Tigers-Athletics Preview

Though seemingly in control of the AL Central for the time being, the Detroit Tigers would love to add to their lead. Ryan Raburn's success against the Oakland Athletics this season should give the club a good chance to do so.

Raburn looks to continue his hot hitting in the series as the Tigers go for their seventh win in nine games Saturday night against the offensively challenged A's.

Detroit (65-56) has pulled 3 1/2 games ahead of second-place Chicago in the Central, its largest lead since the end of play June 30.

The Tigers have to like their chances of pulling further ahead based on the way Raburn has played lately. Batting third for the second consecutive game, the second baseman hit solo home runs in his first two at-bats of a 3-2 victory in the series opener Friday night.

"If anything, having Miguel Cabrera hitting behind you makes the chances of seeing better pitches better," Raburn said.

It was the second career multihomer game and first in over two years for Raburn, who also homered in Thursday's win over Seattle. Four of his 10 homers this year have come against Oakland. He's 9 for 23 (.391) with 11 RBIs and seven runs scored in six games against the A's in 2009.

"The power has always been there," Raburn said. "I'm just being more consistent at the plate and giving myself more of a chance every time at the plate."

Oakland (53-68) outhit Detroit 8-7 in the opener but went 2 for 10 with runners in scoring position while getting held to three runs or fewer for the sixth straight game.

The A's will try to break out of their offensive slump Saturday against Tigers starter Armando Galarraga (6-10, 5.16 ERA).

Detroit is 1-6 in the right-hander's last seven starts. Galarraga allowed two runs and four hits while striking out six in five innings against Kansas City on Sunday, but Detroit eventually fell 3-2 in 10 innings.

Galarraga is 2-1 with a 7.02 ERA in four career starts against Oakland. He gave up five runs and recorded two outs in his first start against the A's this season, then held them to one run and two hits in 6 1/3 innings to beat them 5-3 in Oakland on June 30.

Oakland outfielder Jack Cust is 4 for 7 with a home run and three walks lifetime against Galarraga, and Ryan Sweeney is 5 for 9 with a homer and a triple against him.

The Athletics will hand the ball to Trevor Cahill (6-12, 4.97). The rookie right-hander, tied for the AL lead in losses, is 1-7 with a 7.04 ERA over his last 10 starts, including 0-4 with a 6.75 ERA in five outings since his last win July 22.

Cahill held the White Sox to two runs in six innings Sunday but didn't get a decision as Oakland rallied late for a 3-2 victory.

Cahill made his only previous start against the Tigers on May 17. He was tagged for seven runs in 2 1/3 innings to suffer the 11-7 road defeat.

Raburn has never faced Cahill.