We’ve got to look ourselves in the mirror,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “This is reality. This is where we’re at. We’re going to keep fighting, pushing. These guys are going to get some at-bats, but contact is your friend. You got to make contact. This week, certainly in the middle of all this mess, has illustrated exactly where the adjustments need to come from.”

–Field Level Media