The Rangers fell to Doug Fister and got past Max Scherzer. Now they'll face Justin Verlander in Sunday's rubber match at Comerica Park.
That doesn't sound like an easy path to the All-Star break.
"The three pitchers we're facing in this series aren't just anybody," Texas' David Murphy said. "They're tough on everybody they face. We've had some good battles against these guys. This is their park, and they play well here."
Verlander hasn't been the same dominant ace this season, allowing five runs on 12 hits in seven-plus innings in a loss to the White Sox on Wednesday, but the All-Star right-hander is 7-3 with a 2.92 ERA in 12 starts against the Rangers. It's the fourth-lowest ERA against Texas among active pitchers with at least 10 starts. He has struck out 9.36 batters per nine innings against the Rangers.
"Hopefully, we can answer the call," Murphy said. "These are the last games before the All-Star break. We need to come out with a lot of intensity and play our best."
Texas will counter with Martin Perez, who is 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA in his last four starts since being recalled from Triple-A Round Rock. He allowed four runs (two earned) in six-plus innings against the Orioles on Tuesday.
"I just need to keep doing what I'm doing," Perez said. "Concentrate, focus and execute my pitches, and just do my job."
Perez made just one appearance against the Tigers last season, in relief, allowing four runs (three earned) on three hits in two-thirds of an inning.
Among the sluggers Perez will be facing is Miguel Cabrera, who has 95 RBIs and will look to become the third player to hit 100 before the break. He is the first player in Major League history to have 30 home runs and 90 RBIs at the time of the Midsummer Classic.
"I'm amazed at what he does every day, but I don't think it's something, really, you probably ever think about until your career is over," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "You sit back and you say, 'You know, I was the manager that year this guy was doing all this.' I'm sure you do that. But you have so much on your plate all the time that you don't really have time to sit back to think about that. But I'm sure at some point in my lifetime I will."
Tigers: Valverde on Triple-A inactive list
Jose Valverde was placed on the temporary inactive list by Triple-A Toledo on Friday due to a family matter. There is no timetable for his return. Valverde has picked up two saves in four appearances since being outrighted on June 27. He's allowed two runs on five hits in four innings.
Rangers: Lewis, Gentry set for rehab assignments
Outfielder Craig Gentry, on the disabled list with a fractured left hand, is scheduled to begin his rehab assignment with Double-A Frisco on Sunday. Right-hander Colby Lewis could join Gentry on Wednesday, as the Rangers are planning to send him on his rehab assignment. Lewis threw 46 pitches in a batting practice session on Saturday.
• Rangers starters are 10-13 since the beginning of June after Derek Holland's win on Saturday. Before that contest only the White Sox had fewer wins in that span.
• The Tigers are 23-16 all-time against the Rangers at Comerica Park, but they've lost five of the last seven games at home to Texas.
Master Tesfatsion is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.