Peralta makes his return to the newly crowned AL Central champions Friday night when they visit the Miami Marlins .
Detroit (93-66) had Thursday off after Max Scherzer picked up his major league-best 21st win and the defending league champions wrapped up another division crown with a 1-0 victory at Minnesota on Wednesday.
"For us to be able to do it three straight years now is really special and a testament to the talent in our clubhouse," said Scherzer, who allowed two hits over seven innings.
Detroit trails West champion Oakland by one game for the league's second-best record and home-field advantage in the ALDS. The Tigers also have a slim chance to catch Boston for baseball's best mark overall.
Following a 50-game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, Peralta is starting in left field for the Tigers as they open a three-game set against the NL-worst Marlins (59-100).
The All-Star shortstop has hit .305 with 11 home runs and 54 RBIs, but might have to impress at his new position to earn a place on the postseason roster. Peralta, hitting .420 in interleague games, will be in left field because the Tigers acquired shortstop Jose Iglesias from Boston shortly before the suspension.
"(Peralta) has worked hard, eager to get back," general manager Dave Dombrowski told the team's official website. "The team has been receptive to him coming back, and we think it's best for the ball club to give him the opportunity."
While Iglesias hasn't started since he was hit on the left hand Sept. 19, he's hoping to return to the lineup Friday. Iglesias is batting .310 overall but in a 2-for-18 slump.
The Tigers, 12-5 in interleague play, have averaged 7.5 runs and hit .339 while winning eight in a row against NL opponents. That streak matches the team record set during the 2010 season.
Former Marlin Miguel Cabrera , who has never faced the team with which he broke into the majors, is batting .371 with five home runs and 17 RBIs in interleague contests. Cabrera tops baseball with a .345 average but can no longer win a second straight Triple Crown, having hit one homer in his last 23 games to fall well behind Baltimore's Chris Davis for the major league lead.
Alvarez has been pitching out of the Detroit bullpen over the past month, including a scoreless inning at Minnesota on Monday in his most recent appearance. The left-hander started his first five games in the majors following his call-up in early June and lost each of the last three, getting tagged for 11 runs and 18 hits in 14 1-3 innings.
The good news for Alvarez is that he's facing a Miami team which has scored 2.6 runs per game and batted .229 while dropping 14 of 20. The Marlins rank last in the majors in both offensive categories.
Tom Koehler (4-10, 4.45) takes the mound for Miami.
A week after going eight innings in a 1-0, 12-inning loss to the Mets, Koehler saw his eight-start winless streak end Sunday when he limited Washington to two runs over six frames in a 4-2 victory.
The right-hander, 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in four interleague starts, will try to cool off a Detroit team that has won 11 of 15.
"This is a good experience for us," Koehler told MLB's official website. "Obviously, we're not in (the playoffs). But to get to play against teams who are playing for something, that means something."
This is the first meeting since 2004 when the Tigers took two of three in Detroit.
|September 19, 2013||Jose Iglesias||Day-to-Day||Hand|
|September 19, 2013||Phil Coke||Day-to-Day||Elbow|
|September 04, 2013||Jose Iglesias||Day-to-Day||Bilateral shin splints|
|August 24, 2013||Jose Iglesias||Day-to-Day||Sore left elbow|
|August 17, 2013||Omar Infante||Day-to-Day||Left game - lower back stiffness|
|August 11, 2013||Alex Avila||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|September 09, 2013||Jeff Mathis||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised right thumb|
|September 08, 2013||Giancarlo Stanton||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right foot and ankle|
|September 02, 2013||Henderson Alvarez||Day-to-Day||Left game - tight right hamstring|
|September 01, 2013||Giancarlo Stanton||Day-to-Day||Right ankle|
|August 19, 2013||Placido Polanco||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|August 19, 2013||Placido Polanco||7-Day DL||Concussion|
MIAMI (AP) -- Jhonny Peralta is relieved that his long absence is over.
Peralta played in his first game since completing a 50-game suspension, and had a hit and an RBI in the Detroit Tigers ' 3-2 loss to the Miami Marlins on Friday night.
"I felt pretty good," Peralta said. "I saw the ball well, the breaking ball and everything. I made good contact."
Peralta, who was suspended as a result of Major League baseball's investigation into Biogenesis, the Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs, started in left field. He had his first chance on Giancarlo Stanton 's bases-loaded double in the third inning that gave Miami a 3-0 lead. The Marlins loaded the bases on Koyle Hill's leadoff single and consecutive two-out walks to Placido Polanco and Christian Yelich .
"I played deep to him, close to the wall," said Peralta, a career infielder trying a new position in an effort to earn a spot on Detroit's postseason roster. "That's what they told me to do. He hit it perfect, close to the line. There was nothing I could do."
Peralta's run-scoring double chased Miami starter Tom Koehler in the sixth and cut the Marlins' lead to 3-2.
"He was slow getting to the ball by Stanton," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of Peralta. "But overall he did fine - first time out there in a big league game."
The loss guaranteed AL Central champion Detroit will open the division series on the road. Oakland beat Seattle and holds a two-game lead over the Tigers for home-field advantage with two to play. The Athletics hold the tiebreaker, having won the season series 4-3.
"You can't win a division title if you can't win on the road," Leyland said. "I've always been proud to take my team on the road. I think sometimes - to be honest - the pressure is on the home team more."
Stanton drove in three runs for the Marlins and Koehler (5-10) pitched 5 1-3 innings, allowing two runs and five hits while walking three and striking out three.
"We had some great at-bats, were patient," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "(Stanton) was fortunate enough to come up with the bases loaded and hit it down the line."
Ryan Webb relieved Koehler and pitched 1 2-3 scoreless innings and Chad Qualls followed with a perfect eighth. Steve Cishek pitched a scoreless ninth for his 29th consecutive save and 34th in 36 opportunities.
"It was a great way to go out," said Koehler, who battled a stomach virus before the game. "I've been real pleased the way I've been throwing the ball the last couple of outings. I only feel the experience I've had here is going to help me in the future."
The Tigers scored their first run on Austin Jackson 's run-scoring single in the fifth. Koehler struck out Andy Dirks to end the Tigers' threat.
Detroit's Jose Alvarez (1-5) lasted 2 2-3 innings in his return to the starting rotation after eight relief appearances. He allowed three runs and two hits, walking two and striking out three in his first start since Aug. 16.
Earlier Friday, the Marlins fired Larry Beinfest, the team's president of baseball operations. Beinfest had overseen player personnel for the Marlins since 2002.
NOTES: Former Marlin Miguel Cabrera received a warm ovation before his first at-bat in the first inning and after he was removed for a pinch runner following his leadoff single in the sixth. Cabrera, who went 2 for 3, played with the Marlins the first five seasons of his career before being traded to Detroit in 2008. ... 1B Prince Fielder was replaced by Don Kelly after he walked to lead off the second. ... The roof at Marlins Park was open for the 14th time in the season..Marlins 3B Placido Polanco reached over the railing and landed in the stands to catch Don Kelly 's pop-up in the eighth inning.