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Rookie Garcia will gets his chances in September

The Sports Xchange

--RF Avisail Garcia is going to be used this month by the Tigers, but not overused. "He's a very talented guy, obviously," manager Jim Leyland said of his rookie outfielder, just up from Class AA on Sept. 1. "To me, he's still in the category of 'talented prospect.'" Garcia is 4-for-8 in five games, starting against left-handed pitching and playing as a late-inning defensive replacement. Leyland tries to downplay Garcia but can't help gushing at the same time. "I love him," the manager said. "He shows you absolutely no fear."

--RHP Max Scherzer, Detroit's hottest pitcher of late, will open the Tigers' series against the Angels on Friday night. Scherzer is 9-1 in his last 12 starts going back to the end of June, but over his last five starts, he's 5-0 with a 1.03 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 55 innings. "He's been able to learn from the times when he was struggling a little bit and wasn't able to make those adjustments during the game," C Alex Avila said. "If he gets himself in trouble, he either limits the damage or gets out of it. He's got the stuff for an ace. Now he's got the pitchability for it, too." Scherzer has been going back and forth with RHP Justin Verlander for the major league strikeout lead. He'll take 204 into his start against the Angels.

--LF Andy Dirks might be about to break out on another hot streak. Dirks broke an 0-for-14 slide Wednesday night with an RBI triple into the gap in right-center, and he scored on a sacrifice fly to right by 3B Miguel Cabrera. Dirks had been 18-for-54 (.333) before the hitless stretch.

--3B Miguel Cabrera has a shot at becoming the first Triple Crown winner since Boston's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. Cabrera is tied for the AL lead in batting average and RBI, and he's fourth in home runs after hitting two in his past two games. "I've always said Miguel is the best hitter I've ever seen," C Alex Avila said. "I think that if he didn't have to hit home runs and drive in runs as much as he has to for our team, he could probably hit .400."

--CF Austin Jackson got a key one-out walk in the eighth inning Wednesday night that demonstrated his value to the Tigers. Jackson scored on a triple by LF Andy Dirks to trigger a five-run inning that gave Detroit a 7-1 victory over Cleveland. "The walk to Jackson made it," manager Jim Leyland said. "That's like getting a base hit." Jackson also made a terrific catch to keep the Indians from getting their leadoff man on in the third.

2 -- Categories in which 3B Miguel Cabrera shares the lead in his longshot bid to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1967. He is tied for the batting lead at .330 with the Angels' Mike Trout, and Cabrera and Texas' Josh Hamilton each have 116 RBI. Cabrera stands fourth in home runs with 35.

"There might be somebody who saw somebody else with as much opposite-field power as him, but I wouldn't believe anybody in the history of the game ever has. Not that I've seen." -- Manager Jim Leyland, on 3B Miguel Cabrera, who hit a first-inning home run to right field Wednesday.

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