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American League Preview from The Sports Network

Friday, July 27th (All times eastern)

Detroit Tigers (53-46) at Toronto Blue Jays (48-49), 7:07 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Detroit - Rick Porcello (7-5, 4.40) Toronto - Carlos Villanueva (5-0, 2.86)

(Sports Network) - The Detroit Tigers will resume a tough nine-game road trip when they head north of the border for the opener of a three-game set against the unbeaten Carlos Villanueva and the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Tigers lost the rubber game of a three-game test in Cleveland on Thursday and fell one-half game behind the Chicago White Sox in the hotly contested American League Central.

The Indians' Carlos Santana and Travis Hafner hit back-to-back homers in a four-run seventh, and Asdrubal Cabrera singled home the go-ahead run as Cleveland rallied for a 5-3 victory over Detroit.

Tigers ace Justin Verlander (11-6) allowed five earned runs for only the second time this year in a place where he usually struggles. In seven innings, he gave up nine hits and two walks while striking out only four -- only the fourth time in 21 outings he's fanned that few. In 17 games at Progressive Field, Verlander is 6-10 with a 5.83 ERA.

"It was a horrible execution of pitches. I didn't hit my spots at all," Verlander admitted.

Rick Porcello, a bit of a road warrior, will try to right things for the Tigers on Friday. The veteran right-hander has won three straight starts away from the Motor City and has compiled an excellent 2.50 ERA in those games.

He'll be facing a Blue Jays team which salvaged the finale of a three-game set against red-hot Oakland on Thursday when Travis Snider's safety squeeze led to two runs and proved to be the turning point as Toronto snapped the A's seven- game winning streak with a 10-4 win.

Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion picked up two hits in that one, including his 27th home run -- a new career high.

Kelly Johnson homered and knocked in two runs for the Jays, who had been outscored 23-2 over the first two games in the series.

Porcello is coming off an impressive eight-plus inning, one-run performance in a 7-1 victory over the White Sox last Sunday, an outing in which he outperformed Chicago All-Star Chris Sale and nearly completed his first game.

"Personally, you want to go the distance, that's a big thing for a pitcher, and that's a hard thing to do," Porcello told the Tigers' website. "To be able to throw a complete game would be nice, but we got the win."

Villanueva (5-0) will oppose Porcello and the Blue Jays have won all four games he's started since inserting him into the rotation due to injuries. The right-hander is also coming off a solid outing last Saturday in a 7-3 Toronto victory over Boston.

This is the first time Toronto and Detroit have met in 2012. The Tigers took four of six from the Jays last season.

07/27 10:48:23 ET