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  2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS

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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sat May 03, 2014 1:05 am

Royal pain: Porcello's solid start fuels Tigers
Right-hander enjoys merry months in May with his fourth victory

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 5/2/2014 11:05 PM ET

BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- Big Game James Shields was no match for May Rick Porcello. The way Porcello pitches when the calendar turns from the season's opening month, few opponents are.

Porcello can't explain why he has so much success over his career in May. It's a little easier to explain why he has had success so far this season.

Explaining his success on Friday night -- Porcello delivered seven innings of two-run ball while retiring the final 12 batters he faced in the Tigers' 8-2 win over the Royals -- can be summed up in two words: Strike one.

"It was huge, especially against a team like this," Porcello said. "You get them into fastball-hitting counts. When you fall behind, there's only so many offspeed pitches you can throw to get yourself back into the count, so establishing the fastball and getting ahead early against these guys was big."

Porcello threw it with his first pitch to the first nine batters he faced, and to 20 of 25 batters overall. When the right-hander took the mound for his seventh and final inning, he put all three Royals hitters in 0-2 counts.

"I looked at it one time and he had 27 strikes and like six balls," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He was just banging those strikes."

Repeat that enough, and Porcello delivered 71 strikes out of 106 pitches over seven innings, his second such efficient performance over his last three outings. In two others, he pitched into the seventh inning with fewer than 100 pitches before giving way.

Repeat those, and while everyone wonders if Justin Verlander is really back, and if Max Scherzer can repeat his magic from last year, Porcello (4-1) became the Tigers' first four-game winner this year.

With no walks and six strikeouts on Friday, Porcello owns the second-lowest ratio of walks per nine innings in the American League, trailing only David Price. Porcello owns the fourth-highest strikeout-to-walk ratio in the league, trailing Price, Masahiro Tanaka and Felix Hernandez.

Porcello has all this heading into what, historically, bizarrely so, has been his most successful month of the season. Repeat that, and maybe, just maybe, this is the year Porcello finally breaks out -- even if finally is a relative term for a 25-year-old pitcher in his sixth big league season.

"This year, since the beginning of the season, he's thrown the ball great," said catcher Alex Avila, whose first home run of the year supported Porcello and highlighted Detroit's barrage against Shields.

Avila should know as much about Porcello as anyone on the team. He has caught Porcello in 82 of his 157 career appearances and all five of his starts this season.

"He's had, for the majority of the games, really good command," Avila said. "There's a few times today where he'd fall behind a couple hitters in a row, 2-0, things like that, but then he's able to make quality pitches after that to get the guy out. But he's been very consistent so far this year as far as not only throwing strikes with his sinker, but throwing strikes with his offspeed stuff as well."

Get ahead on hitters, and that expanded repertoire now boasts, with the curveball he dusted off last year and the slider he has quietly worked in this season, goes to work.

Neither Avila nor Porcello have a theory why he pitches so much better in May than any other month, especially after historically lousy Aprils. Even after going 3-1 with a 3.96 ERA in the season's opening month, Porcello's career numbers for April stood at 9-12 with a 6.12. Even with last April's nine-run first inning against the Angels taken out of the equation, his 9-11 record and 5.57 ERA for his other April outings don't look vastly improved.

By contrast, Friday's win improved Porcello to 14-6 with a 3.13 ERA in 26 career May outings. He averages better than six innings a start for his career in the month. The New Jersey native grew up pitching in cool weather.

"I have no idea [why]," Porcello shrugged. "I wish I could tell you. I don't have an explanation for it."

Porcello can tell you why he pitched well on Friday. If he can repeat that, he'll have the same explanation for the season.

"A lot of first-pitch strikes, that's going to bode well for a sinkerball guy. Give him a lead and he can go to work," said Billy Butler, whose leadoff home run off a 3-1 pitch in the fourth inning was Kansas City's last hit and baserunner of the night.

By the time Butler homered, the Tigers had five runs off Shields, and Porcello -- who paid for a 3-0 count against Butler -- had every reason to pound the strike zone from them.

Much of the damage off Shields came early. Back-to-back RBI doubles from Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez moved Detroit in front in the third inning, then Avila followed J.D. Martinez's leadoff double in the fourth with a 392-foot drive to right-center field.

Victor Martinez added an RBI single in the seventh before Austin Jackson's ensuing single chased Shields from the game. J.D. Martinez put the game away with a two-run double off Kelvin Herrera in the seventh.

Shields (3-3) gave up eight runs (seven earned) on 12 hits over 6 1/3 innings.

"What makes him tough, all his pitches, everything he throws, he can throw for strikes at any time," Victor Martinez said. "That's what makes him really tough. When you go out there against a pitcher like him, it's a battle. Just hope that he makes a mistake and take advantage."

Get ahead on the scoreboard early, and Porcello can get ahead in the counts late. Everything goes from there. So far, it's trending in a very good direction.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun May 04, 2014 1:45 am

Castellanos driving force in victory over Royals
Rookie collects three RBIs as Smyly logs seven shutout innings
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 5/3/2014 11:55 PM ET

BOX SCORE

KANSAS CITY -- Miguel Cabrera took advantage of his stereotype as a plodding baserunner and beat Royals Gold Glove outfielder Alex Gordon to the plate.

"I'll say it again: Miggy's baseball IQ is high," manager Brad Ausmus said of the Tigers' first run in the 9-2 win over the Royals.

Nick Castellanos, meanwhile, took advantage of the rookie treatment and essentially beat Danny Duffy.

"He's coming through," Torii Hunter said of Castellanos' three-RBI game that put the Tigers in front before a six-run ninth inning iced a 9-2 victory at Kauffman Stadium.

Hunter defied his age with a tumbling catch to rob a hit in the gap, then belted a 404-foot home run to put three runs on the board in the ninth.

"Skill," he said jokingly.

But perhaps most importantly, Drew Smyly put to rest his stereotype as a bullpen guy and won the battle of lefty relievers turned starters.

And after his career-best seven shutout innings in just his third start of the season, the Tigers are on the verge of a winning streak that could put to rest their plodding April.

All they need in order to finish their week-long five-game road trip unbeaten is a win from Justin Verlander in Sunday's series finale against a team he has handled well over the years. Detroit took the first two games of the series with Kansas City behind very good pitching performances from their back two starters.

Smyly and Rick Porcello (Friday's winner) combined for 14 innings of two-run ball on just six hits with 12 strikeouts in the first two games. Where Porcello was building off momentum, however, Smyly got stingy in his first start in a week and a half.

Between off-days and rainouts, the Tigers haven't needed a fifth starter very often. They wouldn't have needed Smyly again this soon if Anibal Sanchez wasn't on the disabled list. Smyly not only shook off the rust, he shook off any threat from the Royals.

In the process, Smyly probably put to rest any lingering question about his future role. Even if it wasn't a point he had to prove to Tigers personnel, it was a point he wanted to make.

"I hope it showed everybody," Smyly said. "To be honest, I'm kind of sick of the bullpen talk, that it's where I should go. I've been a starter my whole life. I went to the bullpen last year to help the team. I'd want to do whatever they want, but I've always thought of myself as a starter, and I think [Tigers personnel] all think of me as a starter. Hopefully that'll put the talk to rest."

By using different pitches and changing approaches to hitters the second and third time through the lineup, Smyly showed he could make the adjustment. By getting through seven innings on just 93 pitches, he showed he could sustain an outing through the middle innings.

"Smyly was outstanding," manager Brad Ausmus said. "He was throwing strikes. He was using all his pitches."

Instead of pounding the strike zone with fastballs and cutters, like he often did as a reliever, Smyly mixed in changeups, sliders and even a few two-seamers on his way to changing the look. He induced 11 swings and misses from fastballs, sliders and a changeup, according to data from MLB.com Gameday and brooksbaseball.net, and he threw strikes with all of them.

"He doesn't really ever throw the same pitch twice in a row," Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "He was throwing that fastball, that slider and that slow curve when he was ahead. Just mixing it well and hitting his spots. He was real effective."

Smyly allowed just two runners in scoring position, and received help from the Tigers' outfield to strand them. The first was Hunter's catch in the gap in right-center field to rob Alcides Escobar, stranding Gordon at second base in what was then a scoreless game.

"Torii's catch was a game changer," Smyly said. "That set the tone, I think."

Said Hunter: "I was playing him a little oppo. Escobar likes to hit the ball to right field a lot. He just happened to get it in the gap and I just got on my horse. He put a charge in it for a little guy and I did what I had to do. Wasn't trying to dive, just kind of rolled around."

In addition to keeping the game scoreless, it kept the Royals hitless until Hosmer doubled with one out in the fourth. With Hosmer on third, Smyly struck out Billy Butler -- 5-for-6 against him entering the night -- before Detroit's defense picked up their starter again with a catch at the fence from Austin Jackson.

At that point, Smyly was protecting a 1-0 lead his offense had built in the top half of the inning on three walks and Castellanos' sac fly. It was a sinking liner that Gordon caught near his shoestrings while charging in, but Cabrera surprised him by taking off from third.

"My decision, it was because he faked the throw to second base and gave me a chance to react and try to score," Cabrera said.

Gordon's throw never made it as Cabrera rumbled home smiling. It was the second time this season that Cabrera had deked an outfielder, having tagged up from second and going to third on Mike Trout two weeks ago.

"My first instinct was, I saw Victor [Martinez] off the bag at second and I was going to try to double him up, and get out of the inning right there," Gordon said. "I wanted to come up throwing and at first I didn't see anybody on second base so that's why I didn't throw. ... After that, it was just too late to get Cabrera."

After Cabrera doubled to lead off the sixth, Castellanos let him and Martinez stroll home with a double deep into the right-field gap. Kelvin Herrera's 99-mph fastball provided much of the power, but Castellanos' quick bat provided the contact, sending a line drive past Nori Aoki's attempt at a highlight catch in right.

Castellanos' third three-RBI performance of his rookie season moved him into tie with Cabrera for the team lead with 17 RBIs.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Mon May 05, 2014 12:56 am

Tigers ride Verlander's arm to sweep of Royals
Right-hander fires 5 2/3 hitless innings; Castellanos, Avila hit HRs

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 5/4/2014 7:30 PM ET

BOX SCORE

KANSAS CITY -- Billy Butler got Justin Verlander again. The way the Tigers' weekend visit unfolded, Butler's sixth-inning single was the one victory the Royals could claim for the series.

It broke up Verlander's bid at a third career no-hitter. By that point, he would have needed to give up a whole lot more for the Royals to break up a three-game sweep.

"This is the way that we're expected to play baseball," Verlander said after his seven innings of three-run ball helped the Tigers cruise to a 9-4 win on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium. "We can do a lot of little things. We can also bang. And I think the fundamental of this team is starting pitching, as it should be with every team.

"You keep guys off the board and allow the offense to go out and score runs, and that's how you win a lot of ballgames."

It's easy to preach, but hard to do for an extended stretch, even against struggling teams. It's what the Tigers did all week, save for two off-days.

They outscored the Royals by a 26-7 margin, and didn't trail for the final 25 innings of the series. Detroit went 6-1 over their three-city road trip, and the only loss came after a blister forced out Anibal Sanchez in the third inning last Saturday at Minnesota.

The Tigers' 17-9 record marks their best start to a season since 2006. Five of those wins have come in as many games against Kansas City, which entered the season as a potential challenger to Detroit's run of three straight American League Central titles.

"Detroit came in here red-hot," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "The last three games, as a group, there wasn't one hole in their lineup you could count on getting an out from. They were all swinging the bats extremely well."

It's early, but the Tigers are starting to build a gap, now 4 1/2 games ahead of the second-place White Sox. They're the only team in the AL Central with a winning record, and they own the longest winning streak in the league.

"It could just be a case where they caught us hot," manager Brad Ausmus said. "It's just five games into the season series with the Royals. They've got a very good team, so I'm not chalking it up to anything other than we swung the bats well and got some good starting pitching this weekend."

In other words, as Verlander said, they did the exact things the team was designed to do.

"We just flat-out got beat in every aspect of the game," Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "It's early and we've got to rebound."

By taking the first two games of the series behind seven-inning performances from back-end starters Rick Porcello and Drew Smyly, Detroit handed the ball to Verlander with a chance to finish off the sweep against a reeling Royals offense. He nearly added an exclamation point.

Butler entered Sunday 31-for-71 lifetime against Verlander, including 17-for-32 since 2012. Salvador Perez, meanwhile, was 11-for-24 against Verlander since breaking into the league a few years ago. They loomed in the middle of the order in a lineup without a whole lot of individual success otherwise against Verlander.

Through six innings, however, the only Royals hitter having his way with Verlander was leadoff man Nori Aoki, who drew walks in each of his first three plate appearances, much to Verlander's frustration. The only other baserunner in that stretch was Alex Gordon, who walked in the fourth as Verlander cursed himself over his full-count pitch after striking out Butler on a nasty slider.

"I was pretty upset about those at-bats," Verlander said.

The right-hander's first couple turns against Butler and Perez, by contrast, were Verlander near his best. Butler and Perez both flied out to deep center field their first times up, and Butler had a 3-0 count on Verlander in the fourth before taking a fastball over the plate for strike one.

Verlander ran the count full by spotting a slider on the outside corner, then buried one as Butler swung over it.

"When he got in a hitter's count, he wasn't just throwing it in there and saying, 'Hey, hit it,'" Butler said. "He was still pitching, throwing offspeed stuff in hitter's count."

Once Perez grounded meekly to first base to end the fourth, the no-hit bid was on. The normally supportive Tigers dugout began leaving Verlander, saving for a pat on the back from pitching coach Jeff Jones.

"It always enters your mind early on," Verlander said, "but then again, at the same time, you know there's a long way to go."

Verlander has been through a few of those before. So, too, has Avila. Asked if he was aware of it, Avila smiled.

"If I had a dime every time somebody asked me that when we had a no-hitter in the fifth," Avila said, shaking his head. "When it gets to the fifth or the sixth, you know what's going on."

Aoki's leadoff walk in the sixth meant Verlander either needed a double play or had to face Butler with a runner on in the sixth. He struck out ex-teammate Omar Infante and got an Eric Hosmer line drive that hung up long enough for Rajai Davis to run down, setting up a showdown with Butler.

Unlike the fourth, Verlander had the setup he wanted, using back-to-back sliders and a curveball to put Butler in a 1-2 count and slow down his bat for a fastball. Verlander had the velocity he wanted at 96 mph, but not the location, leaving it over the plate.

"I just missed," Verlander said. "I didn't throw a good pitch."

Butler turned and lined it into right.

"There's no secrets," Butler said. "I just go up there and look for a good pitch to hit and I've had some good results off him. That could change."

Or as Avila put it, "Billy's a good hitter. Holding him to one hit, knowing the success he's had off of Justin, fine with that."

Verlander (4-1) retired Gordon to maintain the shutout bid, but Perez's leadoff double in the seventh set up a three-run rally punctuated by Jarrod Dyson's two-run triple.

Castellanos and Avila led an 11-hit attack over five innings against Royals starter Jason Vargas, who had flummoxed Tigers hitters for seven innings of one-run ball on April 2 at Comerica Park.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Tue May 06, 2014 12:21 am

Scherzer K's nine as Tigers push win streak to six
Timely defense, Romine's sacrifice bunt, Davis' key hit boost fireballer

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 5/6/2014 12:17 AM ET

BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- Andrew Romine somehow had 57 plate appearances as a member of the Tigers before laying down a sacrifice bunt. His first was one of the differences on Monday night. So, too, was a running catch in deep right-center field from Austin Jackson, a difficult judge on a tricky hop by Nick Castellanos at third base, all before a go-ahead RBI single in the seventh inning by speedster Rajai Davis.

Few would've expected that thin of a margin with the Tigers coming home on a winning streak to face the Astros. Fewer would have expected a pitching duel between Max Scherzer and Jarred Cosart.


The end result of a 2-0 Tigers victory went as many figured. It just took more than expected to get there.

"In the [pregame] meeting, it was talked about -- they don't give up," Romine said. "They have been battling all the way through the end of the game. We knew that going in, that they're not going to give up.

"Ironically, we're very similar in the way that we play. It was a good matchup."

There's more irony than Romine meant in that statement. It's not just the competitiveness of the Astros, but the fundamental plays from the Tigers.

They're two teams at the exact opposite ends of the standings -- Detroit with the best winning percentage in the American League, Houston with the worst. They were separated by a few defensive plays and a manufactured rally, plays this year's Tigers have a habit of making.

When Davis sent a ground ball through the left side to send home Castellanos, it was the only hit of the go-ahead rally, the first Tigers hit since the third inning and just the fourth of the game. When Victor Martinez welcomed Detroit-area native Anthony Bass home with a drive over the right-field fence for an insurance run in the eighth, it was the only extra-base hit of the game.

With eight shutout innings from Scherzer, capped by a strike-'em-out-throw-'em-out double play with the potential tying run in scoring position, it was enough for Detroit's sixth consecutive win.

"We were hitting the ball off the end of the bat all night," Torii Hunter said of Cosart. "He pitched a really good game. We just came through at the end."

For Scherzer (4-1), it was another gem in a season that's erasing any lingering doubt whether his Cy Young Award-winning 2013 season was simply a career year. He allowed three singles and a walk while striking out nine -- including five of the first eight Astros he faced. More importantly, he struck out his last.

Scherzer had runners at first and second with one out for All-Star leadoff man Jose Altuve, who has more walks than strikeouts on the year. He saw Altuve work the count full, a chance for the Astros to put runners in motion, and threw an offspeed pitch in a fastball situation.

Altuve swung in front for the second out. Alex Avila pounced and threw pinch-runner Marwin Gonzalez out at third for the other. He was the second of three baserunners Avila threw out on the night.

"It's a little bit like when you hit a home run, sometimes you don't feel it," Avila said. "When the runner's going, it's just a reaction."

It was the second straight inning in which Scherzer, owner of baseball's highest run support in 2013, took advantage of defensive support. Jackson's catch over his shoulder and Castellanos' play helped him retire the side in order in the seventh. Moments later, Marc Krauss' errant drop at first base on Castellanos' leadoff grounder started the rally that gave Scherzer his offense.

"I think I just took my eye off it a little too soon, and it never stuck to my glove," Krauss said. "It's bad time for an error like that, leading off an inning. Cosart is pitching such a great game in a tight battle."

Cosart (1-3) pitched seven innings with one earned run or less three times last year, and he had only one win to show for it. This time, Cosart's downfall was an unearned run from the error. He just missed on a full-count offering to Avila, moving Castellanos to second, then seemingly had nullified Romine's chances to bunt.

"I was just trying to get something out over the plate," Romine said. "He threw that first one, a nice cutter inside, which was tough to get to. Obviously, I'm just trying to get it down and hope that they're not crashing to the right place or in the right area at the right time. There's just so many variables that happen with it."

Cosart's 1-1 fastball was high and outside enough that it didn't look like a pitch to bunt. Romine put down a slow roller down the third-base line that easily moved both runners and nearly put him on first.

"It was a very good bunt," manager Brad Ausmus said. "It looked like Houston was trying to hold Nick at second so he wouldn't get a very good jump."

Up came Davis, whose grounder through the left side improved him to 10-for-23 with nine RBIs this year with runners in scoring position.

"You know what, man? He threw a great game," Martinez said of Cosart. "You have to give credit. He deserves credit."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Wed May 07, 2014 1:03 am

Ray shows mettle in debut as Tigers rout Astros
Lefty cruises after early jam; Miggy's 4-for-5 night leads 18-hit attack

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 5/7/2014 12:48 AM ET

BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- Robbie Ray spent the last six months in the tall, lanky shadow of Doug Fister, the former Tigers starter whose much-scrutinized offseason trade brought Ray into the system. He heard the feedback, some directed at him, some just in general.

"You hear them talking -- not to your face, but you hear them talking," Ray said. "You just have to push it aside, and they have to wait and see."

Tuesday was the first chance to see Ray, in his Major League debut. He made it his time, and his performance in the Tigers' 11-4 win brought him fairer comparisons.

Ray's fastball was sneaky, looking harder than 92-93 mph, set up by a changeup that had very similar mechanics. His curveball came around just in time.

Most important, his nerves were tempered. Called up after just five Triple-A starts to fill in for Anibal Sanchez, Ray not only shut down the Houston Astros offense for five-plus innings before finally giving up a run, he looked quite comfortable doing so. He had a steady diet of Tigers runs -- and a season-high 18 hits -- behind, including a four-hit, four-RBI game from Miguel Cabrera, but he had the quick innings to keep sending his team back to the plate for more swings against Brett Oberholtzer.

And as Ray walked off the mound with one out in the sixth, having finally given up a run, he received a standing ovation. It wasn't about the Fister trade at that point. It was about Ray.

"I got the sense before today they didn't know who I was," Ray admitted. "I was glad to have their support tonight."

That ovation was when the emotions hit him. They knew now.


"It was a great feeling," he said. "I started tearing up a little bit. It was my Major League debut."

It was also the Tigers' seventh consecutive win, now the longest current streak in the Majors. It's the first time since its historic 35-5 start in 1984 that Detroit has won seven in a row within the first 28 games of the season.

Three of those victories have come from starting pitchers other than their front three of Sanchez, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. Ray wasn't even the Tigers' sixth starter or insurance man when the season began, taking the nod only when his early success vaulted him.

By the time he left, only an Ian Kinsler drop and a Dexter Fowler run kept the 22-year-old left-hander from becoming the first Tiger since Andy Van Hekken in 2002 to deliver five or more shutout innings in his Major League debut.

Van Hekken, a 23-year-old lefty at the time of his promotion, threw a shutout against Cleveland on Sept. 3, 2002, and didn't win another game in his big league career. The Tigers are hoping Ray eventually becomes a fixture in their rotation as soon as next season.

In an ideal scenario, they wouldn't need Ray this year, but they do. They got what they needed, and more. Considering where he stood two batters in, facing runners at the corners and the middle of the order up, Ray gave plenty more.

Part of it was tough luck with Jose Altuve's bloop double leading off the game, the other part self-inflicted with a bad route to first base on Fowler's ground ball. At least a little part, too, might have been the nerves.

Three batters in, Ray was looking for damage control. He got an escape.

"I was just telling myself to calm down, collect myself," he said. "That runner on third was probably going to score. Just get a ground ball, get a double play."

Instead, Ray got back-to-back strikeouts, both Jason Castro and Chris Carter swinging and missing at his fastball. It seemed odd for two veteran hitters against a young pitcher, but there was a reason.

"It's hard to pinpoint," catcher Alex Avila said of Ray's fastball, "and I'll be honest with you -- the first couple innings and in warmups, I had a tough time even following the ball to catch it. It's tough to pick up out of his hand."

Once Jesus Guzman grounded out, Ray could breathe a sigh of relief. The Astros, meanwhile, could groan. Three batters into the bottom half, Cabrera hit a drive to left-center for his third home run of the year, giving the Tigers the lead for good.

"I felt like that was a big inning, especially with a guy making his Major League debut," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "You feel like if you push a couple of runs across there, it's a different ballgame. To his credit, he made quality pitches and was able to get out of hit unscathed and went on to have a good performance."

Ray retired 15 out of 17 batters from his first out of the opening inning to his last out of the fifth, allowing only a George Springer infield single and an L.J. Hoes walk in between. He fanned Castro and Carter again his next turn through the order, this time changing speeds, in a string of 10 outs in a row.

Cabrera's first-inning drive to left-center came one pitch after Torii Hunter was caught stealing at third base. It was a lost run, but Detroit eventually made up for it as part of a long night for Oberholtzer (0-6).

Hunter, Danny Worth and J.D. Martinez padded Detroit's lead with sacrifice flies in the third, fourth and seventh innings. Cabrera's RBI single drove in Kinsler in the seventh before he slashed a double into the gap in left-center to plate two more as part of a five-run eighth.

Cabrera's 12th career four-hit, four-RBI game leads all active players and ranks fourth all time. The three ahead of him are all Hall of Famers: Lou Gehrig (20), Al Simmons and Tigers great Charlie Gehringer (15).


Perhaps, Cabrera will get more. Clearly, the Tigers hoping Ray gets more wins. The game ball he got -- the ball Castro swung and missed on for his first big league strikeout -- is one of a kind. Nothing can compare to it.

"I might give it to my dad," Ray said, "but for right now, I'm keeping it."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Thu May 08, 2014 8:45 pm

Porcello pitches Tigers to eighth straight win
Righty continues May dominance; Miggy hits two-run homer

By Matt Slovin / MLB.com | 5/8/2014 12:20 AM ET

BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- The Tigers' starting rotation has looked so impressive over their recent winning streak that suddenly a 6 2/3-inning outing of two-run ball by Rick Porcello was just "all right."

That's how manager Brad Ausmus described the American League's second five-game winner following the Tigers' 3-2 win over the Astros at Comerica Park on Wednesday that pushed their win streak to eight games, the longest current run in baseball.

Porcello, the closest thing to the Reggie Jackson of May, encountered trouble from the AL's lowest-scoring offense in the seventh inning, leading to his exit with the tying and go-ahead runs on base. But Joba Chamberlain induced a groundout of Jose Altuve for the third out.

This wasn't the best Porcello has looked this season, but it was good enough, even on something of an off night for the offense. The right-hander's 6 2/3 innings of seven-hit, two-run ball held up, though the Tigers knocked just five hits, their second-lowest total of the season. It certainly didn't hurt that two of those hits left the yard.

Before allowing three consecutive two-out hits in the seventh inning to Houston's seven, eight and nine hitters, Porcello pitched soundly. He relied on his sinker -- which Victor Martinez called "nasty" and "one of the best in the game right now" -- to help him out of a couple of jams.

Porcello used it in two situations when he needed a double-play ball, and the Astros played into his hands on both occasions. Altuve hit into a double play in the fifth, and Jason Castro followed suit in the next frame.

"I threw some good ones, and I threw some ones that weren't that great," Porcello said. "Those two ground balls were huge for me."

Other than the double plays, catcher Alex Avila admitted Porcello "didn't have a very good feel with his sinker." At times, Porcello struggled to keep the ball down, which stemmed from a suboptimal point of release.

While "Mr. May" may not carry the same weight as Jackson's "Mr. October" moniker, it's difficult to ignore the numbers Porcello has put up in May over his six big league seasons. In 27 career starts, he is 15-6 with an ERA of 3.12.

But it briefly looked as if Ausmus had left Porcello in one batter too long. With runners on the corners in the seventh and two outs in a 3-1 game, the pair conferenced, and Ausmus opted to stick with his starter. Marwin Gonzalez then singled to pull the Astros to within a run.

Chamberlain came on to best Altuve and then struck out the side in the eighth. It has become Ausmus' habit to stand at the top of the stairs and immediately let his reliever know when he is heading back for another frame. That way, Ausmus said, there's not time to "mentally decompress" and lose focus.

"He was outstanding," Ausmus said of Chamberlain. "I said in Spring Training we hope someone kind of takes that setup role and runs with it, and I think Joba's shown so far that he's running with it, so we're going to try to keep handing him the ball and hope he can hand the ball to Joe Nathan."

Nathan picked up his seventh save, though it wasn't without drama. After quickly recording two outs, a walk and two steals placed the tying run just 90 feet away. But Matt Dominguez became the Astros' 10th strikeout victim of the night to end the game.

Fans who braved the wet conditions that briefly delayed the first pitch were rewarded with another Miguel Cabrera long ball. He sent a fastball on the inner third of the plate over the right-field wall for his second homer in as many nights, giving the Tigers a 2-0 first-inning lead they wouldn't relinquish.

Cabrera's ability to drive an inside pitch to the opposite field further proves his slow start was little cause for alarm.

In the sixth inning, with Detroit leading, 2-1, Martinez homered on an 0-2 fastball from Houston starter Brad Peacock. Martinez said he was anticipating a fastball after he hit a curveball hard for an out earlier in the game.

"I don't even know how Victor Martinez hit that pitch," said Houston manager Bo Porter. "Kind of like a waste fastball up and out of the zone, and he was able to get a barrel to it."

The round-tripper extended Martinez's hitting streak to 10 games, which is now the team's longest after Torii Hunter snapped his 13-game streak with an 0-for-4 night.

Even though the Tigers' bats -- outside of Cabrera and Martinez -- didn't account for much, these days, it might be enough given the way the pitching staff has looked.

"Joba's pitched well and Joe's pitching well," said Ausmus, who admitted it's a "good effort" when his starter can last as long as Porcello did. "So it's really starter, Joba, Joe in a lot of cases."

Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Thu May 08, 2014 8:57 pm

Tigers' win streak falls at eight despite fast start
Offense stifled; first deficit since last week too much to overcome

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 5/8/2014 6:15 PM ET

BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- One big inning for the Astros and 7 2/3 strong innings from Dallas Keuchel cost the Tigers on Thursday. That says a lot about the 56 innings before that.

Not only had the Tigers won eight consecutive games before Thursday's 6-2 loss to Houston at Comerica Park, they hadn't trailed in a game since last Friday at Kansas City. They played 56 consecutive innings without a deficit, including the first 31 innings of their four-game series with the Astros, until Houston's three-run, fifth-inning rally.

"We won the series," Nick Castellanos said. "Obviously, we want to win every game we play, but it's not like we lost confidence now."

It was the longest winning streak the Tigers had posted this early in a season since 1984 and as dominant of an early stretch as they've had in years. It seemed set to continue against a reeling Astros lineup. In the end, the demise might well have come down to a nine-pitch battle between Drew Smyly and Jose Altuve that culminated with a breaking ball that hung up in the strike zone, resulting in a two-out, two-run double that put Houston ahead for good.

"Games like this, it hurts big-time," Smyly said. "These are the ones that stick with you, because I feel like the result should be a lot better than what it was. I was grooving through four."

It likely will hurt a little more when Smyly hears from Keuchel, his old college teammate from the University of Arkansas.

"I'll definitely talk some trash to him," Keuchel said. "He's a great pitcher, and it just kind of worked out in my favor today."

The Tigers had been drilling left-handed pitching this season, building a 9-1 record against lefty starters while pounding southpaws overall for a .305 average and an .841 on-base plus slugging percentage. With so many right-handed hitters in the lineup, lefties were the Tigers' high-leverage matchup. Among their victims during the winning streak were Royals southpaws Danny Duffy and Jason Vargas, and White Sox lefty Jose Quintana.

Right-handed hitters, however, were batting just .232 (23-for-99) off Keuchel for the season, a stark reversal from his previous seasons. With a sharp breaking ball, he had a pitch to throw hitters off from the right side, and he threw a lot of them.

The only game the Astros won against Detroit last year was a game Keuchel started, even though he ended up with a no-decision. Just as in that game, Keuchel gave up his damage early on Thursday, yielding a Castellanos RBI double in the second inning before Victor Martinez turned on an 0-2 pitch for the second time in as many games for a fourth-inning solo homer.

From there, however, Keuchel settled in, retiring eight batters in a row without allowing a ball out of the infield. He induced 13 ground-ball outs, including five during that definitive stretch.

"I really don't want to hang everything on Drew Smyly; really, the credit goes to Keuchel, the way he pitched," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "He kept guys off balance. He threw fastballs for strikes on both sides, mixed four pitches with a cutter, curve and change in there as well. And he really just pitched an outstanding game, kept the ball down. We did not make very much hard contact off him, so it's more about him than it is about what Smyly was doing."

Said Keuchel: "I was getting those guys up. They were giving me a bunch of first-pitch strikes, and I was trying to take advantage of that, and judging by some of those swings, it was pretty good today."

It was during that stretch that the Astros made their move against Smyly, who had allowed a lone walk and an infield single over his first 4 1/3 innings. He threw a first-pitch fastball to George Springer, who jumped it. The result was an opposite-field line drive that looked like something off Miguel Cabrera's bat, easily clearing the right-field wall near the 365-foot marker, the same area where Springer nearly took a home run away from Cabrera on Wednesday night.

Springer's first career homer was a sign of life from an Astros lineup that barely scored at all in the early innings of the series. It was not a big deal for Smyly. The baserunners after that were.

Smyly retired Matt Dominguez, but a two-out walk to No. 8 hitter Carlos Corporan extended the inning. Up came L.J. Hoes, who had hit an 0-2 pitch to shortstop and legged out a single in his first at-bat. He saw two sliders, both up in the strike zone, and lined the second to left field to put the go-ahead run on base.

Up came Altuve, arguably the one proven hitter in Houston's lineup. Smyly put him in an 0-2 count; he just couldn't finish him off.

Altuve didn't chase the fastball up, fouled off the fastball in and didn't chase the fastball just off the plate as much of the crowd of 35,643 howled for a strike call.

"He's making the calls back there," Smyly said of home-plate umpire Mike Muchlinski. "He thought it was a ball. End of story."

Altuve fouled off the high fastball and the slider off the plate to stay alive. Smyly went back to the slider, tried to get it inside and paid for it when he didn't.

"It just wasn't as sharp as it has been," Smyly (2-2) said. "I just couldn't really bury it. I was throwing it for strikes for the most part, but when I needed that good two-strike breaking ball, it wasn't really there. It kind of just stayed up.

"The only pitch that beat me was that Altuve at-bat. Those happen. You have to be the one to win that, especially with two outs and two runners on base. That's the difference in the game."

It was the Astros' first lead since Saturday against Seattle, and the Tigers' first deficit since Omar Infante tripled and scored against Rick Porcello last Friday at Kansas City. This time, it stuck, thanks in large part to Keuchel's strong work and a huge groundout from Detroit-area native Anthony Bass against Cabrera with two outs and the tying run at the plate in the eighth.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sat May 10, 2014 6:23 pm

Tigers can't pick up Verlander in loss to Twins
Right-hander fires seven strong innings, yields two-run single in 7th

By Matt Slovin / MLB.com | 5/10/2014 12:45 AM ET

BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- Justin Verlander blinked first as Twins starter Phil Hughes brought the heat in Minnesota's 2-1 win over Detroit on Friday night in the series opener at Comerica Park.

"He was pounding the zone," catcher Alex Avila said of Hughes, who earned his fourth straight victory. "He had great stuff today as far as the command of his fastball. It was like invisible."

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus estimated that 95 percent of Hughes' 86 pitches were either four-seam fastballs or cutters with only "a handful" of curveballs sprinkled in. Hughes, a 2010 All-Star, lasted seven innings in his second win against Detroit in as many tries this season. He also beat the Tigers on April 26 at Target Field.

Even though the Tigers knew Hughes wouldn't throw much of anything offspeed, they still couldn't catch up. The eight hits Hughes surrendered were mostly harmless. In five innings, including the ninth, Detroit left a man in scoring position.

"Phil had it all under control," Torii Hunter said. "He threw strikes early in the game and kept us off-balance with the cutter he has. He had an explosive fastball. We just couldn't really do anything with it today. I think he hit his spots, threw strikes. We couldn't find a rhythm."

Avila said Hughes' cutter has overhauled his repertoire. Hughes is no stranger to the Tigers lineup, and his offspeed stuff that they had seen before wasn't there tonight.

"He just spotted up with both those pitches today," Avila said of the fastball and cutter. "That was the best command that I've ever seen him throw."

Hughes even managed to overshadow Verlander on a night when the Tigers' ace was his usual, dominant self. The right-hander was handed his first loss against the Twins since April 27, 2010, and entered 9-0 with three no-decisions and a 2.09 ERA over his previous 12 starts against them dating to July 9, 2000.

"Coming into the series, you want to set the tone, and you know you're facing a guy who is a dominant pitcher, so you want to throw up some zeros and give your team a chance," Hughes said. "I feel like I was able to do that tonight."

The game was scoreless heading into the seventh inning, when Verlander ran into the trouble that eventually snapped his five-game unbeaten streak.

Kurt Suzuki connected for a two-run single with two outs which turned out to be all the support Hughes needed to continue his personal win streak. Avila noted one of Verlander's few mistakes was the first-pitch changeup he threw to Danny Santana, who singled and scored on Suzuki's hit.

"He pitched well," Ausmus said. "It's tough to hold a team to zeros forever. He did more than give us a chance to win."

That chance finally came in the ninth.

Austin Jackson led off with a double down the third-base line for the Tigers' first extra-base hit of the night. Before Jackson's hit, Twins pitchers had retired eight consecutive batters.

Avila's double to left that bounced off the glove of a leaping Jason Kubel scored Jackson. But Avila, the potential tying run, was stranded at second as Twins closer Glen Perkins retired J.D. Martinez and Rajai Davis to end the game.

"Until the last inning, it didn't seem like we were able to string a few hits together," Ausmus said. "We'd get one or two, but we couldn't get a third."

A day after having their eight-game winning streak snapped by the Astros, the Tigers' offense was dormant for the second consecutive game.

A big reason why Verlander managed to keep Minnesota scoreless through six innings was the glove of third baseman Nick Castellanos. The 22-year-old kept busy all night as Verlander mostly kept the ball down, inducing grounders.

The Twins knocked back-to-back singles in the third, and Trevor Plouffe followed by smoking one that appeared to be headed for the left-field corner.

Castellanos had other ideas.

The third baseman leapt up and came down with the ball in the webbing of his glove, saving at least one run. Castellanos then fielded Chris Colabello's grounder and fired to first to end the inning.

"He's been very solid at third base for us," Ausmus said.

Later, in the fifth, it appeared that the Tigers were in business when Ian Kinsler and Hunter singled in consecutive at-bats. But Hughes got Miguel Cabrera to fly out to center on the first pitch, ending the threat.

Like the fire alarm that briefly disrupted play in the ninth inning, the back-to-back losses are nothing to worry about, according to Hunter. The small mechanical fire in a janitor's closet that triggered the interruption was taken care of. In Hunter's estimation, the Tigers' struggles at the plate will be, too.

"You think about it tonight, and come back with amnesia tomorrow," Hunter said.

Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Mon May 12, 2014 1:52 am

Miggy, V-Mart power up to back Scherzer
Righty gives up three runs in six; Tigers explode with six-run second

By Matt Slovin / MLB.com | 5/10/2014 5:57 PM ET

BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- On Jim Leyland Day at Comerica Park, it's fitting that the Tigers lived on the three-run homer.

With the former manager in attendance as the guest of honor, Detroit's offense looked revitalized Saturday afternoon in a 9-3 win over Minnesota. And resembling those Leyland-managed clubs, teams that thrived on the long ball, the Tigers blasted a pair of three-run shots.

"Leyland always played for the three-run bomb," Detroit starter Max Scherzer said, "so we hit two of them."

Aided by Miguel Cabrera's three-run home run off Kyle Gibson, the first homer he had allowed this season, the American League's top offense chased the Twins' starter from the game with a six-run second inning.

Cabrera's homer placed him in a tie with Gil Hodges for 73rd on the all-time home run list with 370. He has three home runs and nine RBIs in his past five games.

Cleanup hitter Victor Martinez, Cabrera's partner-in-crime, launched a three-run blast of his own in the seventh inning to put the game out of reach. It was Martinez's eighth home run of the season.

The support was plenty for Scherzer to pick up his fourth consecutive win over Minnesota, and fifth win on the season, tying Rick Porcello for the team lead.

The Tigers' lineup began showing signs of life in the ninth inning of Friday night's game, when a late rally fell short after Phil Hughes dominated for seven innings. Saturday afternoon, those signs of life turned into a hit parade, as Detroit batted around in the second.

With three Tigers runs already on the board, Torii Hunter hit a routine grounder to shortstop Danny Santana, whose throw to second for an attempted force wasn't in time. Second baseman Brian Dozier then threw home to try and catch Alex Avila, but the toss was well wide of home plate, and the runners advanced. Cabrera, the next batter, brought Andrew Romine and Hunter home with his homer.

"They made the mistake of not ending that inning," Scherzer said. "When he comes up, he's going to make you pay."

Dozier countered in the top of the third with a three-run homer of his own -- his ninth of the season. Like Kurt Suzuki in the first inning, Dozier skied one to left. But left fielder Don Kelly, who likely robbed Suzuki of a blast with a leaping grab, could only watch Dozier's sail over the fence.

Scherzer settled in after Dozier's homer, allowing only two more hits the rest of the afternoon for a total of five in six innings. Though he struggled to command the strike zone at times, he still easily outpitched Gibson, his fellow former University of Missouri standout. It didn't hurt that the Twins stranded four men in scoring position against Scherzer.

"We put some good at-bats together against him, but you can't spot a Cy Young Award winner six runs," Dozier said. "We had a lot of opportunities to score some runs, but he got nasty with runners in scoring position."

Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said Scherzer never quite figured out his mechanics, which caused him to have a hard time placing the ball.

"He just couldn't consistently get his release point to put the ball where he wanted to in the strike zone," Ausmus said.

Still, Scherzer struck out six, including the last two batters he faced, to secure his seventh quality start in eight outings this season.

Al Alburquerque, Joba Chamberlain and Phil Coke each pitched a scoreless inning in relief.

After allowing the leadoff man in the ninth to reach via a single, Coke got the next batter, Dozier, to ground into a double play. With the six-run cushion, Ausmus seized the opportunity to give Coke an inning of work, which lowered his ERA to 8.31.

"Right now, we just want him to go out there and get outs and feel confident that he can get outs," Ausmus said. "Once he starts doing that again, I think he'll be more comfortable in tighter games, tighter situations. … You hope that this is where the ball starts rolling."

The Tigers set up Sunday's matinee to be the rubber match.

"It's very special," Cabrera said of winning with Leyland in attendance. "We've got to win the series tomorrow."

Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Mon May 12, 2014 1:56 am

Ray's second start encouraging, but 'pen falters
Rookie gives up four hits in six scoreless; Chamberlain falters in eighth

By Matt Slovin / MLB.com | 5/11/2014 6:55 PM ET

BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- Robbie Ray had the perfect Mother's Day gift neatly wrapped, but the Tigers' bullpen couldn't deliver it.

"I was one pitch away," said Detroit setup man Joba Chamberlain, who took the loss in the 4-3 series finale against the Twins on Sunday.

Lori Ray, part of a sellout crowd of 40,468 at Comerica Park, watched her son pitch six dazzling, scoreless innings in his second big league start. Ray retired the first seven batters he faced and gave up only four hits.

But in the seventh inning, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus turned the ball over to Al Alburquerque, who gave up a single to Josmil Pinto. Lefty Ian Krol came on and gave up two more hits, and a run scored, cutting into Detroit's three-run lead.

The brunt of the damage came in the eighth. Chamberlain, who had gone six straight appearances without surrendering a run, was wild from the first batter he faced. He beaned Brian Dozier then walked Joe Mauer. After two strikeouts, it looked like he might get out of trouble, and Chamberlain found himself one more strike away from a massive escape. But Pinto singled to left and left fielder Rajai Davis misplayed the ball, which rolled to the wall to allow both runs to score.

According to Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, Davis' miscue came because the ball "hit something in the grass and bounced up."

Davis didn't see anything out there, though, besides a ball that just took a bad bounce.

"It just hopped up over my glove," Davis said. "Tough play. Unfortunate. It's tough to anticipate a hop like that in the outfield."

Eduardo Nunez followed with a single, driving in the decisive fourth run.

"That one hurts," Chamberlain said. "Robbie pitched his tail off."

Only twice did Minnesota put a runner in scoring position against Ray, and in his only rocky frame, he even got a bit of luck. In the sixth with two men on, Trevor Plouffe hit a liner off Ray's glove that caromed directly to shortstop Andrew Romine, setting up an inning-ending double play.

Though he said his curveball still has plenty of room to improve, and Ausmus agreed, Ray was proud of the way he mixed speeds Sunday. His comfort level with his changeup allowed him to throw it in big situations.

"It was working for me today," Ray said of his best offspeed pitch. "I was pretty happy with it."

The Tigers took the lead in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Miguel Cabrera that scored Ian Kinsler, who had doubled. Kinsler also homered off Twins starter Samuel Deduno in the fifth inning.

In the fourth inning, singles by Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Austin Jackson gave Ray a 2-0 cushion. The inning had potential to lead to even more insurance, but a ground ball hit Jackson in between second and third, forcing Martinez to remain at third. Davis grounded out to end the threat.

The missed opportunity came back to haunt the Tigers as soon as Ray's day ended, and Detroit dropped its first series since April 11-13 at San Diego.

Ausmus said that he's still pleased with a 4-3 homestand, though his mood would've been better had they won the finale. Still, plenty of good came from the week at home, not the least of which was the emergence of Ray as a potential future standout.

Last Tuesday against the Astros, Ray pitched 5 1/3 innings of five-hit, one-run ball. Sunday, he again gave fans reason to remember his name, regardless of when or where his next start will be.

"I don't know if I could ask for more," Ray said of his first week in the Majors. "Maybe a [complete game]."

It's unclear if Ray will have another opportunity to start for the big league club any time soon. He was inserted into the rotation due to Anibal Sanchez's lacerated finger, and Sanchez is aiming for a return on May 18 in Boston.

If Sanchez stays on target, which will be determined by his simulated game on Tuesday in Baltimore, Ray will either stick with the Tigers in the bullpen or head back to Triple-A Toledo to continue as a starter.

Ray said he'd be fine with either option, but Ausmus seemed to hint he'd rather see him making starts in the Minors.

"Generally speaking, if you want him to be a starter at the Major League level, he needs to pitch as a starter,"


Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Wed May 14, 2014 12:08 am

Porcello sets down O's before heated eighth
Righty goes six strong innings; Hunter, Norris exchange words

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 5/13/2014 1:08 AM ET

BOX SCORE

BALTIMORE -- For the first time in Rick Porcello's career, he's a winner at Camden Yards. The way his season is going, he's getting a lot of breakthrough wins.

Seven starts in, the latest a 4-1 win over the Orioles on Monday night, this has the makings of the breakthrough season that many had wondered would be coming from him sooner or later.

"It's baseball. You don't rush to judgment over six weeks. But he's certainly pitched well," manager Brad Ausmus said.

It almost got lost in the emotions over Bud Norris' eighth-inning fastball to Torii Hunter's ribs -- two pitches after Ian Kinsler's two-run homer built the final margin of victory -- and the argument that ensued, culminating in an ejection for Norris and a shouting match between Hunter and the Orioles' dugout.

For that matter, it almost got lost when Ian Krol had to battle Nick Markakis to strand the tying run on third base with two outs in the seventh inning, just after Ausmus pulled Porcello as a precaution with tightness in his side.

Considering where Porcello stands on Detroit's staff, maybe it's natural for his work to get overlooked. Yet on a staff that boasts two of the last three American League Cy Young Award winners and the reigning AL ERA champion, Porcello (6-1) leads the team in wins. In fact, only Toronto's Mark Buehrle, who picked up his seventh win Monday night, has more.

"I feel good," Porcello said. "I think there's a lot of things I can keep improving on. I want to keep getting better, don't want to plateau. We're playing good baseball right now. We need to keep it going. I think as long as we all stay consistent, we should keep playing like this."

Porcello has won his last five starts, four of them going six innings or more with two runs or less. His WHIP of 1.03 ranks fourth in the AL. His .267 on-base percentage allowed ranks sixth. His ratio of 1.21 walks per nine innings is lower than anyone in the league besides David Price, and his 4.83 strikeout-to-walk ratio ranks just outside the AL's top five.

It's early, but this might well be the maturation into the pitcher many hoped Porcello would become after his rookie season. It's coming in his sixth Major League campaign, but at the relatively young age of 25.

"He's the same pitcher. He's a lot more polished," said Kinsler, who spent five years hitting against him before playing behind him this season. "He's commanding his pitches a lot better. He has a better idea of what he needs to do to be successful. I think he understands how to get over that hump in the middle of a game. And as we've seen this year, he's gotten stronger in starts as the game's gone on."

Two of Porcello's six wins this year have come against an Orioles lineup with the kind of left-handed power hitters that used to hit him hard. In both cases, he pitched six innings or more of one-run ball, not racking up strikeouts but not giving up an abundance of base hits, either.

"We knew what he was going to do coming in," said O's manager Buck Showalter. "They have the type of pitchers you know what they're going to do coming in, and they're still able to do it because it's not just one thing you're looking for."

This time, it wasn't the Orioles who knocked him out. It was Ausmus, who pulled him after 83 pitches after he took note of what they hope is a minor injury.

"He fought me. He wanted to stay in," Ausmus said. "Certainly that final inning he threw, he looked strong, but I just think it being May, out of precaution I took him out of the game."

The only run off Porcello came in an adventurous second inning, when Steve Clevenger doubled over Rajai Davis' head into the left-field corner to drive in J.J. Hardy. Andrew Romine's throwing error continued the inning, but Porcello ended the threat with a groundout to first, stumbling to cover the bag but getting the out.

From there, Porcello rolled, allowing three singles over the next four innings but permitting none of them to advance from there. He struck out just two batters, but took advantage of nine ground-ball outs and some well-timed flyouts from Baltimore's power hitters.

The O's went 2-for-9 their first time through the order against Porcello. They were 3-for-15 after that, and that signifies as much of a key as anything. He entered the night allowing a .304 batting average and .826 OPS for his career the second time through a batting order. This season, he's holding them to 10-for-61 (.164).

"I think I've caught some breaks this year early on, which have helped me out," he said. "I think just consistency with all my pitches has been a little bit different than years past. I have a couple more pitches that I can throw in situations. I think having a little bit larger of a repertoire now, being able to change speeds a little better, has definitely helped."

His offense, meanwhile, rallied to put him in front with two outs in the fourth. Though Norris held Detroit hitless until Miguel Cabrera dumped a single into center field with one out in the fourth, the hit came with Kinsler on third, allowing him to score easily to tie the game. Victor Martinez's double moved Cabrera to third for Austin Jackson's sac fly.

Kinsler went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs, including his fourth home run of the year to complete the two-out rally in the eighth, though the drama for the inning was just getting started.

Norris was ejected after hitting Hunter two pitches later, prompting the benches to clear.

"The guy had control," Hunter said. "I was actually thinking he's got good stuff today, he's pitching pretty well. And boy, he just all of a sudden lost it? I mean, get in front of a pitching machine -- I want all the people out there to get in front of a pitching machine, put it on 94 [mph], just hold your ribs up and take one, see what turns out for you."

The two engaged in a shouting match on Hunter's way to first base, and again after Norris exited to the Orioles' dugout.

"Obviously he didn't like it," Norris said. "He's entitled to his opinion, but I think he did overreact a little bit. I didn't like the first swing he took on my slider, so I didn't think I was going to jump out to the other half of the plate again."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sat May 17, 2014 12:56 am

Miggy hits ninth-inning blast to rally Tigers
After Detroit wins challenge earlier in inning, slugger comes through

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 5/14/2014 1:01 AM ET

BOX SCORE

BALTIMORE -- Miguel Cabrera called it. No, not that.

A few batters before he stepped to the plate with two outs in the ninth on Tuesday night, Cabrera teased Orioles fans behind the Tigers' dugout about the replay challenge taking place at second base.

"They started screaming," Cabrera said, "like, 'He's going to be out! He's going to be out!' I said, 'No, he's going to be safe. He was safe.'"

After further review, Rajai Davis was safe. Three batters later, Cabrera broke their hearts by hitting a home run.

As his go-ahead, three-run homer cleared the fence in left-center field at Camden Yards, sending the Tigers on their way to a 4-1 comeback victory, Cabrera dropped Austin Jackson's jaw in amazement. It was Cabrera's 13th career go-ahead home run in the ninth inning or later, and Jackson has seen many of them. He's always in awe.

"Each time," Jackson said afterwards, still smiling. "In that situation, it definitely does. That's not easy to do anytime, but especially in a clutch, clutch situation."

Jackson was on base the last time Cabrera hit a game-changing home run off a closer. That was last Aug. 9, at Yankee Stadium against the great Mariano Rivera.

"That's what it reminded me of," Jackson said.

He wasn't the only one thinking of that. When Torii Hunter saw Cabrera homer off Rivera that night, he was nearly speechless. When he stepped to the plate Tuesday against Orioles closer Tommy Hunter with Cabrera on deck, all he could think about was giving him a chance to do it again.

"Once I battled [out of a 1-2 count], got myself back, I said, 'All right, Miggy's coming up,'" Torii Hunter said. "That's what I want to do, just battle. Either I hit the homer or hit a double, or get Miggy up to the plate. That was the perfect scenario."

Cabrera realizes the scenario. He just can't think of it that way.

"It's a chance to win or lose. You don't want to think too much of it and be afraid to fail," Cabrera said. "You have to go out there and try, see what happens."

The Tigers were hoping not to have to rely on the long ball as much, and they largely haven't. After seven 1-0 losses last season, including the playoffs, they were in line for their first on Tuesday.

The Tigers geared their offense this year towards finding different ways to score when they need runs most. After struggling for eight innings to manufacture a run against Ubaldo Jimenez and the Orioles' bullpen, hampered by three outs on the basepaths, they built their biggest ninth-inning rally so far this season the usual way.

"To be honest, we don't want to be in that situation," Cabrera said. "We want to have the lead in the ninth."

They'll take it. Clearly, so will Cabrera, who spent most of April trying to work on his swing to get that kind of power back. It was his latest game-changing homer, but it was arguably his most satisfying.

For eight innings, it was another home run that stood as the difference. Drew Smyly felt he threw a good 3-1 fastball on the inside corner to Adam Jones, but Jones pulled it down the left-field line for his fifth home run of the year.

"At that point, it's the first inning," Smyly said. "I wanted him to hit it. I wasn't trying to fool him. He turned on it pretty good. It stinks that it went out."

Smyly kept the Orioles squandering opportunities from there, stranding the bases loaded in the third, but he never pitched with an even score from there. Jimenez flustered his former American League Central foes by allowing just three baserunners over the first six innings, erasing two of them on strike 'em out, throw 'em out double plays.

The Tigers didn't get a runner into scoring position until the seventh, when Torii Hunter hit a leadoff single and Cabrera drew a four-pitch walk. Jimenez was out of it two pitches later with Hunter thrown out trying to take third base on a pitch in the dirt, followed by a Martinez double play.

They got another chance in the ninth with Alex Avila's leadoff single, but nearly had a fourth baserunning out. It took a 2-minute, 18-second review, but an angle on replay showed pinch-runner Davis seemingly getting his hand to the bag ahead of J.J. Hardy's tag. The overturned call gave the Tigers just their second runner in scoring position.

Just as important, it gave them another out with Cabrera looming three batters away. As Torii Hunter stepped to the plate with two outs, showered by boos from Orioles fans for his benches-clearing argument with Bud Norris on Monday, that was his focus.

The other Hunter, a pitch away from the save, was thinking along the same lines.

"You can't let arguably one of the best hitters in the game come to the plate," Tommy Hunter said. "You've got to throw a strike right there, and I missed."

With nowhere to put the two-time reigning AL MVP, Hunter tried speeding up his bat with an inside fastball to set up a curveball. Cabrera said he anticipated that.

"When he threw me the inside pitch, I knew he was probably going to throw away or something like that," Cabrera said. "After that, I want to put a good swing on the ball."

Said Tommy Hunter: "I just didn't get it down. I throw curveballs to everybody. I'm not going to change up my game plan. I've got a fastball and a curveball. He hit it."

Cabrera drove it over the fence in left-center for his sixth home run of the season and a 3-1 lead. Martinez followed with a no-doubt drive onto Eutaw Street beyond right field, the first Tigers home run to land there since Mickey Tettleton hit one off Ben McDonald in Camden Yards' inaugural season of 1992.

Justin Miller (1-0), who pitched two innings of scoreless relief, suddenly was in line for his first Major League win. Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his ninth save.

Smyly got a no-decision for his six innings of one-run ball. He'll take it.

"I feel like when he doesn't do it, you're just so used to him getting a home run or a clutch hit," Smyly said. "I thank Miggy every day I get to be his teammate. He's the best player there is, especially in a moment like that."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sat May 17, 2014 1:12 am


Bottom of the order lifts Tigers to sweep over O's
Holaday, Worth combine for four hits, two RBIs to back Verlander

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 5/14/2014 6:50 PM ET

BOX SCORE

BALTIMORE -- The fourth-inning fastball behind Nelson Cruz's back slipped, Justin Verlander said. So, nearly, did the lead an inning later. And suddenly, the road warrior Tigers had a battle on their hands.


"I think he helped us make an adjustment," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "[It] kind of got everybody on a different intensity level after he threw at Nelson."

Of all the challenges the Tigers have faced on their way to baseball's best road record, this might have been their best since Joe Nathan's dead-arm phase in Los Angeles a month ago. Like so many other times this year, they answered, seeing a six-run lead whittled but never erased for a 7-5 victory Wednesday over the O's at Camden Yards.

The Tigers have won three consecutive division titles by dominating opponents at Comerica Park. They headed to Boston for Thursday's off-day and the weekend's American League Championship Series rematch with the best record in baseball at 24-12 on the strength of an 11-4 record away from Detroit. Their eight-game road winning streak is their longest since May of 2006, the stretch that elevated them from a hot start to legit contenders, and the fifth-longest in franchise history.

"I think that's the part where we stay together, we stay within ourselves and we're having fun," said Joe Nathan, who closed out all three wins in the series. "When you go on the road, into a hostile environment, and everybody else is against you, you really need to stick together as a team moreso. And I think that part of us enjoying this game is really important when we're on the road."

The Tigers swept a three-game series in Baltimore for the first time since 2005, and they did it with variety. After winning Monday's series opener on Rick Porcello's latest strong start, and rallying Tuesday on the power of Miguel Cabrera's ninth-inning home run, they picked the O's apart.

"You want to win the series," manager Brad Ausmus said. "It's increasingly tough on the road. To come away with a sweep against a very good team like the Orioles is a huge bonus. We'll get out of town before they decide to add a fourth game to the series."

Between Verlander's standing and Kevin Gausman's spot start, Wednesday's end result wasn't a surprise. The way they got there was anything but expected.

It figured, then, that on a day when backup catcher Bryan Holaday scored twice and drove in another run, utility infielder Danny Worth turned Ausmus' first called squeeze bunt into an RBI single and Victor Martinez stole his second base of the year, the Orioles would finally get to Verlander in a stadium he has largely owned.

It figured, too, that the Tigers might have set up some of that themselves. And that's when the factors that Nathan talked about came into play.

"There's no panic in this team," Nathan said. "Everyone here is relaxed, goes out, plays the game and enjoys the game, which is the most important thing."

They enjoyed it as they pieced together one run after another off hard-throwing Orioles prospect Gausman, whose fastball gave them fits for 2 1/3 innings before they got to him in the third. Cabrera got his RBI opportunity again, stepping to the plate with the bases loaded in the third inning, but it was a simple two-out single that delivered two runs of damage and put Detroit ahead for good once again.

An inning later, the Tigers used a double steal to put runners in scoring position for Holaday's second single of the game and Worth's squeeze.

Holaday had laid down a bunt with a runner on third last road trip in Chicago, but he had done so on his own, even though Ausmus had tried to call for it. This time, the call was clear.

"There's certain guys you know can handle a squeeze," Ausmus said, "and [Worth is] one of them."

Worth's roller down the first-base line not only scored Don Kelly, it left O's first baseman Chris Davis with no play at first. The extra out led to another run on Rajai Davis' sacrifice fly.

Once Kelly singled home Martinez in the top of the fifth, Verlander had a 6-0 lead at a ballpark where he was unbeaten in seven career outings. But by the time the fifth inning was over, he was holding on at 6-5.

All five runs scored with two outs, and all four hits in the rally came on breaking balls. But it was the fastball behind Cruz an inning earlier, coming off Monday's benches-clearing incident after Bud Norris hit Torii Hunter, that the O's say got them going.

"We knew it was going to come at some point this series," Steve Clevenger said. "It is what it is. And it kind of fired us up and woke us up a bit."

Verlander insisted it wasn't intentional. Cruz, who gestured to the mound afterward, might have disputed that.

Cruz singled on the next pitch, but couldn't get a run in. Once Manny Machado walked to extend the fifth, three consecutive run-scoring hits from the middle of the Orioles order knocked him around. Cruz's three-run home run came on a curveball that was diving for the dirt.

"I think it was going to bounce," Holaday said. "But he's a great hitter."

Verlander settled down from there to last six innings, and Rajai Davis' home run added a cushion. Three more times, however, the O's brought the tying or go-ahead runs to the plate against Detroit's bullpen.

Joba Chamberlain brushed off a close pitch for ball four to ninth hitter David Lough to strand the bases loaded against Nick Markakis in the eighth inning, leaving Markakis hitless for the series. Nathan didn't get the called third strike he wanted on Chris Davis in the ninth, bringing up ex-teammate Cruz for one more chance as the would-be tying run, but the closer escaped with a groundout.

It was another win close to home for Verlander, who improved to 7-0 in eight starts at Camden Yards. It was another road challenge met for Detroit.


"Winning as a team is what matters, and obviously today was a great team effort," Verlander said.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sat May 17, 2014 1:25 am

Scherzer outduels Lester as Tigers blank Red Sox
In ALCS rematch, '13 Cy Young winner dominant before 'pen seals win

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 5/17/2014 1:23 AM ET

BOX SCORE

BOSTON -- This time, there was no dramatic home run to be found for the Red Sox.

The way Max Scherzer mixed and matched his pitches Friday night, his toughest opponent was going to be a downpour on Fenway Park. And he even outlasted that. Once Detroit's bullpen held on after his six-plus scoreless innings, the Tigers had the 1-0 shutout over the Red Sox they needed last October.

It came about seven months too late to help the Tigers' World Series hopes in 2013. It was right on time to keep the Tigers' 2014 season -- and Scherzer's American League Cy Young Award sequel season -- rolling.

"We played those guys in the [AL Championship Series] last year," Red Sox starter Jon Lester said, "and nobody talked about us and we beat them. And now they're trying to right the ship over there and do what they were supposed to do to us last year. I look at it that way."

They can't get to the World Series in the middle of May. They can make their path in that direction easier. The fist pump Scherzer gave out on his way off the mound in the sixth, having caught Mike Napoli looking at a changeup for a called third strike to end another Red Sox threat, suggested this win was pretty important.

Scherzer didn't want to overinflate the importance afterwards. But it wasn't just another regular-season win, either. It was their first 1-0 win against any team since they opened the ALCS here with one last October. It was their first such win in a regular-season game at Fenway since 1976.

"It's a great one, especially against a team like that," he said. "I didn't pitch my best, but when runners were on base and I needed big pitches, I made big pitches. That's the difference in the game."

It's also a microcosm of teams heading in two different directions in the followup season. While the Red Sox fell under .500 with the loss, the Tigers picked up their ninth straight road win and their fourth consecutive win overall. They own the best record in the Majors at 25-12, and they're 12-4 away from Comerica Park.

Not since the Tigers' record 35-5 mark in 1984 have they started out this hot.


"If you go out there -- I don't care if you're at home or on the road -- and play good baseball, then you can win games," Scherzer said. "If we get good pitching, the way we have been, with this offense, we can beat anybody in anybody's place."

This wasn't just any place. Fenway Park was where their World Series hopes ended last fall, not just for a season, but for a manager. This was where losing set changes in motion. And yet in the first game of their rematch, they ended up in a familiar spot.

Scherzer (6-1) has been at the heart of that good pitching, and not just for wins in six consecutive starts. He has allowed six runs on 25 hits over 39 innings in his last seven starts, striking out 48 in that stretch. Friday might have seen some of his best pitching of the stretch.

"This is might have been the best his stuff has been all year, really," manager Brad Ausmus said.

He needed it.

Though Torii Hunter, whose tumble into the Boston bullpen while trying to rob David Ortiz of a grand slam became the snapshot of last postseason, put the Tigers in front in the opening inning by singling home Ian Kinsler, Detroit had its chance for more. When Lester struck out Alex Avila to strand the bases, it had the feeling of a missed opportunity destined to haunt them later.

"You definitely want to get more," Ausmus said. "I mean, I wish we would've scored 10 runs in the first inning. But Jon Lester's a pretty darn good pitcher. Good pitchers have a knack for getting out of jams, and that's what he did."

Instead of haunting them, it simply stressed them for the rest of the evening. It loomed as Scherzer waited for the rains to subside in the top of the fourth, having plowed through the Red Sox order with no hits, a walk and five strikeouts to that point.

He had waited through a 53-minute delay two years ago and came back fresh. He could wait through 47 minutes this time.

"My arm was feeling good, I had a good sweat, and I hadn't thrown a taxing pitch yet," Scherzer said.

That lone run loomed after the delay, once Ortiz belted a changeup to the fence in right-center for Boston's first hit with two outs in the fourth, then advanced to scoring position on Napoli's four-pitch walk. Scherzer still had his stuff, but not the control he wanted. He had enough to send down Mike Carp on three different pitches -- changeup fouled off for strike zone, fastball in the zone for strike two, then a curveball in the dirt that Carp swung at for strike three.

The next time Ortiz came up in the sixth, that 1-0 gap was still there. And as Scherzer regrouped from one of his biggest pitches of the night, ending an eight-pitch battle with Grady Sizemore with a double play, that thin margin led Ausmus to call for the walk to Ortiz with the tying run on third, putting the go-ahead run on for Napoli.

"Papi's had good success against Scherzer, and he's extremely hot right now," Ausmus said.

Napoli, by contrast, was 1-for-16 off Scherzer. And while Scherzer didn't have his best changeup, he had enough of it to fan Napoli.

"In that situation, I'd shown him fastball-slider all night," Scherzer said. "I felt that I could excute the changeup right here, this was the pitch."

Scherzer allowed three hits with four walks and seven strikeouts before Carp's leadoff single in the seventh chased him. With a one-run lead, Ausmus trusted his bullpen.

This time, the bullpen held. Lefty Ian Krol, who wasn't part of last year's relief corps, came on against pinch-hitter A.J. Pierzynski with two on and escaped with a double play. Joba Chamberlain tossed a perfect eighth with Ortiz looming on deck if a runner got on.

Joe Nathan, signed in the wake of last year's bullpen struggles, worked the ninth for his 11th save. He had to get Ortiz as his first hitter to do it.

"I think that's the first time ever I threw a changeup in a one-run game," Nathan said. "Eventually, I got him on a backdoor curveball."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun May 18, 2014 1:36 am

Porcello stymies Red Sox for sixth straight win
Cabrera homers, has two RBIs to back righty, who improves to 7-1

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 5/18/2014 12:01 AM ET

BOX SCORE

BOSTON -- The last time Rick Porcello pitched at Fenway Park, he took the loss in relief in Game 2 of the 2013 American League Championship Series. He couldn't crack Detroit's postseason rotation, thus placing him in a nearly unwinnable situation of following Joaquin Benoit after David Ortiz's game-tying grand slam that night.

Seven months later, Porcello is looking nearly unbeatable. After eight innings of one-run ball in Saturday night's 6-1 Tigers win over the Red Sox, he owns a 7-1 record with a 2.91 ERA, with top-10 stats in several secondary categories. The reasons why were on display.

"The real story was Rick," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "That was probably his best outing."

Porcello's not only pitching like a front-line starter on a staff that includes two Cy Young Award winners and the reigning AL ERA champion, he might be putting together an early case for All-Star consideration.

"It's May," Porcello shrugged. "I've said before, this is a marathon, it's not a sprint. ... The most important thing to me right now is that we're in first place and we're playing good ball. That's huge. We want to keep that going."

The Tigers' success wasn't necessarily a surprise, though at 26-12, they're continuing their best start since 1984, including a 10-game road winning streak that's also their best in 30 years.

Porcello's success has thrown opponents a curveball. He's succeeding, in part, because he's throwing opponents very good curveballs. He pulled off a fifth-inning escape to stay in line for his sixth consecutive win because he threw David Ortiz one.

The same team that pounded Porcello last season by sitting on his sinker never found its comfort zone.

"I think the big thing for him is the fact that his secondary stuff has gotten so much better," pitching coach Jeff Jones said. "His changeup is really good. His curveball's good. He's using his cutter wisely. I think it's a combination of a lot of different things, and realizing when you get into situations where things start to go south a little bit, what to do to fix it."

Jones has seen Porcello grow up. He was on the coaching staff when Porcello cracked the rotation at age 20, becoming a mentor. As he thought about Porcello's latest win, he had to smile.

"He's learned a lot about himself since he's been in the big leagues," Jones said. "Learned how to get out of situations, stay out of big innings."

It wasn't just the 2013 ALCS that made Fenway a house of horrors for Porcello. His first start here in 2009 was the game in which Kevin Youkilis charged the mound in the second inning, igniting a brawl that led to both being ejected. His last start here was a 20-4 loss last Sept. 4 in which he gave up nine runs over five-plus innings, including home runs by three of the first 13 batters he faced.

"Everybody gets their butt kicked," Porcello said. "The difference is how well you can rebound from it."

One of those homers was a line drive by Ortiz to tie the game in the fourth inning. As Porcello stood on the mound with two outs and a runner on in the fifth Saturday, having already allowed a Xander Bogaerts solo homer to put the Red Sox on the scoreboard, the situation felt similiar.

Porcello briefly struggled to keep his sinkerball down, not only with Bogaerts' homer but with three other hard-hit line drives the previous couple innings. His usual ground-ball out was hard to find, and with Dustin Pedroia on first in a 2-1 game, he needed an out against Ortiz.

"He's arguably one of the best left-handed power hitters of all time," Porcello said. "You can't fall into patterns against a guy like that. You have to be able to mix it up. Honestly, in that situation, I just felt like I can't let him hurt me. This is the one guy in their lineup that has got the ability to go deep on any pitch in any situation."

Porcello had a 2-0 count, then got Ortiz to foul off back-to-back pitches to get back to even. He couldn't induce Ortiz to chase a high fastball, running the count full, but his curveball in the dirt got Ortiz to bite.

"We were trying to mix it up, trying to move the fastball in and out, change speeds on him," Porcello continued. "I was fortunate enough to get a checked swing on a 3-2 breaking ball."

The sinkerballing Porcello has felt confident in his curveball -- a pitch he didn't regularly throw until last season -- so far this season, enough that he started off hitters with it Saturday. In the case of Ortiz, the finishing curve was one of his biggest pitches of his night, along with a fastball A.J. Pierzynski hit on the ground with the bases loaded in the fourth.

"I think the biggest thing was I had a really good sinker and curveball combination," Porcello said. "The changeup was effective, especially to left-handed hitters, but the sinker and curveball were the best, I think, all year."

At that point, Porcello was nursing a lead built on single-run rallies in the second and third. Detroit had the bases loaded in the second inning and came out with a lone run for the second straight night. Miguel Cabrera then poked a pitch around Pesky's Pole in right field for a solo homer in the third. Back-to-back doubles from Ian Kinsler and Torii Hunter and an RBI single from Cabrera gave Porcello a 4-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth.

By the time the Tigers were done with Red Sox starter John Lackey (5-3), he had allowed six runs, five earned, on nine hits over 5 1/3 innings. It was a small measure of revenge for the 6 2/3 shutout innings he delivered against them in Game 3 of the ALCS last October in a 1-0 game at Comerica Park.

"Miggy pushes an 0-2 fastball that finds its way out of the ballpark for the solo home run," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "And the way Porcello has been pitching all season and again tonight, early runs, we find ourselves behind."

Porcello, once again, found himself on top. He's 14-3 with a 3.38 ERA since last season's All-Star break.

"He's getting better," Cabrera said. "He knows what he's doing."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Mon May 19, 2014 12:57 am

Anibal returns, tops Sox for Tigers' sixth straight win
Righty allows one earned run over five in first start since late April

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 5/19/2014 1:25 AM ET


BOX SCORE

BOSTON -- The lasting image of Torii Hunter at Fenway Park last October was him flipping over the right-field wall trying to chase down David Ortiz's grand slam in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series. It was a fitting cap to the Tigers' return that he sent a drive soaring over the Green Monster in left on Sunday night.

"I've done that a couple times in my day," he said with a smile, trying to shrug it off. "You play this long, it's bound to happen."

Even he hasn't played long enough to see the kind of roll his team is doing right now.

It was a seventh-inning home run that landed in the parking lot beyond left field, and it sent more than a few Fenway Park faithful out of the park with it. As one-sided as this Tigers-Red Sox rematch ended up, capped by Sunday night's 6-2 win for the series sweep, it was an exclamation point.

The last time the Tigers swept a series at Fenway Park, they had Milt Wilcox, Jack Morris and Dan Petry shutting down the Boston offense. That was in 1983. The last time the Tigers simply won a series here, Craig Monroe hit a go-ahead single scoring shortstop Carlos Guillen. That was in 2006.

The Tigers not only swept their way through Boston this weekend, they trailed for only one inning. Xander Bogearts' second-inning RBI single gave Boston a 1-0 lead, but Anibal Sanchez stranded runners at the corners.

Four batters into the next inning, as Victor Martinez sent Jake Peavy's 1-2 pitch into the Red Sox's bullpen for a two-run homer, the Tigers had the lead back. Boston had no answer.

"That's the sign of a really good team, being able to respond to runs given up," said Ian Kinsler, who scored to tie the game on Miguel Cabrera's RBI single four pitches before Martinez's homer. "We come right back and answer. The regular-season momentum's not as big of a factor as it is in the postseason, but you still want the momentum on your side. And we were able to hold the momentum for most of the game."

Except for Tuesday's comeback effort in Baltimore, where they trailed for eight innings ahead of Cabrera's go-ahead homer in the ninth, the Tigers had momentum all week. Except for a couple hiccups on the West Coast and in Minnesota, they've held the momentum away from Detroit all season.

"The truth is, we probably caught Boston a little bit cold," said manager Brad Ausmus. "If you catch them on a hot streak, it's a different story. Our pitching did an outstanding job, but we probably also caught them on a downturn, offensively. That certainly doesn't make our pitchers' performances any less good."

As a result, the Tigers now head to Cleveland with a 6-0 record this trip, an 11-game road winning streak, a 14-4 road mark this season, and a seven-game division lead. Their final stop on this three-city trek is a three-game set against an Indians club that currently sits at the bottom of the AL Central, having just been swept at home by Oakland.

"We're just going to try to ride that bike 'til the wheels fall off, like I always say," Hunter said.

The A's have the best run differential in baseball. The Tigers, owners of baseball's best record at 27-12, own the second-best differential, having outscored their opponents by 55 runs. Eighteen of those runs have come on this trip.

"We played a very good series, threw the ball really well," Kinsler said. "All three guys really threw the ball well, and gave our offense the chance to keep building on our leads. Really, we played ... I don't want to say perfect baseball, because that's impossible, but we played really well."

Sunday night was supposed to be their toughest test for that pitching strategy, with Sanchez coming off the disabled list for his first start in over three weeks. He got his test in the fifth inning, staring at a bases-loaded jam with a 4-1 lead and the middle of the Boston order due up.

He had a base open after Shane Victorino's stolen base on a 2-2 pitch to Ortiz. With the count full, the Tigers elected to walk Ortiz, putting the tying run on base, and taking their chances with Mike Napoli, who homered off Sanchez as part of a three-hit game the last time they met in Game 4 of the ALCS last October.

"I know Anibal would've liked to have gone after him, tried to make one good pitch there and get him out," catcher Alex Avila said. "But it's a smart play putting a force at every base and getting the right matchup for him. Either way, you have to have a lot of confidence in the guy on the mound."

Sanchez got the ground ball he wanted, but Avila never got control of third baseman Don Kelly's throw in the dirt, allowing one run to score. Sanchez gathered himself and escaped on his next pitch.

It was an 88-mph changeup to Grady Sizemore, who smashed a hard-hit line drive up the middle that Sanchez snared. His throw to third was a fastball so hard that Kelly had to react quickly and tap his foot around the bag to find it for the third out. Sanchez pounded his glove on his way off the field, then slapped hands with coach Omar Vizquel as he headed down the dugout steps.

"That was probably going to be my last hitter," Sanchez said. "I was excited to make that play."

It didn't have the meaning of Sanchez's last start here, when he tossed six no-hit innings to open last year's ALCS, but the emotion throughout the dugout made it tough to tell. The same went for the series as a whole.

It can't be revenge for last postseason. It can be a statement for now.

"It was a great series," Hunter said. "We're playing well on the road. We're just playing baseball. There's a lot of guys that know how to play and know how to hit, how to have professional at-bats and play the game. You saw Kinsler. You saw Victor, [Austin Jackson], all of us. We're just rounding out at-bats and playing the game."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Tue May 20, 2014 1:57 am

Tigers topped in 10th to end six-game win streak
J.D. Martinez sends game to extras with solo homer in ninth inning

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 5/20/2014 1:05 AM ET

BOX SCORE

CLEVELAND -- The grounded flight that started this Tigers adventure took forever to take off from Boston. The Michael Brantley drive that ended it, by contrast, got out of Progressive Field in a hurry.

In between, the Tigers showed a lot, well beyond what their record after 40 games can reflect.

Their perfect road trip was over long before Brantley's game-ending homer halted their six-game winning streak Monday night with a 5-4 loss to the Indians. After a canceled flight, a short night's sleep and a late arrival, it took extra innings to finally end their unbeaten road swing.

"We were just battling," Rajai Davis said. "It's been a long day for us, obviously, but we battled until the last out. … We have a bunch of fighters here."

They already had shown quite a bit of that on this trip, as well as the 11-game road winning streak that this trek helped build, and the 27-13 record that ties their best 40-game start since 1984. Even in defeat, Monday's turnaround helped reinforce it.

They rolled into the ballpark about 2 1/2 hours before game time after being stranded by plane issues in Boston on Sunday night and kept up well into the morning before finding a hotel. They watched Drew Smyly, the one Tiger who arrived early, labor for the better part of five innings before rallying in the seventh inning on Davis' game-tying single. When they fell behind again behind a shortened bullpen, they rallied in the ninth with a J.D. Martinez pinch-hit home run off closer Cody Allen.

It was Martinez's first home run as a Tiger, nearly a month after his four-homer doubleheader against the Indians' Triple-A affiliate down the road in Columbus earned him a call back to the big leagues. It went out near the deepest part of the park.

"A guy comes off the bench cold, gets a 96-mph fastball up and over the plate and doesn't miss it," Allen said. "That's good baseball right there. Tip your cap to him."

They finally fell on the last pitch of the night, a hanging slider from Al Alburquerque, a strike away from sending this game to the 11th. It came nearly 24 hours after they finished off their series sweep over the Red Sox, a win in which Alburquerque recorded four outs.

"Nobody was like, 'Aw, man, we've got a game.' Nobody was complaining," said Phil Coke, who pitched a scoreless sixth inning before Jesus Aguilar's sacrifice fly in the seventh put the Tigers into rally mode again. "Everybody was all about it. Honestly, I felt like we played that way. We battled. We went into extra innings after an extra-innings flight. I mean, come on. Seriously."

Smyly was the one Tiger who actually had a good night's rest, having flown to Cleveland on Sunday evening ahead of the team, but never appeared in sync. Four of his career-high five walks over as many innings came with two outs, including the Yan Gomes walk that extended the fifth for Nick Swisher's RBI single and Aguilar's first Major League hit to break the 1-1 tie.

Smyly stranded nine baserunners over his five innings of thee-run ball. He was one of the rare starting pitchers who was the first player to the clubhouse before the game, if only by default. He didn't realize the team's travel struggles until he called the front desk Monday morning asking about his luggage. He ended up being picked up by a group of hitters that had every reason to be dragging following the travel adventures.

For six innings, Detroit's lone run off Tribe starter Corey Kluber came from their hottest hitter. Once again, Victor Martinez's two-strike focus paid off with a home run, sending a 2-2 pitch from Kluber 372 feet to right field to lead off the second.

Kluber got on a roll through the middle innings, retiring seven straight batters with four strikeouts, before a Nick Castellanos infield single led off a game-tying rally in the seventh. Alex Avila doubled off the center-field wall to put runners at second and third with nobody out.

Kluber retired Andrew Romine, but Davis lined a gapper into right-center, his 12th hit in 30 at-bats with runners in scoring position this year.

"He's got really good stuff," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said of Kluber. "The fact that we came back against him just shows that his team doesn't give up on themselves."

Cabrera, previously seen icing his right ankle at Fenway Park, posted his third consecutive three-hit game, matching his career-best streak from 2009. Avila, back behind the plate after taking a foul tip to the midsection in Sunday night's game, set up Davis with a double off the center-field fence. Ian Kinsler put the go-ahead run in scoring position after Martinez's homer with a two-out double, but Allen struck out Torii Hunter to extend the game.

In the end, a Tigers bullpen that has dominated for most of May gave up multiple runs in a game for the first time since the Twins roughed up Joba Chamberlain eight days earlier at Comerica Park. That was also the Tigers' last loss.

It was a sign of life for an Indians club that deserately needed it.

"It's huge, especially at the start of a big series, a big rivalry," Brantley said. "Any time you play in the division, it's very important. Hopefully it's a momentum boost and we'll ride that momentum."

For the Tigers, what they desperately needed was some rest.

"We knew the game would end at some point tonight and we'd be able to go back and get some sleep," Ausmus said. "We were hoping to go back and get some sleep with a W, but it wasn't to be."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Fri May 23, 2014 2:21 am

Verlander endures rocky outing as Tribe takes series
Ace unable to command fastball, allows four-run second inning

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 5/21/2014 12:45 AM ET

BOX SCORE

CLEVELAND -- And they thought being stranded in Boston was rough.

"I think yesterday was just pure adrenaline for some of us," Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter said after Tuesday's 6-2 loss to the Indians. "But today, you could tell it kind of lingered."

The Tigers have lost more games at Progressive Field the last two nights than they did in nine games here last season. Their success here in 2013 ended up being the difference in the division.

Justin Verlander, however, has had his share of rough outings here. Remember, this was the place where he was rocked in his Major League debut in 2005. Even so, Tuesday's loss was among the roughest.

"Those guys hit some decent pitches and hit some bad ones," he said. "It's kind of one of those days."

With one game left, it's one of those series -- the kind the Tigers didn't have in Cleveland last season, the kind they really haven't had anywhere this year. They've lost back-to-back games on the road for the first time all year, and they've lost on back-to-back days for just the second time anywhere this season.

How they respond to another quick turnaround, in a 12:05 p.m. ET matinee on Wednesday, will determine whether they will have their first three-game losing streak of the season.

"There was no lack of effort," manager Brad Ausmus said. "Guys didn't look down. I don't know how they felt individually. I didn't ask them. Usually in the past, my experience has been that it's two days after the sleepless night that gets you. But guys felt fine. They just beat us today."

They beat Verlander, who looked out of sorts from the outset like he hadn't all year.

Never in 20 previous visits had Verlander given up 11 hits to the Indians in Cleveland, nor had he struck out fewer than four batters in one of those games. And yet, considering how hard the Indians hit him from the outset on Tuesday, it could've been worse than the final margin.

"The really good pitchers, you've got to make them earn everything," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We really made him work hard."

Verlander (5-3) came in looking to clean up his pitches after a five-run fifth inning in Baltimore last Wednesday nearly cost him his early six-run lead. This time, his big inning came early.

Verlander had allowed a mere .164 (12-for-73) average from opponents this season the first time through the order. On Tuesday, seven of Cleveland's first nine batters reached base safely, and four of them scored.

"I fell behind early on, just didn't have great control of my fastball, and got myself in a bunch of 1-0, 2-0 counts where I couldn't really use most of my pitches," Verlander said. "I had to throw strikes."

When he did, the Indians pounced.

"Last night, we played a little bit of Houdini with guys on base," catcher Alex Avila said. "Today, same situation, that's going to happen."

The vast majority of the damage came off the fastball. He had gotten more life on it thanks to an adjustment between starts in his delivery, a tweak he mainly had made to hide the ball better. However, he lost some of the feel.

He escaped the opening inning with a lone run allowed on three straight singles thanks to a David Murphy double play. He had no escape once the first six batters reached to open the second, even after Carlos Santana was thrown out at second base on the leadoff single.

Three of Cleveland's next four hitters doubled, including ninth hitter Mike Aviles into the gap in left-center field to plate two runs. That was a hanging slider. Everything else came off the fastball, including Michael Bourn's ensuing double off the right-field wall to drive in Aviles.

"Fastball command, I think that's what really hurt us today," Avila said. "His overall stuff was good. It's just not being able to command it, being behind hitters."

Instead of looking for a win, Verlander was suddenly left seeking damage control. He found it from there, holding down the Indians offense and lasting six innings. He kept it close enough that the Tigers threatened with the potential tying run in scoring position by the time he was out.

Torii Hunter's 429-foot drive to left-center field in the opening inning looked like the sign of a Tigers outburst on rookie Trevor Bauer, facing Detroit for the first time in his career. Instead, Avila's reviewed homer just over the wall in left-center leading off the fifth comprised Detroit's only other run.

Other than that, Bauer kept Tigers hitters mainly off balance, stranding Miguel Cabrera following his leadoff double in the fourth. He held Victor Martinez hitless, a huge reason why he delivered six innings of two-run ball on seven hits.

It was Bauer, not Verlander, who came in with a history of command problems. Eventually, the Tigers put that to the test, bringing the tying run to the plate in his final inning following back-to-back walks to Martinez and Austin Jackson.

Bauer put rookie Nick Castellanos in an 0-2 hole with back-to-back sliders, then got a ground ball to first base. Initially, first-base umpire Tim Timmons ruled that Castellanos beat Asdrubal Cabrera's throw to first, a call Francona challenged.

After a lengthy review, the call was overturned. Murphy's home run the next inning off Evan Reed essentially put the game away.

"From the replay on the board, I thought it was going to go our way," Ausmus said. "And then after they reversed it, I looked at the play on the computer. Looking at that replay, the quality of the picture is better and they made the right call. It looked like Nick's foot was just above first base about to come down when [the ball] hit the back of the glove."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Fri May 23, 2014 2:25 am

Tigers fall on 13th-inning balk to end wild slugfest
Avila homers in extras; Scherzer allows seven runs over seven

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 5/21/2014 8:15 PM ET

BOX SCORE

CLEVELAND -- Max Scherzer took the mound around lunchtime Wednesday with a dozen runs allowed all season. He gave up six runs in the first two innings, seven within his first 17 batters.

By dinnertime, it took a game-tying home run by David Murphy off Joe Nathan in the ninth inning to keep him from a win after seven innings of seven-run ball. And the Tigers and Indians were just getting started.

"That was just a great battle by both sides," Scherzer said when everything finally settled from the 11-10 loss. "We did things to get ourselves in position to give us a chance to win this game. We weren't able to get outs when we needed to, but that's just the way baseball goes."

It was indeed a battle, which is what made the ending so bizarre.

By the time Alex Avila homered with two outs in the 13th inning, the Tigers and Indians had combined to use 14 pitchers, including Josh Tomlin, Cleveland's scheduled starter for Friday's game. The 15th pitcher of the day, Al Alburquerque, was the last, but he didn't throw a pitch to lose it.

He was trying to throw it, anxious to throw it. That was problem.

After 13 innings, the game ended on a balk, the first walk-off balk in the big leagues in three years. Unlike so much in that game that was either debatable, such as the check-swing strike three on Ian Kinsler and the ejections of Brad Ausmus and Miguel Cabrera arguing afterwards, or unbelievable, such as two fly balls lost in the sun, the balk was indisputable on both sides.

"If he didn't call it, we were going to call it," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He flinched coming up."

Everybody caught it, including catcher Alex Avila.

"The home-plate umpire and the second-base umpire both called it at the same time," Avila said. "He just went to come set and he stopped. It was pretty blatant. Wasn't any controversy about that one."

It was an odd way to end a crazy game, an odd game to end a three-game sweep and an odd series to end a road trip that had the Tigers rolling into town seemingly unbeatable.

They arrived in Cleveland with a six-game winning streak, having swept the Orioles in Baltimore and the Red Sox in Boston. They had won 11 straight road games since losing in Minnesota nearly a month ago. They hadn't lost back-to-back days three games in a row at any point all season, a huge reason behind their best start after 40 games since 1984.

They left town having been swept by an Indians team that had been outscored by Oakland, 30-6, last weekend.

"This game is crazy," Nathan said. "These guys get swept and absolutely boatraced by Oakland before we get here. We're playing as good as we've played all season before we get here. And who would've seen this happening? I don't think anybody. But it's a crazy game."

Few games get crazier than this one.

Scherzer, who had relievers warming up in the third inning to potentially replace him, instead lasted seven. He became the first Tigers pitcher to throw at least seven innings and give up at least seven runs since Jason Johnson gave up seven to the White Sox on Sept. 29, 2004.

If not for Murphy's homer, Scherzer would've been the first Major League pitcher since Josh Fogg in 2003 to win a game with seven or more innings of seven-inning ball and 12 hits allowed.

It was a striking similar roller coaster that Justin Verlander rode against the Indians Tuesday night. Cleveland's lineup combined to score 11 runs on 16 hits in the first two innings against the twin aces of Detroit's rotation.

Like Verlander, Scherzer couldn't locate his fastball. Also like Verlander, Scherzer felt like he threw some good pitches that were hit.

"They were ultra-aggressive today, trying to come at me. And when I left pitches in the zone and when I fell behind, they did a great job of capitalizing on it," Scherzer said. "There were pitches I left up that they hit. They also hit some good pitches as well."

From the third inning on, Scherzer looked like he was pitching angry, marching into the dugout at the end of each inning. He said he was pitching determined. If he couldn't give a decent start, he could at least give innings.

"Sometimes in those situations when you're getting pounded, you've given up seven, eight runs through a couple innings, there's a tendency to mentally let down and feel sorry for yourself," Scherzer said. "I did the opposite. I was determined to find a way to get through six."

Scherzer did one better. He also did enough to get the lead.

Instead of relievers mopping up, they were protecting. Nathan took the mound for the ninth with a 9-7 lead and the middle of the Indians' order coming up. After a one-out single by Michael Brantley, he had to face David Murphy, his old teammate from Texas.

"Murph just seemed like he sat on a 1-0 curveball," Nathan said. "It seemed like he was guessing that and got the pitch he was looking for, put the barrel on the baseball and got some backspin on it.

"Did I see that coming? No. That's why I give credit to those guys."

Nobody saw most of this coming. A near walk-off sac fly by Michael Bourn became Rajai Davis' fourth outfield assist of the year, easily retiring Lonnie Chisenhall at the plate. A day off for Avila became a chance at late-inning heroics. His home run in the 13th was the Tigers' first go-ahead shot that late in a game since Darrell Evans in 1985.

Phil Coke had overcome two walks to hold the Indians scoreless in the 12th, and he stayed on to start the 13th. After Aviles' leadoff infield single and a Bourn sacrifice bunt, Coke hit Asdrubal Cabrera in the knee, putting the go-ahead run on base.

"I think the hit batter kind of was the end of the line there," Ausmus said.

Brantley's ensuing single through the left side sent Aviles home, this time with no play for Davis. Murphy's groundout moved the winning run to third.

Acting manager Gene Lamont brought in Alburquerque to try to end the threat, but his first two pitches weren't close enough to get Yan Gomes to chase, prompting an intentional walk. It left the Tigers with a force play at every base against Raburn, who hit into a double play off Coke in the 12th. But it also left no room for error for Alburquerque.

The threat didn't get to ball two. After a first-pitch ball, Alburquerque stopped and started, at which point the game ended.

"When I saw him do it. I was about to say something," Raburn said. "And then looking right past him, I saw the second-base umpire starting to say something. Then I knew. Game over."

Just like that, after 13 innings, game over. Royals reliever Aaron Crow had the last balk-off against the White Sox on July 4, 2011. That, too, was with two outs, scoring A.J. Pierzynski while Adam Dunn stood at the plate.

"It was a tough loss," Ausmus said.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Fri May 23, 2014 2:33 am

Tigers, Ray can't hold down Rangers
Filling in for Porcello, lefty gives up seven runs in 3 1/3 innings

By Matt Slovin / MLB.com | 5/22/2014 9:52 PM ET

BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- Even the best rotations in baseball will go cold sometimes.

Exhibit A? The Tigers' losing streak, which reached four games after Thursday's 9-2 defeat against the Rangers at Comerica Park.

Robbie Ray, whose Major League career had gotten off to something of a dream start, became the latest victim, lasting just 3 1/3 innings and allowing seven earned runs.

Detroit starting pitching gave up seven runs for the second consecutive game, after Max Scherzer did it in seven innings of work Wednesday. The day before, Justin Verlander allowed five runs.

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said a rough patch for a starting staff is an inevitability, even when you have the personnel that he has. Detroit still has the second-best ERA in the Majors at 2.98.

"There's not a team in the league that doesn't go through a stretch like this," he said.

Facing Yu Darvish, who entered Thursday with the third-best ERA in the American League, the deficit, which reached nine runs after the fourth inning, was far too large to overcome.

"For a pitcher, when you can't command the zone, normally that's going to make for a tough day," said catcher Alex Avila, who was removed from the game in the ninth inning to allow Bryan Holaday to catch Danny Worth. Worth became the first Tigers position player to pitch a full inning since Mark Koening did it in 1931.

Ray was sent down to Triple-A Toledo following the game, but the demotion had been scheduled to come earlier. Had Rick Porcello not needed a couple additional days to recover from side soreness, Ray wouldn't have made Thursday's start and would already be in Toledo. Ausmus said his curveball will be the focus.

"The breaking ball is certainly the No. 1 item on the list," Ausmus said following Thursday's game.

Ray had been dominant in his previous two starts, although the Rangers hit left-handed pitching far better than the other two teams he had faced in the Astros and Twins. Ausmus liked the way Ray commanded his fastball and changeup during his first stint with the big league club, especially in his first two starts. In those two outings, with Anibal Sanchez on the disabled list, Ray threw 11 1/3 innings and gave up only one run off nine hits.

Thursday, he doubled his hit total from his first two starts, and his ERA soared from 0.75 to 4.70.

"They were just hitting my mistakes," Ray said. "I was getting behind in counts, and they were taking advantage of it."

To replace Ray, the Tigers announced they will purchase the contract of right-hander Corey Knebel from Toledo. Detroit selected Knebel with the 39th pick in last season's First-Year Player Draft.

Though Ray, the 22-year-old rookie, held Texas scoreless in the first, the Rangers plated at least two runs against him in each of the next three innings. Darvish, meanwhile, threw seven innings of six-hit, two-run ball.

Ausmus tried to give his "taxed" bullpen a break by keeping Ray on the mound as long as possible, but he still had to turn the ball over earlier than he had hoped. Shin-Soo Choo hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning to make it a 7-0 Texas lead and forced Ausmus to go to the bullpen.

Picking up where Ray left off, Evan Reed allowed two more runs to cross the plate in the fourth off two infield singles and two walks.

Detroit got those two back, however, in the sixth inning when Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera led off with back-to-back doubles. Don Kelly later singled to score Cabrera.

Usual starter Drew Smyly entered the game in the seventh inning to mitigate the wear and tear on the bullpen. Smyly, whose next start hasn't been announced but could come as early as Monday, pitched a scoreless frame.

In the ninth inning, Ausmus saw the opportunity to give Worth a chance to try out his knuckleball that he has been practicing since he was about 10 years old.

Worth threw all knuckleballs with one exception -- a fastball that Chris Gimenez knocked for a single to center. He retired the next three batters in order, striking out two of them.

The Tigers have now lost four straight for the first time since May 28-31, 2013.

"I think regardless of the team, you're going to go through a stretch like this where maybe you don't get the starting pitching you think you're going to get and end up taxing the bullpen," Ausmus said. "It snowballs for a period of time."

Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sat May 24, 2014 12:02 am


Sanchez settles in, pitches Tigers past Rangers
Jackson, Romine homer; Kinsler tallies three doubles vs. former team

By Matt Slovin / MLB.com | 5/23/2014 11:35 PM ET

BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- As Anibal Sanchez toiled in the second inning, it appeared the Detroit bullpen might be in for yet another lengthy night of work.

The superb starting pitching that had staked Detroit to a nice, early lead in the AL Central had evaporated over the past four games, all of them losses. It looked like the skid might continue when Sanchez gave up two early runs Friday night.

Sanchez settled in, though, giving the bullpen a much-needed night of rest as the Tigers beat the Rangers, 7-2. The offense clawed back to support Sanchez, who threw seven innings of five-hit ball in his second start back from a disabled-list stint.

Even though Sanchez dug the team an early hole, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said he was never concerned about how the righty was throwing the ball.

"Those guys on the other side get paid a lot of money to hit baseballs just like Sanchie gets paid a lot of money to throw 'em," Ausmus said. "They're going to get hits once in a while."

Sanchez retired 14 of the next 15 batters he faced after Texas plated its two runs by opening the second inning with three straight hits. He walked none and struck out five.

The win was Sanchez's first in his career over the Rangers, having entered Friday's game with a 9.49 ERA against them.

"Great command today," said Sanchez's catcher, Alex Avila. "We were pitching ahead in the count all night, something we hadn't done in the past few days."

After the game, Sanchez said his spaced-out outings at the start of the season had thrown his command off kilter. Weather and the injury to his finger had prevented him from getting into any sort of rhythm. But this time, he said, he felt confident he could throw any of his pitches for strikes in any count.

"His slider was really good tonight. His fastball was good. He really pitched outstanding," Ausmus said.

Everything went Sanchez's way after the rough start. In the sixth, he swatted what looked to be a sure single up the middle right to second baseman Ian Kinsler, who easily threw out Shin-Soo Choo at first.

Sanchez said after the game that he adjusted his game plan to pitch to contact and try to keep his pitch count down, which helped him save the bullpen.

Austin Jackson, who had been the victim of several hard-hit outs over the past week or so, finally belted one where nobody had a chance to catch it. His two-run homer to left off Texas starter Scott Baker tied the game at 2 in the bottom of the second.

An inning later, Miguel Cabrera doubled home Kinsler, who extended his hitting streak to six games with a double of his own to give Detroit the lead. The Tigers tacked on two more in the fifth with the help of Kinsler's second double of three on the night against his former team, tying a career high.

"I like him so much I haven't rested him yet," Ausmus said of Kinsler. "I should probably give him a day coming up, but it probably won't be in this series."

Even Andrew Romine got in on the act, despite having gone hitless in his last 21 at-bats. He hit his first career home run off the right-field foul pole in the sixth.

"The home run was an important add-on run for us tonight," Ausmus said.

Jackson and Rajai Davis each had two hits in the second game of the four-game set.

Al Alburquerque came on to pitch a clean eighth inning after Ausmus decided Sanchez had gone far enough at 99 pitches. Sanchez, who had thrown five innings in his first start off the disabled list, exited with the Tigers' first quality start in nearly a week safely in tow. Ian Krol sealed the win in the ninth.

Ausmus doesn't expect the bullpen to be in such poor shape very often this season, calling it "a little bit of an aberration." Relievers Phil Coke and Evan Reed were both unavailable for Friday night's game, Ausmus revealed afterward.

But the pressure to save the bullpen from yet another long night brushed right off Sanchez, who earned himself a measure of revenge against the Rangers.

Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun May 25, 2014 1:48 am

Porcello's winning run ends against depleted Rangers
Streak over at six games as he allows eight runs in 5 1/3 innings

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 5/24/2014 9:23 PM ET

BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- Tigers starters headed into the week with some of the best numbers of any staff in the American League. This is one turn through the rotation they'd probably like to forget. Rick Porcello's delayed turn rounded it out.

There's no shortage of ugly numbers to show the struggles of the Tigers rotation this week, the latest being a 12-2 loss to the Rangers Saturday at Comerica Park. The best numbers might be two and three.

They're relatively low digits, except when they note how many times shortstop Danny Worth has pitched in how many days.

"We've had a rough stretch," manager Brad Ausmus said. "If you had asked me when I was hired if I'd have a position player pitch two out of three games, I don't think I would have said yes."

Nobody would have expected that for the Tigers' pitching staff, though nobody expected them to dominate all season either.

"Every year that I've been here, we go through a stretch like this," said Alex Avila. "I remember in '11, we had 95 wins and we had Donnie Kelly pitch in a game. ... Every team at some point in the year is going to go through a stretch. You just try to continue to press on and the ship will right itself."

Porcello's struggles Saturday, one week after he gave the Red Sox fits, rounded it out. He came in with a six-game winning streak and a case to be in the conversation for an All-Star spot. He left with season highs of eight runs and 12 hits.

For the six-game stretch through the Tigers' rotation, including Robbie Ray's spot start to give Porcello two extra days of rest, Detroit starters allowed 32 runs on 56 hits over 33 2/3 innings, walking 16 and striking out 24. Nineteen of those runs were scored in the first three innings of the games.

In the latter sense, at least, Porcello (7-2) broke the trend. He maneuvered through the Rangers' lineup unscathed in his first few innings, including four strikeouts over five batters through the heart of the order. His struggles the second time through the lineup went against his trends this season, but proved a fallback to his long-term traps.

Porcello entered Saturday having allowed a .304 average and .826 OPS his second time through opposing lineups for his career, but just .188 and .512 respectively for the season. The Rangers put up four runs on four hits the second time through the order, more runs than he had allowed all year in the same situation. They then scored three runs on five hits the next turn through.

"After the third inning, I really struggled the rest of the game," Porcello said.

None of the middle-inning struggles seemed to be injury-related, though left side soreness had prompted the Tigers to push back Porcello a couple days after his win in Boston last Saturday. Nor did the Rangers seem to make a major adjustment.

Long story short, the lanky 25-year-old right-hander who thrives on keeping his pitches low had a verticality problem.

"After the third, he was just a little up," Avila said. "I mean, the pitches we got hurt on were pitches up in the zone, really. He threw some good curves, threw some good sinkers. Just the ones that we got hurt on, they scored the runs on, those were balls that were up in the zone. But it wasn't like his sinker was bad all day or his curveball wasn't breaking."

To a limited degree, pitches that are up aren't the worst thing for Porcello. When he does it on purpose, he changes the eye level on a hitter, making the sinker more effective or a curveball more likely to freeze a hitter. This wasn't one of those situations, especially when it drops him behind in the count.

"I think he left a couple balls over the plate he didn't want," Ausmus said. "Curveball, fastball, he was trying to go in. On a good day, you get away with them. But today I think the Rangers were able to get a hold of them."

All four fourth-inning runs off Porcello scored with two outs, fueled in part by a Chris Gimenez double off the right-field wall. Leonys Martin's single on an 0-2 pitch plated Gimenez from third, then a four-pitch walk to Donnie Murphy extended the inning for Rougned Odor's two-run triple.

Porcello tried to start off Odor with his curveball, a pitch that has changed his success against left-handed hitters. Odor turned on it and sent it into the right-field corner.

"He started off quickly but we didn't cave in," Murphy said. "He started falling behind hitters, we got some good pitches and put some good swings on it."

Porcello didn't have an abundance of help from his defense, including a relay on Gimenez's double that turned horribly wrong for an error and an extra base. But he didn't help his cause, either.

"That's the part that bothers me most: I had two outs," he said. "You make one pitch and you can get out of there. Maybe they score one or two, but not three. I was never able to regroup after that. I don't know why. After the fourth inning, I just couldn't get it going."

Home runs from Adrian Beltre in the fifth inning and Murphy in the sixth helped knock out Porcello and set up Corey Knebel's Major League debut. Mitch Moreland helped greet him with a drive to the warning track in left-center that Jackson couldn't corral on the run for a double.

Once Odor added another triple, this one for three runs in the seventh, the Rangers were in double digits, and Worth was readying for another appearance.

The remainder of the sellout crowd of 43,447 cheered loudly for Worth in the ninth. He wasn't as excited.

"I just wanted to get it over with so we could come back tomorrow," said Worth, who gave up his first run on a knuckleball that didn't knuckle to Michael Choice.

The run support proved plenty for Nick Martinez (1-1), who shut down the middle of Detroit's lineup for six innings of one-run ball and his first Major League win in four starts. Detroit's lone run off him came in a two-out rally at the bottom of the order, where Rajai Davis doubled home Andrew Romine on a ground ball into the left-field corner.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Mon May 26, 2014 12:08 am

Verlander adds to tough week for Tigers starters
Detroit ace ties career high with nine runs allowed in 5 1/3 innings

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 5/25/2014 7:06 PM ET

BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- Justin Verlander seemed to be nitpicking earlier in the week when he talked about making adjustments after seven quality starts in his first eight outings. Five days later, the Texas Rangers gave him a reason to worry and adjust.

It wasn't just a career high in runs that he tied in Sunday's 12-4 loss to the Rangers, or the fact that he gave up double-digit hits in back-to-back starts for the first time in his career. It was a lack of command that included four 3-0 counts, all of which led to runners on base, compared with just a pair of 0-2 counts. It was the lone strikeout he recorded in 5 1/3 innings, the first one-strikeout performance for him since 2008.

In general, it was the sense that on a day when the Tigers badly needed a strong outing from Verlander, he had some of the biggest struggles he has had for a while, closing out a week that Detroit's starting rotation would like to forget.

"I'm trying to find the right pieces to fit and make it be right," Verlander said afterward. "I'm not questioning everything, no. It's just a matter of finding something that clicks. I've got the past. I've got the mental fortitude. It's only looking forward and finding it. There's no doubt in my mind I will."

He's trying to find his old form, and he's looking hard enough that he went with an overhead delivery for the first few innings Sunday. It was an adjustment made with encouragement from pitching coach Jeff Jones, trying to get him to stay back in his delivery longer.

It went badly enough that he went back to his old form about midway through.

"It felt pretty good in the bullpen. It just didn't quite translate into the game," Verlander said. "I'm not going to sit there and continue to throw balls all over the place. I've got to be able to try to throw deep into the ballgame."

The way things have been going, somebody needed a deep start. With the exception of Anibal Sanchez, nobody did. For the week, Detroit starters allowed 41 runs on 67 hits over 39 innings, walking 19 and striking out 25.

It was a long enough week that catcher Alex Avila, normally with a sharp memory for individual pitches, had to be reminded of a particular play.

"I've caught so many pitches over the last few days," Avila said, apologizing.

For the four-game series, the Rangers outscored the Tigers by a 35-15 margin, with 24 runs allowed the last two games.

"It was obviously not a good series for us," manager Brad Ausmus said. "Our starters had a little bit of a rough series with the exception of Sanchie. You wouldn't expect that would be the case with our starters, but every team goes through it. It was a rough patch. We're obviously not happy about it, but it's over, so we're going to move on."

Fourteen of those runs, 11 earned, came in two starts against Verlander, who has given up 16 earned runs in his last 13 1/3 innings since the Orioles' five-run fifth inning off him May 14 in Baltimore.

After Verlander's start in Cleveland on Tuesday, he said he had been working on an adjustment in his delivery to hide the ball better while also gaining some velocity. That was different than the overhead move.

Sunday's results were much the same. His struggles to command his fastball allowed the Rangers to wait for him to have to throw a strike.

"He was all over the place today -- missing quite a bit, behind in the count, a lot of the same issues we've been dealing with this week," Avila said. "More times than not, that's going to hurt you."

In both cases, he was shaky from the start. Five days after the Indians scored four runs on six hits the first time through the lineup, Verlander saw the Rangers take advantage of four hits for three runs. One of those hits was a broken-bat single leading off the game, putting Shin-Soo Choo on base to score on an Alex Rios dribbler to third. Another, however, was Michael Choice's home run to left on the first pitch of the second inning.

"Perfect example," Verlander said. "I'm trying to throw a fastball down and away. If it's down and away, he probably rolls over or swings through it. It runs back to the middle of the plate and he was charging fastball and hit a home run. There are many examples like that. I wasn't quite able to throw my offspeed for strikes the way I would like. A lot of stuff was kind of running back towards the middle."

The next hitter, Robinson Chirinos, was a good example of his struggles falling behind. With a 3-0 count, he swung and sent a double to the left-field fence. Verlander's next hard fastball was a throw to first base, skipping past Miguel Cabrera for a throwing error and a 3-1 Rangers lead.

Verlander (5-4) settled down the second time through the Texas lineup, allowing a lone single -- again on a 3-0 pitch -- but retiring five in a row. The next time the Rangers got to the top of the order, five straight baserunners set up Verlander's demise.

The exclamation point actually came on a pitch Verlander executed. He threw a 94-mph fastball at the knees to Rios, who sent it to the fence in left-center field at a similarly high velocity.

"It kind of seems like fuel to the fire when you make a good pitch and they get a hit," Avila said, "but you're kind of backing yourself into a wall before that point anyways."

Verlander left following back-to-back doubles and a walk to Adrian Beltre with one out in the sixth. His nine runs allowed matched his career high from April 6, 2008, against the White Sox.

Statistically, that was Verlander's lost year, taking 17 losses on a last-place team while searching for his old form. He took lessons from that season which help him to this day.

This stretch isn't anywhere near that point. It's also not where he wants it, either.

"I'm not going to stay where I'm at," Verlander said. "I'm determined and I've got the mental confidence to turn the page. I know how good I am, and I'm not going to dwell on past starts. It's not me and it's never been me. Look forward to the next one and go out and give us a chance to win."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Tue May 27, 2014 1:13 am

Offense quieted as Tigers drop opener in Oakland
Smyly tagged for four solo homers in bumpy five-inning outing

By Rick Eymer / Special to MLB.com | 5/26/2014 8:55 PM ET

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- Drew Smyly could only shake his head each time one of his pitches was redirected out of the ballpark.

"Honestly, I felt like the ball was coming out of my hand pretty well," Smyly said following the Detroit Tigers' 10-0 series-opening loss to the Oakland Athletics on Monday. "I was attacking hitters and putting myself into good counts. I don't know how you give up four solo home runs in one game, but there it is. They hit my good pitches and they hit my bad pitches."

Meanwhile, the Tigers were having all kinds of trouble with A's starter Tommy Milone, who lasted 6 2/3 innings, allowing four hits, walking two and striking out six.

Miguel Cabrera and Andrew Romine both doubled, and they were the only two Tigers in scoring position all day. Victor Martinez had two hits for Detroit.

Martinez has hit safely in 25 of his last 28 games, batting .366 with nine doubles, nine home runs and 22 RBIs.

"The offense is not the problem," Tigers' manager Brad Ausmus said. "Starting pitching is the issue. It's pretty clear cut. We're in a really long rut right now. It's still just seven games out of 162. I'm still fully confident this pitching staff is extremely good."

Anibal Sanchez, who pitches Wednesday night, has the Tigers' last two wins. Ausmus hopes he doesn't have to wait that long to kick-start his team on another winning streak.

"We wanted to turn this thing around three days ago, but it didn't happen," Ausmus said. "Hopefully Max [Scherzer] can take the ball [Tuesday] and help us right the ship. We really didn't do anything very well today."

The Tigers were hitless in five at-bats with runners in scoring position and are now batting .174 (15-for-86) in those situations over the past eight games. The Tigers have stranded 75 runners over that span and have been outscored, 67-31.

"Offensively, we were on it all day and just kept going after it," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Getting add-on runs against a team like that is important, because you know they can come back at any particular time."

Smyly (2-3) lasted five innings, allowing six runs on eight hits. He walked two and struck out three for the Tigers, who lost for the seventh time in the last eight games since sweeping the Red Sox in Boston.

"I felt like I pitched OK," Smyly said. "I couldn't seem to keep it in the park. I'd get ahead in the count, and then leave a ball up, and home run."

The first four runs Smyly allowed were all solo home runs, two in the second and two in the third. He also gave up two runs in the fourth, though he did pitch out of a bases-loaded, no-out situation.

Smyly had given up four home runs in his previous nine starts.

The Tigers can usually depend on Smyly when he pitches on the road and during the day, but not against the A's.

He entered the game with a career 7-1 record and a 3.02 ERA in road contests, and had a 4-2 mark, with one save, and an ERA of 2.70 in daylight.

Smyly made three relief appearances against the A's before making his first start against them. He gave up five runs over 2 1/3 innings in those games.

The A's were 1-for-6 against Smyly with runners in scoring position. He's limited opponents to a .194 average in those situations this season.

"It wasn't a great outing for him," Ausmus said. "At least he got deep enough in the game where the bullpen wasn't completely torn apart."

Corey Knebel, who had allowed three runs in one inning in his first outing with the Tigers, pitched two scoreless innings. Phil Coke, who did not allow a run in his past two outings, coughed up Derek Norris' grand slam and was charged with two earned runs in an inning.

"I'm sure there are some tired arms down there," Ausmus said. "But they are part of a team and they have to pick up the starters right now."

Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Wed May 28, 2014 3:19 am


Tigers edge A's behind slick baserunning, homers

By Rick Eymer / Special to MLB.com | 5/28/2014 1:38 AM ET
TO BE UPDATED

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- Miguel Cabrera hit a home run and drove in two runs, and Torii Hunter also homered, but it took a bit of daring on the basepaths for the Detroit Tigers to end their three-game losing streak, beating the Oakland Athletics, 6-5, Tuesday night.

Austin Jackson hustled down the line to beat a possible inning-ending double play, allowing pinch-runner Rajai Davis to score the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth.

Davis, who took over for J.D. Martinez, who was on first after drawing a walk, raced to second on a passed ball and then stole third on a return throw to the pitcher.

Pinch-hitter Nick Castellanos walked, setting up Jackson's hustle play.

Al Alburquerque (2-1) pitched a scoreless seventh to get credit for the victory. Joba Chamberlain worked the eighth and Joe Nathan got the final three outs for his 12th save.

Tigers starter Max Scherzer lasted six innings, allowing five runs on eight hits. He walked two and struck out four.

Scherzer, who was saved from his second loss when Hunter hit a solo home run in the seventh to tie the game, has allowed 12 runs on 20 hits over his past two games, a span of 13 innings.

The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner allowed 12 runs combined through his first nine starts (59 innings).

The Tigers jumped on A's starter Sonny Gray, scoring twice in the first and adding single runs in the third and fourth.

Cabrera singled home a run in the first and hit his eighth home run of the season in the third.

Martinez doubled home a run in the first and Alex Avila doubled home a run in the fourth.

Scherzer could not make the lead stand, coughing up a pair of runs in the second and three in the fourth, including John Jaso's go-ahead two-run home run. He was also charged with a balk in the inning, allowing a run to score.

Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Thu May 29, 2014 3:08 am

Tigers topped late after Anibal's terrific outing
Nathan tagged with game-ending homer after Sanchez departs in ninth

By Rick Eymer / Special to MLB.com | 5/29/2014 1:56 AM ET

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- John Jaso's single with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning became the point of contention for closer Joe Nathan. He gets Jaso and the approach against Josh Donaldson is a very different one.

Instead, Donaldson drilled a three-run home run on the first pitch to give the Oakland Athletics a stunning 3-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night.

Anibal Sanchez gave the Tigers their best pitching performance of the season. He allowed three hits over 8 1/3 innings but was tagged with a no-decision when Donaldson connected on Nathan's first pitch.

"The big at-bat was Jaso," Nathan said. "I get him and it changes everything. It changes my approach to Donaldson and gives me a chance to play with him. I didn't get Jaso and that puts you in a tough spot. It forces you to go after one of their better hitters. Jaso is the one I wanted."

The Tigers have lost eight of their last 10 and haven't put together any kind of winning streak since winning six straight in Baltimore and Boston over 10 days ago.

"That was a tough spot to bring Joe in," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. "He had no margin for error. Sanchez pitched outstanding, but his pitch count got a little high. He said he felt good to start the ninth, and he's one of our horses and deserves the chance to finish the game."

Ausmus acknowledged that any baserunner would have ended the night for Sanchez, who threw a season-high 111 pitches.

"We were down in the bullpen rooting for him to finish nine and get it down," Nathan said. "He did an outstanding job. I just wish we could have finished it for him. What a job he did."

Torii Hunter, who had two hits in the contest, supplied the only offense for Detroit with a fourth-inning home run, his eighth of the season. He hit Scott Kazmir's 3-2 pitch over the wall in right-center field.

Kazmir (6-2) didn't make another mistake all night.

"He had all his pitches going," Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos said. "He hit his spots and he never gave us the same look. It sucks because we really wanted to win this one for Sanchez. That was definitely the best performance of the season. He pitched perfectly. To not win it for him was unfortunate. He was effective with every one of his pitches."

Castellanos came close to grabbing Jaso's hit. The ball was tailing away from him and caught the tip of his glove.

"It was moving a little bit," Castellanos said. "It was definitely a catchable ball."

That set the stage for Donaldson, who produced his second career walk-off home run. The first came last year against the Tigers.

"He threw me a slider," Donaldson said. "Just kind of missed in the area where I could hit it. Thankfully I didn't miss it. I've had a few at bats off Joe Nathan. In that situation right there, being first and third, he's looking for a double play or a strikeout, and I was just trying to hit something in the air. I was sitting on the slider and was able to put a good swing on it."

Sanchez battled pinch-hitter Alberto Callaspo in a nine-pitch at bat before inducing him to ground out to second to open the ninth.

Coco Crisp sliced a double down the left-field line, prompting the move to Nathan.

Rajai Davis singled and doubled before leaving the game with a left shoulder contusion. Davis made a diving catch on a ball hit by Yoenis Cespedes in the second inning but continued to play until Austin Jackson replaced him in the bottom of the seventh.

"He just landed on his shoulder when he dove for the ball," Ausmus said. "We don't think it's anything long term."

Sanchez retired 14 of the final 16 batters he faced before giving way to Nathan, who gave up his first ever home run in Oakland.

"I tried to keep the ball down, nothing too crazy," Sanchez said. "I got a lot of ground balls and went deep in the game."

Nathan had allowed two earned runs in his previous 18 2/3 innings, spanning 19 appearances in Oakland. It was his fourth blown save of the season.

Rick Eymer is contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Fri May 30, 2014 2:13 am


Tigers power through erratic day for pitchers
Porcello issues career-high six walks, but Detroit tops A's

By Rick Eymer / Special to MLB.com | 5/29/2014 9:11 PM ET

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- Tigers starter Rick Porcello will be the first to tell you baseball is a crazy game. Is there another way to explain why Porcello, despite a less-than-spectacular outing, got the win 18 hours after Anibal Sanchez got tagged with a no-decision following his best effort of the season?

"It's no secret I was all over the place," Porcello said following the Tigers' 5-4 victory over the A's on Thursday. "I put myself in tough situations by not throwing strikes. I'm proud of myself that I was able to get out of them."

Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez each drove in two runs as the Tigers earned a split of their four-game series with the American League West leaders.

Ian Kinsler doubled twice, scored twice and also drove in a run for the Tigers, who have won two of their past three games. Nick Castellanos also had two hits.

Closer Joe Nathan allowed two runs in the ninth, but he was able to retire pinch-hitter Jed Lowrie to escape a jam and secure the victory for his 13th save.

"When Joe is on, you're going to get quick outs," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "He just wasn't today. I know he had kind of a rocky start, but he had a stretch where he pitched very well. The last couple of games he hasn't been vintage Joe Nathan. I'm sure it's not the way he wanted it to go, but he did save the game."

Porcello issued a career-high six walks during his 5 2/3 innings, but he got the big outs when necessary and held Oakland to just two runs on five hits. He also struck out four.

"They have a rare combination of guys who are aggressive and at the same time they will draw a lot of walks," Porcello said. "They don't swing at bad pitches very often. I got to a lot of three-ball counts and just didn't execute pitches when I was behind."

Porcello, who walked nine hitters through his first nine starts combined, was trying to make an adjustment with his arm slot.

"The ball was coming out of my hand good. I felt like I was missing, but I felt like I knew what I had to do to get back in the strike zone," he said. "At times I wasn't sure where my arm was."

Porcello had one clean inning; otherwise he was pitching with multiple runners on.

The A's loaded the bases in the second with no outs before Porcello got Eric Sogard to bite on a sinker and start a 1-2-3 double play.

"One of the better ones I've thrown," he said. "Came at the right time."

The A's had runners on first and third with nobody out in the fifth. Porcello struck out Josh Donaldson and got Brandon Moss on a foul pop to Castellanos before J.D. Martinez made the play of the game, catching Yoenis Cespedes' sinking line drive just off his shoelaces.

"The catch that J.D. made, to me, was really the game," Porcello said. "That was huge. For him to maintain his focus through the long innings that I was out there was huge. I can't say enough about that play."

Porcello got the first two outs of the sixth but then loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batsman before giving way to left-hander Ian Krol, who got pinch-hitter Derek Norris to foul out.

"We had a pretty good idea they were going to hit for [John] Jaso like they did the other day," Ausmus said. "Krol has to be able to get righties out as well, and he got the job done today."

Cabrera drove in a run in the third and fifth innings, giving the Tigers a lead both times. Martinez doubled home two runs in the seventh, which proved to be the margin.

"We had plenty opportunities," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We had some situation at-bats where we didn't come through."

Al Albuquerque and Joba Chamberlain each threw a scoreless inning for the Tigers, who are heading to Seattle for a three-game series.

Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:39 am

Cabrera, Martinez carry Tigers past Mariners
Move to walk Miggy backfires as V-Mart belts go-ahead homer

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 5/31/2014 2:56 AM ET

BOX SCORE

SEATTLE -- The words coming from Victor Martinez answered the question rather humbly.

"If I'm a manager, I'll take the same chance with myself. I'd walk Miggy to pitch to myself," Martinez said after his go-ahead three-run homer Friday night. "There's no secret. Miggy's the best hitter in the game, and you can't let the best hitter in the game beat you."

The statement coming from Martinez's bat strongly suggests otherwise.

"Victor doesn't really need anything to fire him up for an at-bat," manager Brad Ausmus said, "But that's the one time I think you can see a difference in Victor, the handful of times that Miggy's been walked in front of him."

The bat answered the question of how well the Tigers' lineup would protect Miguel Cabrera a long time ago. On Friday, he added an exclamation point, following Cabrera's intentional pass in the fifth with the deciding blast in a 6-3 Tigers win over the Mariners at Safeco Field.

He went 2-for-4 to raise his AL-leading batting average to .347, and he again has as many home runs as strikeouts -- 13 apiece. His 13th homer, and his ninth in a two-strike count, accounted for half the Tigers' offense in their third win in four games. And yet, he's the one pitchers are supposed to be willing to take their chances trying to retire, not the back-to-back MVP batting in front of him.

Cabrera went 2-for-3 to raise his average to .328. The only American League hitter with a higher average right now is the guy batting behind him.

"They're still hitting .340. The odds are always in our favor," Justin Verlander said. "That being said, if I was on the other side, I don't know what I'd do."

That was the decision facing Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon. He knew as well as anyone how dangerous of a hitter Martinez could be, having been his hitting coach for two years. He took his chances anyway.

The ending was fitting on a night when a potential pitching duel between All-Stars Justin Verlander and Hisashi Iwakuma instead became a home-run derby. Four homers accounted for nearly all of the scoring on the night, three of them off Tigers bats. While Cabrera's ninth home run of the year was the most majestic, opening the scoring in the third inning with a drive to the back of the Mariners' bullpen in left-center field, Martinez's 13th of the year was the biggest.

"One of the best at-bats I've ever seen," Verlander said.

Said Martinez: "It was a good one after fouling off a lot of pitches. I'm not going to lie, I feel great ending up on that note. I'm just happy I'm helping this team to win."

Cabrera's two-run homer gave him 33 RBIs for May with one game left for the month. It was still clearly on the Mariners' minds when he stepped to the plate with a runner on second base and two outs in the fifth inning of a 2-2 game. Though instant replay overturned a safe call at first base, retiring Torii Hunter after a Seager misplay at third base, Ian Kinsler had still advanced to open up first base.

Cabrera entered the night 1-for-7 for his career off Iwakuma before singling in the first inning and homering in the third. After a brief discussion, the M's decided to take their chances with Martinez instead.

It was just the third intentional walk of the season for Cabrera, who drew at least 17 intentional passes in each of his previous four seasons. After Iwakuma delivered back-to-back called strikes to even the count, he was a pitch away from making it work out.

If this season has shown anything about the Tigers, though, it's that a two-strike count on Martinez is not much of an advantage.

"Honestly, it's not fun to hit with two strikes," he said.

It sounded almost like a reminder that it's not easy to do despite his success there. As a former everyday catcher, however, he also knows it's less fun on the pitcher's side with each successive pitch.

"I think good pitchers, the more pitches they throw, there's more of a chance they're going to make a mistake," Martinez said. "I mean, they're human, like everybody else. They're trying to hit spots. Just being a catcher for a long time, I know that. They try to go away and they throw it in. They try to go in and throw it right down the middle."

He fouled off five of them from Iwakuma in that at-bat to get to the mistake he hit. He said he saw a few good pitches mixed in that he just fouled off. There was one he ripped down the right-field line but couldn't keep fair. There was another that could have fooled him.

The 10th pitch of the at-bat was the mistake, a hanging slider over the plate. Martinez ripped it over the fence in right. The look on Martinez's face as he crossed home plate and then slapped hands in the Tigers' dugout, including with Verlander, showed how much it meant to him.

"He's probably one of the most intense players that I've ever been associated with," McClendon said of Martinez before the game.

Martinez claims the intensity doesn't change with the walk.

"You know what, I always concentrate when I have runners in scoring position, no matter what," he said. "Early in my career, I used to get pretty mad that they were walking people to get to me. And at that time, I was really throwing at-bats away. I was mad at the plate and swinging at everything. But I understand now. I was ready. It doesn't bother me."

With a lead restored, Verlander refocused his own intensity following Kyle Seager's game-tying home run in the fourth to take over his half of the duel from there. After three consecutive struggling outings, Verlander (6-4) prevented Friday from becoming a fourth by retiring 12 of 13 batters from the end of the fourth inning until James Jones' single pushed him out of the game with two outs in the eighth.

His fastball hit 95 mph in the first inning and stayed there consistently, topping out at 98 near the end. In that sense, it was more vintage Verlander, whose 7 2/3 innings of three-run ball marked his longest outing since April 6. His seven strikeouts tied his second-highest total of the season, topped only by his eight-strikeout performance April 12 in San Diego.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:51 pm

Miggy homers, Smyly exits early in loss to Mariners
Lefty throws 105 pitches over four innings; Cabrera hits solo shot

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 6/1/2014 3:08 AM ET

BOX SCORE

SEATTLE -- Ian Kinsler came within feet of becoming the latest Tiger with a game-changing home run. An inning later, Victor Martinez nearly had his second go-ahead homer in as many nights. Unlike Friday, though, the Tigers' chances Saturday night died at the outfield fence.

Even after all the struggles they survived to stay in this game, the 3-2 loss to the Mariners on Saturday night at Safeco Field was a tough one on a quiet Tigers clubhouse.

After Torii Hunter compared the long-armed delivery of 6-foot-10 Chris Young to a pitcher slapping the hitter in the face due to his reach, it was Kinsler's ball to the fence in the seventh and Martinez's line drive in the eighth that served as punches to the gut.

"We had a couple big hits," manager Brad Ausmus said, "and we had balls that we hit hard."

The latter were the hits they needed.

The Tigers survived a four-inning, 105-pitch start from Drew Smyly, whose follow-up to his four-homer loss at Oakland earlier in the week showed vastly different struggles. He was one big hit away from the game escaping his control, and he was in that spot for at least two of his four innings.

It wasn't just the traffic on the basepaths, but the clutter in the counts. Smyly went to 3-2 pitches on nine of the 20 hitters he faced, yet only gave up one walk. He became the first Tigers pitcher since Edwin Jackson five years ago to throw at least 105 pitches over four innings and allow one walk or less.

"Every time he'd get ahead, it just seemed like they'd work their way back into 3-2 counts," Ausmus said. "He had to throw a bunch of pitches early. After a hundred pitches, it was time to get him out."

For Ausmus, it was a matter of command. For Smyly, it was the lack of a finishing pitch.

"I think most of the time I put myself in pretty good counts," he said. "I threw some bad breaking balls, but they took, I thought, good breaking balls. Usually you get swings, and they were spitting on it. That would put them back in hitters' counts and they would get foul ball, foul ball. Just not an efficient outing."

The Tigers bullpen, relatively well rested after Justin Verlander's gem Friday night, tossed four scoreless innings to keep it a 3-1 game.

On the flip side, the Tigers survived six-plus quality innings from Young, whose long-armed delivery perplexed most of the Tigers despite a Miguel Cabrera solo home run in the fourth inning and two doubles to the fence against him.

The last time the Tigers saw Young, he was a hard-throwing youngster with the Texas Rangers in 2005, before arm troubles sapped his strength and stalled his career. Just five current Tigers had faced him in their careers.

The unfamiliarity seemed evident. When the Tigers connected, they hit the ball either to the fence or over it, including Cabrera's 375th career home run. Young, who had put Cabrera in an 0-2 count with sliders in the strike zone, tried to finish him off with an 89-mph fastball just off the plate and paid for it with a no-doubt drive off the mini scoreboard in the left-field corner.

When they didn't connect well, it was a frustrating night.

"I've seen more of those guys than some of the teams I've faced," Young said. "Hunter, Kinsler, Cabrera, Martinez, I've seen some of them. But ultimately it just comes down to making good pitches."

The second of the doubles, an Austin Jackson drive that one-hopped the fence in left, chased Young from the game and started the first of the fateful Tigers rallies in the seventh. Jackson eventually scored on a Dominic Leone wild pitch to whittle the score to 3-2.

The wild pitch was also ball four to Nick Castellanos, putting the potential tying run on base with one out. After Andrew Romine flew out to left, Rajai Davis' infield single moved Castellanos into scoring position and put the go-ahead run on.

Kinsler nearly scored them all, sending a Leone fastball soaring toward the left-field corner. Gillespie retreated quickly enough to go crashing into the fence as he corralled the ball, leaving Kinsler slamming his helmet while rounding first base in frustration.

"I thought I hit it well enough," Kinsler said.

Ausmus wasn't quite so confident, given the cool evening in the Pacific Northwest, but he was hoping.

"I think another three feet and it probably goes over his glove and it's a different ballgame," Ausmus said. "But sometimes that's how it goes. We didn't play poorly. We just didn't come up with big hits. And when we did hit it hard, they seemed to catch it.

"I thought it had a chance. The ball doesn't carry very well to left here, so I was dubious that it would go out. I was hoping it would be off the wall or over the reach of the outfielder."

Cabrera's one-out single up the middle started the process again in the eighth Yoervis Medina, whose 96-mph fastball got enough of the plate for Martinez to pull on a line toward the right-field fence.

Martinez, whose go-ahead three-run homer powered Detroit to victory Friday night, watched Endy Chavez run down the ball on the warning track, his back to the fence.

Chavez's catch carried the game to Fernando Rodney to try to convert the save against his old squad. After a leadoff walk to Alex Avila and a bloop single from Don Kelly, the Tigers had one last shot.

In this case, Ausmus said, they were not going to play for one run. Had Kelly's ball not fallen in, Ausmus said, he probably would've brought on power-hitting pinch-hitter J.D. Martinez to take his swings. Once Kelly reached, Ausmus wanted both runners to be in scoring position, one hit away from a changed game.

"We're not deep enough right now in the 'pen that we can play for a tie game," he said. "We were playing for the win."

Though Romine tried twice to bunt, Rodney's wildness gave him a tougher time laying anything down, eventually falling into a two-strike count and setting up Rodney's strikeout. He fanned Davis for the second out before Kinsler hit into a game-ending fielder's choice.

"Sometimes we take a little bit of emotion, but that's part of the game," Rodney said of facing his old squad. "Sometimes you try to show too much and try to do things too quickly. That happens sometimes too, but I have confidence in myself. I know it's a one run ballgame and I just say, pick it up Rodney. Let's go Rodney. Make good pitches."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2014 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:55 pm

Tigers finish West Coast swing with shutout loss
Scherzer allows four runs in 6 2/3 innings as Detroit goes 3-4 on trip

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 6/1/2014 9:39 PM ET


BOX SCORE

SEATTLE -- Contrary to the stereotype, it doesn't rain here all the time. However, it is indeed difficult to walk two blocks without finding a cup of coffee in this city.

On Sunday, at least, the Tigers looked like they could use it.

"Today I just thought we were flat," manager Brad Ausmus said after the 4-0 loss to the Mariners. "It was just one of those days where we made quick, easy outs and didn't really put up much of a fight."

He hasn't said that this year, and he meant it more as an observation. It was something he mentioned more than once Sunday. The theories abounded on why it happened.

Between their week-long West Coast trip, their three-city trip before that, and the brief four-game homestand in between, Sunday completed the Tigers' sixth different series in a different city, from Baltimore to Boston, Cleveland to Detroit, then Oakland to here, with one off-day over the three-week stretch.

After an off-day Monday, they'll play 13 of 17 games at home over the next 2 1/2 weeks. By the time Mariners left-hander Roenis Elias worked through the middle of the Tigers lineup in the ninth inning Sunday for his first shutout, they looked like they were ready to board the plane.

"At one point in Cleveland, and the last series at home, it was a little fatigue," Miguel Cabrera said. "We played close games in Oakland. We tried to finish strong here but it was tough. We know we're going to come through. It's tough times right now and we're trying to battle."

Said Ausmus: "You know what, teams are going to be flat, whether it's road weariness or fatigue or the dog days of the season. You're going to have flat days. Sometimes you get through the flat days until something happens in the game that sparks a rally. Today, really, we never got that spark. Yesterday we almost did, but today we didn't."

Whether Saturday's loss had a carryover effect was another question. There was an air of frustration in the Tigers' clubhouse Saturday night over a game they could have taken, and very nearly did. Sometimes that frustration translates into a bounceback the next day. In this case, it might well have lingered.

"We had a tough loss last night. It was very emotional," said left fielder Rajai Davis. "A lot of energy was spent trying to win that game. We weren't able to transfer that over today. It's baseball."

Whatever the reason, it was a day that cost them a chance to take a winning record on their week-long West Coast trip. They battled through most of those games, from a series split in Oakland to two close games in Seattle. Five of the seven games on the trip were decided by two runs or less.

The Tigers still lead the AL Central by 4 1/2 games, a half-game less than three weeks ago. However, Ausmus saw a chance at better.

"It was disappointing," Ausmus said. "You come into here after a split in Oakland and you hope to take the series, maybe win two out of three. We end up losing two out of three and it's a losing trip as opposed to a winning trip. So I'm not real excited about that."

This was a game that felt further than the score, even though it was a better pitching performance from Max Scherzer than he had in the past couple weeks.

Scherzer (6-2) trailed three hitters into his outing thanks to doubles from Endy Chavez and Michael Saunders, and he never had a chance to get back to even. Willie Bloomquist's RBI double in the fifth, followed by James Jones' RBI single, made it a 3-0 game.

"They did a good job of grinding me. They did a good job of hitting some pitches that were up. They capitalized on some offspeed mistakes, pitches that were up in the zone," Scherzer said.

They did not, however, take advantage of walks. Scherzer didn't want to call it a step in the right direction, but like his loss in Cleveland two starts earlier, he wanted to take a positive.

"I tip my cap to them," Scherzer said, "but as frustrating at this start is, you also have to appreciate that I didn't walk anybody. If I don't walk anybody and keep pitching like that, eventually I'm going to get results."

Not until Brad Miller's seventh-inning solo shot, as Scherzer tried to spare Detroit's bullpen another inning of work, did the Mariners escape what would be save-situation territory. Elias never got to the point where he needed a save.

"He came out and pitched well," Davis said. "We didn't get any hits early. He got into a groove."

The Tigers had three singles and no extra-base hits Sunday against the Mariners' rookie southpaw. Nick Castellanos' two-out, second-inning single produced the Tigers' only runner in scoring position, moving Victor Martinez to second base following his leadoff walk.

Martinez was the lone walk of the afternoon for Elias (4-4), whose nine strikeouts fell one off his season high.

"He had a good curveball, a curveball with a down angle," Ausmus said. "It was tough to square up and hit. You're either way out in front or you top it to the left side of the infield as a right-handed hitter. I don't take anything away from him. He pitched well."

Three of the Tigers' four losses on this week-long trip came in games against lefty starters. The Tigers scored one run total in those three games, a Torii Hunter solo homer Wednesday night against A's southpaw Scott Kazmir.

It's an odd twist for a righty-heavy lineup that proved more potent against right-handed starters for the trip. It's not a trend that's likely to carry. Ausmus doesn't expect the flatness to do so, either.

It won't be the last time for it, but it was the biggest.

"Today was the flattest we've been all year for sure," Ausmus said.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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