Texas Rangers at Detroit Tigers
- The Rangers have won 12 of their last 18 games against the Tigers. During this stretch the Rangers have stolen 23 bases, while the Tigers have stolen just two.
- The Tigers have hit multiple home runs in four consecutive games for just the second time since 2011 (also April 27-30, 2013).
- The Rangers have used an MLB-high 22 different pitchers this season. Nine of those pitchers have started at least once; that ties them with the White Sox for most different starters.
- Over his last 10 home games, Miguel Cabrera is hitting .375 (15/40) with four home runs, 16 RBI and eight runs scored.
- Yu Darvish has struck out at least 11 batters in back-to-back games for the third time in his MLB career. Prior to the two starts, Darvish had not struck out double-digit hitters once this season.
- Victor Martinez has more home runs than strikeouts in 2014, a feat accomplished by only two other players with at least 10 home runs since 1960 -- George Brett (24 HR/22 K in 1980) and Barry Bonds (45 HR/41 K in 2004).
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By JEFF BARTL
(AP) -- When Prince Fielder signed a nine-year, $214 million deal with the Detroit Tigers in 2012, he likely envisioned spending the rest of his career in the Motor City.
Now with the Texas Rangers after an offseason trade, the injured slugger's return to Detroit will be delayed.
Fielder at least will miss the opener of this four-game series - and possibly all of it - as Texas begins an 11-game road trip with Yu Darvish on the mound Thursday.
The deal that sent second baseman Ian Kinsler to the Tigers came in November after Fielder hit .295 with 55 homers over two seasons with Detroit, helping it reach the World Series in 2012 and the AL championship series last year.
Fielder's first appearance at Comerica Park will come later than anticipated, as he's missed the past four games with a herniated disc in his neck. Fielder, who played in 547 consecutive games before the injury, won't travel with the Rangers to Detroit but could rejoin them after being evaluated.
"Depending on what happens, he might go to Detroit after that," a team spokesman said.
The Rangers (22-24) will be looking to win three of four overall after beating Seattle 4-3 on Wednesday, but they've dropped four of five away from home as they prepare for their longest road trip of the season.
Texas has won all three of Darvish's road starts, though, and he's coming off a pair of strong outings.
Darvish (3-2, 2.32 ERA) no-hit Boston into the seventh and struck out 12 in 8 2-3 innings of an 8-0 win May 9, then gave up two runs and didn't allow a hit until the fifth as he struck out 11 in eight innings of Friday's 2-0 loss to Toronto.
After receiving 17 runs of support in his previous two outings, the right-hander didn't put any blame on the offense for his latest loss.
"If I could hit, or if I could hit 50 home runs, which I can't - there's nothing to be frustrated about," Darvish said. "I respect all of my teammates. I believe in them."
Darvish has won each of his four starts against Detroit with a 3.86 ERA.
The Tigers (27-15) have lost a season-worst three straight after being swept by Cleveland following Wednesday's wild 11-10 loss in 13 innings. Closer Joe Nathan blew a two-run lead in the ninth before Alex Avila's homer in the 13th put Detroit back in front, but Phil Coke allowed the tying run and Al Alburquerque's balk forced in the winning run.
Miguel Cabrera was batting .442 during an 11-game hitting streak entering the contest but had it snapped after he and manager Brad Ausmus were ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the sixth. Victor Martinez homered for the third time in four days and went 3 for 6 to increase his average to .329.
Kinsler, who had two hits and is batting .364 during a seven-game hitting streak, will face his former teammates for the first time after spending his first eight seasons with Texas.
Detroit sends Robbie Ray to the mound in place of Rick Porcello, who now will pitch Saturday in order to get more time off due to soreness in his left side.
"Whether (the soreness) bothers (Porcello) or not, we would like to get rid of it, so it's not even a consideration," Ausmus told the team's official website. "We would like to eliminate this issue completely."
Ray (1-0, 0.75) made his major league debut earlier this month, giving up one run and nine hits over 11 1-3 innings in two starts in place of an injured Anibal Sanchez. Since then, the left-hander has pitched only two-thirds of an inning of relief over the past 10 days.
Leonys Martin could return to Texas' starting lineup after being out of it the last two games due to neck stiffness, though he was used as a late defensive replacement Wednesday.
Updated May 22, 2014