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DET@BOS: Verlander strikes out seven over six innings

After two rough outings, at least for a reigning American League Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award winner, Justin Verlander takes the mound against the Reds looking to pick up his second Interleague win of the season on Saturday.

And if the results are anything like his first outing, when he no-hit the Pirates through 8 1/3 innings on May 18, the Tigers' ace certainly will be back on track.

Verlander has had plenty of success in his career in Interleague Play, as his record is 16-2 with a 2.75 ERA in 21 starts against the National League. However, Verlander enters Saturday's game riding a three-game losing streak for the first time since 2008.

In his past two outings against the Red Sox and Yankees, Verlander has been pegged for 19 hits and 10 runs -- eight earned.

"It's not always going to be great," Verlander said after his last outing on Sunday. "But I've just got to do a better job. Obviously, you know it's going to happen every now and again, but I still don't ever expect it. I'm never happy about it."

As important as it is for the right-hander to end the losing streak and earn the win for his team, it's about as important for him to get his first career hit. However, he said this year he's taking a calmer approach.

"Before, it was, 'Oh boy, hit, hit, hit,'" said Verlander, who is 0-for-20 in his career. "Now, it's just kind of, I work on it, I went out there and got my practice and actually made some adjustments and felt like I've got a better swing than I had before, but I'm not worried about it."

Reds right-hander Bronson Arroyo will look to prevent that from happening and try to limit the damage done by the rest of the Tigers' lineup as well. Arroyo is 2-4 this season with a 3.91 ERA.

Arroyo has given up nine runs over 10 1/3 innings in his past two starts. He allowed five runs on eight hits to the Astros in his last outing on Sunday.

"They hit some good pitches, I threw some bad pitches, and it ended up being too many runs to overcome," Arroyo said after the game.

Tigers: Jackson slated to return
• Unless something goes terribly wrong overnight, which is possible given catcher Alex Avila is currently on the 15-day disabled list after waking up with right hamstring tightness, center fielder Austin Jackson will likely be activated from the disabled list for Saturday's game.

"I don't have that [full bench] tonight. Hopefully, I will tomorrow," said manager Jim Leyland on Friday night, hinting at Jackson's return. "But I can't swear to that."

• Prince Fielder is hitting .376 (35-for-93) with nine doubles, a triple, four home runs and 21 RBIs over his last 23 games, dating back to May 14. Fielder is 10-for-42 (.238) against Arroyo in his career with two doubles and four home runs.

Reds: Votto stays red hot
• Joey Votto tied a career high, as he extended his hitting streak to 14 games with an infield single in the first inning of Friday's game. Votto is batting .549 with eight doubles, three home runs and 13 RBIs in that span. With a hit off Verlander, he'll become the first Reds player with a 15-game hitting streak since Brandon Phillips did so in June 2010.

• The Reds scratched third baseman Todd Frazier before Friday's game due to back spasms, but he entered as a pinch-hitter and delivered a game-tying double in the eighth.

Worth noting
• Since Leyland took over the Tigers in 2006, they are 72-40 in Interleague Play.

• The Tigers-Reds series pits the No. 1 manager on the active wins list vs. the No. 2. Leyland has 1,614 victories, whereas Reds manager Dusty Baker has 1,516.

"He's a guy I like and admire a lot," Baker said. I haven't managed against him in a while, because we haven't played the Tigers in a while. He and I and Bruce Bochy are slowly but surely becoming the elder statesmen in the game."

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