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Tigers need Verlander to get back on track quickly

Sep 24, 2006 - 2:37 PM Detroit (93-62) at Kansas City (58-96) 2:10 pm EDT

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Ticker) -- The Detroit Tigers are starting to play better, but Justin Verlander has yet to join in on the fun.

Verlander wants to avoid his first career three-game losing streak Sunday when the Tigers seek to sweep the lowly Kansas City Royals.

One of the most impressive members of a superb rookie class, Verlander (16-9, 3.63 ERA) leads the Tigers in ERA and is one victory behind Kenny Rogers for the team lead.

However, the 23-year-old righthander is 0-2 with a 12.00 ERA in his last two starts. He has surrendered six runs in each of those outings after allowing one run in 14 innings over his previous two starts.

Verlander will try to help the Tigers to their seventh win in 10 games. They pounded out a 15-4 victory on Saturday behind a 10-run first inning and a five-run fourth. Curtis Granderson homered and drove in four runs and Carlos Guillen added three RBI for Detroit, which leads Minnesota by 1 1/2 games in the American League Central Division.

In the midst of a five-game losing streak, Kansas City gives the ball to Runelvys Hernandez (6-9, 6.40), who surrendered four runs in 4 2/3 innings in last Sunday's eventual 10-5 defeat vs. Seattle.

The hefty righthander is 4-2 with a 3.12 ERA against the Tigers in his career, matching his most victories against any opponent.

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