(Sports Network) - Doug Fister tries to bring the Detroit Tigers one step closer to an American League Central crown on Saturday when they continue a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park.
Fister has alternated wins and losses in decisions since August, and was awful in a loss to the Royals on Sunday, as he allowed five runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 frames to fall to 12-8 to go along with a 3.77 ERA.
In 12 games (11 starts) against the Royals Fister is 3-5 with a 4.00 ERA.
Kansas City, meanwhile, will counter with righty Ervin Santana, who is winless in his last seven starts. Santana fell to 0-3 over that stretch on Monday in Cleveland, as he surrendered four runs (3 earned) and four hits - three home runs - in seven innings. He also struck out seven without walking a batter, but fell to 8-9 on the year and raised his ERA to 3.35.
Santana is 7-3 lifetime against the Tigers and has posted a 3.26 ERA in 12 starts against them.
On Friday, Prince Fielder and Torii Hunter drove in three runs apiece to help Detroit move one game closer to an AL Central title with a 6-3 win.
Austin Jackson doubled twice and scored a pair for Detroit, which has won three straight. Fielder had two hits and went over the 100-RBI mark for the sixth time in his career.
With the win the Tigers reduced their magic number to 10 for clinching their third straight division title, and they hold a six-game lead over the second- place Indians.
Justin Verlander (13-11) snapped a personal three-game losing streak after throwing 79 of 111 pitches for strikes in 6 2/3 innings. The former Cy Young winner allowed three runs on nine hits and struck out seven. Joaquin Benoit recorded a four-out save, his 19th of the season.
"I felt good, stuff was good," Verlander said. "That was the main thing I've been working on is getting my stuff back to where it needs to be and worrying about executing it and honing it in."
Bruce Chen (7-3) took the loss after getting tagged for six runs -- five earned -- on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings.
"It's tough, but they prepared themselves really well," Chen said. "They have the two best hitters in the Majors and you can't make mistakes, you can't leave the ball up and if you do, you're going to pay, and today I didn't make my pitches and I paid for it."
Despite Kansas City's loss on Friday it still holds a 9-8 edge in the season series with the Tigers.