for this game

Cole, Verlander clash in Detroit

Jun 30, 2015 - 2:40 PM ( - Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound opposite Justin Verlander on Tuesday night when the Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers kick off a three-game interleague series at Comerica Park.

Cole tops the majors with 11 wins and also sits among the league leaders with a 2.16 ERA. However, he is coming off his worst outing of the season against Cincinnati last week, as he lasted just 4 2/3 innings and gave up five runs on eight hits and three walks. It marked the first time since June of 2014 that Cole failed to complete five innings, and it was his first time allowing more than three runs in a start since Sept. 7.

"I didn't bring out a good delivery. Stuff was a little flat. Didn't make pitches when I needed to make pitches in the first," said Cole, who saw his six-game winning streak come to a halt. "Obviously it's frustrating that I couldn't go deeper into the game."

Cole noted that poor mechanics led to him throwing across his body, resulting in flat pitches. Still, he has been a road warrior all season, posting a 6-1 record with a 1.71 ERA across 10 road starts, including three straight wins.

Verlander missed his last scheduled start due to a stiff back, but then threw a bullpen session on Saturday without any issues. He also missed the first 2 1/2 months of the season with a triceps strain and, like Cole, enters this start with something to prove.

In his only two starts this season, Verlander has resembled anything but the 2011 AL Cy Young Award winner. Against the New York Yankees on June 19, he was tagged for six runs on 10 hits (including three home runs) over 6 2/3 innings. The last time he allowed three homers in a start was in June of 2012 against Tampa Bay.

Still, Verlander has held the current hitters in Pittsburgh's lineup to a collective .203 batting average. Pirates star center fielder Andrew McCutchen is hitting just .154 lifetime off Verlander.

Detroit (39-36) is looking to build on back-to-back series victories over division foes Chicago and Cleveland. The Tigers are coming off Sunday's dramatic 5-4 triumph over the White Sox after winning by the same score a day earlier.

Sunday's outcome ended the team's 0-30 streak when trailing after seven innings. The Tigers erupted for four runs in the eight, sparked by Victor Martinez's three-run double that tied the score. James McCann then ended it an inning later with a walk-off home run.

"Those are the swings that 30, 40 years from now, I'll be able to smile about," McCann said. "I won't remember the tough at-bats; I'll remember those ones."

Pittsburgh entered the week nine games behind St. Louis in the National League Central despite owning the league's second-best record (42-33). Like Detroit, the Pirates had the day off Monday, which followed a 2-1 home loss to Atlanta a day earlier. They won the first two games of that series but were unable to pull off the sweep as the offense did not score until Jordy Mercer's RBI double in the ninth, which proved too little, too late.

The Pirates are 10 games above .500 when playing at home but are just 18-19 on the road. This is the team's only road series in a span of 19 games leading into the All-Star break, which takes place at their own PNC Park.

The Tigers took two of three from the Pirates when these teams met up in the Motor City back in April.