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- Pirates top Cubs for fourth straight win
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By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO
(AP) -- Miguel Cabrera is on a tear, and that's pretty common against the Yankees.
Justin Verlander is trying to continue his own success at home versus New York in order to avoid his longest slide in almost four years.
Cabrera will try to help Verlander avert a rare three-start losing streak Sunday as the Detroit Tigers finish their series with the Yankees.
Cabrera is hitting .405 with seven doubles, three homers and nine RBIs in his last eight games, with 10 hits in 19 at-bats over the last four.
The six-time All-Star continued that staggering offensive pace Saturday, collecting three hits with a double and a pair of mammoth solo homers before third-string catcher Omir Santos' ninth-inning sacrifice fly clinched a 4-3 win over New York (28-24).
Cabrera's homers were estimated at 436 and 433 feet.
"That was a lot of footage, to say the least," manager Jim Leyland said. "But that's just what that guy's capable of doing."
The third baseman has made a habit of feasting on Yankees pitching in the regular season, hitting .378 with 13 homers and 33 RBIs in 35 meetings. He wasn't that productive in last year's AL division series, going 3 for 15 with one homer, but the Tigers (25-28) still ousted New York in five games.
Verlander (5-3, 2.55 ERA) won Game 3, yielding four runs but striking out 11 in eight innings of a 5-4 victory at Comerica Park.
Including that start, he's 3-0 with a 2.28 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 27 2-3 innings over his last four starts versus the Yankees there. He wasn't as sharp against New York in the Bronx on April 27, allowing five runs and seven hits - two homers - in six innings of the Tigers' 7-6 loss.
Verlander may be eager to return home - he has a 1.37 ERA in Detroit this year - after losing back-to-back starts on the road. He struggled in Boston on Tuesday, allowing five runs and 10 hits in six innings of a 6-3 defeat.
"He just wasn't himself, he just wasn't sharp. That happens," Leyland said.
Verlander hasn't lost three starts in a row since dropping four straight July 26-Aug. 11, 2008.
The Yankees will counter with Phil Hughes (4-5, 5.64), who is looking to rebound from perhaps his worst performance of the season.
The right-hander was tagged for season highs of seven runs and 11 hits in 5 1-3 innings of New York's 9-8 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Monday.
"On a night when the offense is doing so well and swinging the bats, it's a tough one to swallow," Hughes said.
It was another tough outing on the road, where Hughes is 1-3 with a 6.57 ERA while allowing opponents to hit .318 in five starts.
Visits to Detroit, however, have been much better. He's 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA in four games - three starts - at Comerica Park, and hasn't allowed a run in 14 innings over his last three appearances there. That includes a perfect inning of relief to help the Yankees win Game 4 of last year's ALDS.
Hughes, though, probably isn't looking forward to facing Cabrera. The Detroit slugger has dominated their matchup, going 7 for 14 with three homers and a double.
Detroit may not have reliever Joaquin Benoit available Sunday after he experienced forearm tightness Saturday.
The Tigers will honor Magglio Ordonez with a retirement ceremony before the game.
Updated June 3, 2012