. UP NEXT
What's new: The Tigers, under new manager Brad Ausmus, are at the top of the AL Central, as expected. They went into play Wednesday leading the AL in hitting, with three of the top 10 in Victor Martinez, Miguel Cabrera and offseason addition Ian Kinsler, and rank in the top five in most offensive categories. Though their starting pitching hasn't been as dominant as before, it's still pretty good, with Rick Porcello, who starts Sunday, emerging as a force. Closer Joe Nathan has struggled at times. Defense has been an issue.
Key stat: The Rays have scored four or fewer runs in their past 18 games vs. the Tigers, going 6-12.
Connections: Rays OF Matt Joyce is a former Tiger.
Series history: Tigers lead 60-56 overall, including 14-6 past three seasons, and 31-26 in Detroit.
Marc Topkin, Times staff writer