Tigers try for series win over Reds
(Sports Network) - Rookie Drew Smyly can clinch the Detroit Tigers' fifth straight interleague series win over the Cincinnati Reds tonight when they wrap up a three-game set at Great American Ball Park.
The Reds won all three games when the teams met in their initial interleague encounter from June 26-28, 1998 - getting victories of 4-3, 6-5 and 5-2 from pitchers Pete Harnisch, Gabe White and Steve Parris.
Detroit has rebounded to win two of three games in each of the four head-to- head series since, including 1999 and 2001 in Cincinnati and 2000 and 2006 at Comerica Park.
The Reds won this season's opener on Friday night before Detroit rallied to even things in game two, when Prince Fielder's go-ahead RBI single in the eighth provided the difference in a 3-2 triumph.
Fielder also homered in only the Tigers' fourth win in 12 games.
Starter Justin Verlander avoided his fourth consecutive loss, laboring all afternoon with 127 pitches in six innings. He gave up two runs on six hits and three walks with nine strikeouts.
Brayan Villarreal (2-1) pitched a scoreless inning for the win and Jose Valverde worked the ninth for his 11th save.
Todd Frazier had a two-run single for the Reds, who have lost four of six. Sean Marshall (1-3) allowed Fielder's eighth-inning single and took the loss.
Meanwhile, Smyly, who'll turn 23 on Wednesday, was a second-round pick in 2010 and debuted this spring on April 12 with a four-inning stint against the Tampa Bay Rays.
He earned his first decision, a win, on April 28 against the New York Yankees and has split four verdicts overall, including a 4-2 loss to Cleveland in his most recent start on June 5.
In that outing, Smyly allowed four runs on six hits in six innings while walking two and striking out five.
He's 2-0 in six road starts with a 3.44 earned run average and has permitted an opposing batting average of .234 in 34 innings.
Cincinnati starter Homer Bailey tries to get back on the winning side after his three-start win streak was ended in his last outing.
The Texas-born righty began the season at 1-3 through his initial seven starts before defeating the Yankees, Atlanta and Pittsburgh between May 19 and 29 while allowing 15 hits and six runs in 21 1/3 innings.
His successful stretch ended on June 5 against the Pirates, who touched him for six runs on eight hits in just three innings of Pittsburgh's 8-4 victory.
Bailey, who is 1-2 in five home starts this season, has never faced the Tigers.