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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sat Apr 27, 2013 5:32 pm

Porcello gets redemption as Tigers roll behind homers
Infante, Peralta contribute two-run jacks to back pitcher's first win

By Jason Beck / | 4/27/2013 6:49 PM ET


DETROIT -- Rick Porcello's job, at its root, is to get opponents to hit the ball on the ground. That doesn't mean he'll pass up a chance to square something up.

When somebody asked why he had a better breaking ball Saturday on his way to 6 1/3 quality innings against the Braves, he swung away.

"I just think I stayed in the game long enough to get a feel for it today," he said with a wry smile after the Tigers' 7-4 victory Saturday at Comerica Park.

It was arguably the best liner at Porcello's expense all day, which meant nothing good for Atlanta's homer-happy lineup. Yet that was why Tigers manager Jim Leyland had a good feeling about this game for his young sinkerballer.

"If we can keep them in the ballpark, then we've got a shot," Leyland said afterwards. "They live with that home run ball quite a bit. … That's why Ricky was a pretty good matchup, because he can keep the ball on the ground, and he did that for the most part."

Porcello did not have the same level of optimism.

"That's a heck of a hitting team to call it favorable," Porcello said.

Nevertheless, the matchup has favored the Tigers through two games of this series. For Anibal Sanchez, the Braves were his route into the Tigers' record books Friday night. For Porcello on Saturday, Atlanta was his road to redemption.

A week after Angels fans were serenading Porcello on his way off the mound in the first inning, Tigers fans gave him a standing ovation on his way out in the seventh inning. He retired 11 of the last 12 batters he faced after a three-run third inning that had the makings of the nine-run first the Angels put up on him last Saturday. He made pitches, and his middle infielders made plays, in the field for nine ground-ball outs, and at the plate for two two-run homers.

"It's always nice to get an applause," Porcello said. "The fans, obviously, know the game well and know when you're effective and not effective. And they let you know both ways, and that's the way it should be."

Atlanta came to town with baseball's best record, a homer-happy offense and stingy starting rotation. With a nationally televised Sunday night game remaining, the Braves have shown few signs of life against a Tigers club playing arguably its best baseball of the season to date.

Not until Justin Upton pounced on a Joaquin Benoit changeup in Saturday's eighth inning, the 17th inning of the series, did Atlanta find the fences at Comerica Park. Saturday's three-run third came off singles and walks.

They wanted more, and they were swinging for it. In this case, they worked right into Porcello's game plan, and Porcello didn't make a mistake for them to hit like the Mike Trout grand slam last Saturday.

"I think at some point we got a little aggressive on him and didn't get our pitches to hit. Sometimes that happens," Justin Upton said. "We feel like we're about to break through and put some runs on the board. Sometimes, you get aggressive. It didn't work out in our favor."

Porcello sent down Atlanta's first six hitters in order before B.J. Upton hit a slow chopper in front of third base leading off the third. It would have been excusable for Porcello to wonder if he was watching a replay from there.

The next three singles in that inning were a grounder to left, a blooper down the right-field line and another blooper to short center. A Justin Upton ground ball that had a chance for an inning-ending double play yielded one out when Omar Infante struggled to handle the ball at second base.

"Even that inning, with the exception of the walks, I made some good pitches, got some ground balls, broke some bats," Porcello said. "They threw up some runs and found some holes, but throughout the course of the game, I was trying to stay down in the zone and sink the ball and change speeds."

Even the walks, he felt, weren't the worst-case scenario for him. The first, to Juan Francisco after the leadoff single, added fuel to a rally waiting to ignite. The second, the bases-loaded pass to Dan Uggla driving in Atlanta's first run, he felt he could justify.

"Obviously I don't want to walk him there," Porcello said, "but I made some good sinkers down in the zone. In that situation, if I'm going to get beat, it's going to be with my best pitch. He laid off of them."

With Freddie Freeman's blooper threatening to break the game open, Porcello (1-2) needed to make a pitch. Chris Johnson swung at it and lined out to short.

Meanwhile, Detroit's offense went to work on Kris Medlen (1-3), who had allowed only one home run in his first four starts before Peralta's two-run home run opened the scoring in the second. The third-inning rally erased that advantage, but three consecutive singles -- capped by Miguel Cabrera's single up the middle -- quickly tied it in the bottom of the inning.

Alex Avila's two-out walk in the fourth inning extended the inning for Infante. A two-strike fastball rising over the plate was his opportunity.

"I know him," Infante said of his former Atlanta teammate. "He likes to throw a lot of good changeups, good sliders. Today he threw me a lot of fastballs."

Infante hit a liner to the top of the bullpen dugout for his first home run of the year and a 5-3 lead. Justin Upton's 12th home run of the season halved the lead, but Jose Valverde held it in the ninth for his second save since rejoining the Tigers on Tuesday.

Infante fell a triple shy of the cycle, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs. He has gone 10-for-21 over his last five games to raise his average to .307.

Jason Beck is a reporter for 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.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:11 am

Three homers back Fister as Tigers sweep Braves
Jackson, Infante, Miggy go deep; right-hander works seven solid innings

By Jason Beck / | 4/29/2013 1:14 AM ET


DETROIT -- The weather was miserable Sunday night, like somebody threw a mister over Comerica Park. The crowd didn't seem to care. The Tigers clearly didn't. When they're playing like this against a good team, not even April showers can drown their power.

With seven quality innings from Doug Fister, three-run home runs from Austin Jackson and Miguel Cabrera and an Omar Infante solo shot fueling an 8-3 win, the Tigers completed the weekend dismantling of a Braves team that came to town with the best record in the Majors.

In the process, Detroit seemingly provided a reminder why this is still one of the most dangerous teams in the big leagues, despite the .500 record they carried into the series.

"We're here to win games," said Cabrera, whose line drive into the right-field seats on a 3-0 pitch seemingly encapsulated the series. "We're not here to sweep people. That's nice if we can three games, but we're here to play hard every day, make something happen. We need to keep balanced, play consistent."

They won't play consistently like this. It helps when they play like it against this caliber of team.

They outscored Atlanta by a 25-7 margin over the three-game sweep, their first in Interleague Play since winning six in a row against the Pirates and Nationals in 2010. Those sweeps used to be a summer ritual for the Tigers, who seemingly owned the Senior Circuit from 2006-09 before finding tougher opposition from the NL the last few years.

They don't get much tougher these days than the Braves, who saw their offense that still leads the big leagues in home runs all but shut down in Motown as they wrapped up an 10-game road trip. Justin Upton's solo homer off Joaquin Benoit in the eighth inning Saturday marked the only time Atlanta hitters sent one out.

"That's an awfully powerful team," manager Jim Leyland said. "We knew coming in that they let it fly. They're really aggressive. It's the most aggressive team I've seen. And sometimes that bites you, but for the most part, they're going to score runs because they're going to hit two- and three-run homers."

They barely found the outfield against Anibal Sanchez in the series opener, and they hit into nine ground-ball outs Saturday afternoon against Rick Porcello. On Sunday night, they took as many Fister hit-by-pitches as they took extra-base hits, two apiece.

In place of homers came strikeouts, 39 of them over 27 innings. Eight came from Fister, who fanned five of Atlanta's first seven hitters as they chased curveballs off the plate.

He followed the blueprint that Sanchez and Porcello did before him, keeping the ball down in the strike zone early, working ahead in the count and then expanding the strike zone to exploit the other category Atlanta's hitters lead, strikeouts.

"They've got a great lineup of very aggressive hitters, and I think they use that to their advantage," Fister (4-0) said. "That's something, watching Ricky yesterday, he threw well. It's one of those things I can pick up something from him, and that's one of the things that I did, being able to expand the strike zone. Anibal did that very well the other day.

"They made some adjustments on me, so it's a constant cat-and-mouse game, but luckily we made the right adjustments to them."

All this came without a start from Justin Verlander or Max Scherzer. The Tigers hadn't swept a series without a start from one of them since 2009, the year before they traded for Scherzer.

What the Braves wanted to do with Tigers pitching, Detroit's lineup did to Atlanta's stingy starters. Just as Detroit pummeled previously stingy Paul Maholm for eight runs over 3 2/3 innings, they put up more runs on Mike Minor than he had given up in his four previous starts this season combined.

The Tigers outhomered Atlanta by a 6-1 margin.
Half of them came against Minor, who hadn't suffered a multihomer game since last June 24. Detroit's game plan was the same as it was against Maholm, making them elevate pitches.

It was a point Cabrera said they made in the hitters' meeting going into the series.

"I think Prince [Fielder] brought up a good point when we had a meeting, like what's the plan with this guy," Cabrera said. "Everybody agreed we have to get this guy up, try to get deep in the count and try to make them make a mistake. If they make a mistake, we have a good chance to hit it."

Jackson got one and hit it about as far as he hit a ball in his career, a no-doubt drive to left-center field for a three-run homer in the third inning to open the scoring.

Chris Johnson's RBI double and an Evan Gattis RBI single fueled the fourth-inning rally that tied the game and gave Minor a fresh start before he paid for a leadoff double to Cabrera in the sixth. Within two pitches, the Tigers had him home with a Fielder groundout to the right side and a Victor Martinez sacrifice fly to center field.

Minor (3-2) entered the night with five runs allowed over his first four starts. Omar Infante's second homer of the series began a two-out insurance rally in the seventh before Cabrera's third home run of the season capped it, leaving Minor with six runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings.

Cabrera's line drive into the right-field seats came on a get-me-over 3-0 pitch from Cory Gearrin. It's the type of aggressiveness Leyland has tried to encourage Cabrera to show on 3-0 counts over the last few years by giving him a green light to swing.

His only other home run on a 3-0 pitch came off Minnesota's Anthony Swarzak in 2009.

"He didn't try to do too much with that pitch," Leyland said. "He hit it the other way, and not many guys can do what he did with that pitch."

Jason Beck is a reporter for 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.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:28 am

Prince's blast backs strong Scherzer in Detroit
Fielder's three-run homer delivers lead as righty strikes out 10

By Jason Beck / | 4/29/2013 11:59 PM ET


DETROIT -- Prince Fielder changed his walk-up music a few days ago to Mozart's Requiem because he wanted something dramatic. His first home run since the change fit the mood.

It was the fourth three-run homer in as many days for the Tigers, but the first late-inning game-changer. After Minnesota's Mike Pelfrey spent five innings flustering the same Tigers offense that beat up on Braves pitching all weekend, Fielder's three-run shot in the sixth changed the theme.

"Prince struck at the right time for us," manager Jim Leyland said after a 4-3 win.

What looked like the kind of low-scoring duel that allowed the Twins to hang with the Tigers in the season-opening series at Target Field became another game turned by one of the Tigers' big hitters. It marked Detroit's fourth consecutive win after seemingly trading wins and losses for the better part of the first three weeks.

For much of that time, the Tigers strung together offense through leadoff hits and big doubles. They've led the American League in hitting for most of April, but they've ranked in the bottom half in home runs, partly because of the cold weather at their home park.

Yet the homers they've hit have produced more than last season's early drives. Though Fielder's homer was just the 20th on the season for the Tigers, eight of them have been three-run shots. Detroit didn't hit its eighth three-run homer last year until July 8.

Fielder has hit three already this year, comprising half of his six home runs. Miguel Cabrera and Austin Jackson each hit one Sunday night. Matt Tuiasosopo added one Friday.

"You can't do anything about those," Leyland said. "I mean, when they hit them over the fence, it doesn't give you a chance to catch the ball or anything else. Those are quick runs. I mean, Earl Weaver went to the Hall of Fame watching a lot of those."

The Tigers went in front watching Fielder hit his latest more than 400 feet. It capped a rally that began with an Andy Dirks bunt that rolled about 50 feet down the third-base line.

With Torii Hunter off, Dirks returned to the lineup in the second spot, playing for the first time in four days after missing the weekend with lingering soreness in his right knee. He showed no discomfort rounding the bases with his third-inning home run, the only tally through the first five innings off Pelfrey.

It was also one of the few productive fly balls early off Pelfrey, who held down Detroit's lineup with help from eight ground-ball outs. The next time Dirks came up, he looked at third baseman Trevor Plouffe playing back and gave him a ground ball he couldn't handle.

Surprisingly, it's not something the Tigers do often in front of Cabrera and Fielder. To Dirks, it made too much sense not to.

"With nobody out, and especially with those two guys behind you, you just want to get on base," Dirks said.

It's something the Tigers worked on in Spring Training, and it still had third-base coach Tom Brookens smiling after the game.

"It's taking advantage of what's given to you," Brookens said.

It put Pelfrey in a precarious position with Cabrera and Fielder. When he fell behind on a 3-0 count to Cabrera, it was treacherous.

On the same count Sunday night, Cabrera jumped on a get-me-over pitch for a three-run homer. Cabrera took this 3-0 offering, then fouled off back-to-back splitters to stay alive before drawing a full-count walk.

The situation made Fielder's new walk-up music seem especially appropriate.

"I liked the Batman sound, the superhero sound," Fielder said Friday.

He didn't wait long to play the hero role, jumping on Pelfrey's first pitch. The result was a no-doubt drive toward the flagpole in deep left-center field, just the fifth home run the Tigers have hit this year in the sixth inning or later.

It gave Tigers starter Max Scherzer (3-0) his first lead of the night, and he carried it. Not only did he not allow another baserunner, he struck out the last four batters he faced among the 10 consecutive batters he retired to end his outing. His 10 strikeouts marked his 13th career double-digit strikeout game, and his fourth without allowing a walk.

However, his ability to hold Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer hitless might have been more important. They were 13-for-30 combined in their careers against Scherzer with four home runs and five walks. They went 0-for-8 combined Monday against Scherzer and Drew Smyly, who took over with one out in the eighth inning and carried it into the ninth before Joaquin Benoit recorded the final out for his second save.

Jason Beck is a reporter for 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.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:27 pm

Trio of homers makes Verlander's job easy in Detroit
Miggy, Avila, Prince all go deep to back ace, delivering series win

By Jason Beck / | 4/30/2013 10:01 PM ET


DETROIT -- The Tigers' power hitting continues to heat up with the weather. On the first legitimately warm night game at Comerica Park this season, they put on a display.

After hitting four three-run home runs in as many games, the Tigers used two-run homers from Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, and an Alex Avila solo shot, to support Justin Verlander. He fanned eight Twins over seven innings to help Detroit to a 6-1 win Tuesday, securing a series win.

The Tigers' fifth straight win pushed them five games over .500. They'll have a chance to end their eight-game homestand with their second consecutive series sweep with a win Wednesday afternoon.

Four weeks after the Twins held down Detroit's offense in frigid weather at Target Field to take two out of three in the season-opening series, the Tigers have scored 10 runs through two games at Comerica Park, all but one of them coming via the homer. Their latest outburst came in an Opening Day rematch against Vance Worley.

It didn't take long for this one to take a different theme. After an eight-pitch first inning for Verlander, the Tigers needed just seven pitches to take their first lead. Two pitches after Torii Hunter doubled down the left-field line, Cabrera plated him by taking a changeup and sending it out to right for his fourth home run of the year.

All of Cabrera's home runs have been opposite-field shots to right. Avila followed with his third solo homer of the year in the second inning, before Fielder clubbed a line drive into the right-field seats for the second consecutive night, putting Detroit in complete command in the fifth.

Worley (0-4), whose quality start on Opening Day kept the Twins close in defeat, gave up six runs on 10 hits over 4 2/3 innings.

Verlander had low velocity and a high pitch count under freezing conditions in the opener. By contrast, he cranked his fastball up to 96 mph and kept it there for much of Tuesday night, striking out eight Twins over seven innings of one-run ball.

The lone run off Verlander came from an old teammate. Verlander was a strike away from escaping the second inning unblemished when he hung a breaking ball to former Tigers prospect Wilkin Ramirez, who sent it to left-center for a double that scored Justin Morneau.

Three singles and a walk were all the Twins could muster the rest of the way off Verlander (3-2), who finished April with a winning record for the first time since his rookie season in 2006.

Jason Beck is a reporter for 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.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Wed May 01, 2013 10:53 pm

Sanchez strikes out nine as Tigers set AL record
Pitchers fan 10 for sixth straight game, but fall to Twins in finale

By Jason Beck / | 5/1/2013 7:33 PM ET


DETROIT -- Anibal Sanchez racked up more strikeouts. The Twins racked up early runs. In the end, the Twins got the win.

In the end, the Tigers' 6-2 loss on Wednesday to finish an eight-game homestand at Comerica Park might well have turned on just two potential strikeout situations.

Sanchez was a strike away from fanning the side in order in the first inning. By the time he got the third out, he had thrown 41 pitches, and the Twins had a 2-0 lead.

"Sanchy was out of whack from the get-go," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

Five innings later, the Tigers were 90 feet away from erasing what had been a three-run lead. Scott Diamond didn't get a strikeout from Victor Martinez, but a groundout did just as well for his latest solid outing against Detroit.

The first inning, Leyland said, took a toll on his team, and especially Sanchez. He didn't say the same about the sixth, but the Twins rally that followed off relievers Bruce Rondon and Darin Downs seemed to suggest it.

Thus, while the Tigers set an American League record with their sixth consecutive game with double-digit strikeouts from their pitching staff, they could not pull off a sixth straight victory. By the ninth inning, the strikeout streak was the only piece of suspense left.

It was a far different result from what the first two batters suggested. Sanchez, making his first start since setting a franchise record with 17 strikeouts last Friday, looked like he was on his way to another nasty game early. After setting down Brian Dozier and Jamey Carroll swinging, he was a pitch away from striking out the side with a 1-2 count on Josh Willingham.

Once he lost Willingham to a walk, the inning -- and the count -- escalated quickly.

It didn't look as if Sanchez was throwing wildly to make him chase. He had gotten ahead of him working inside and out, and he hit 95 mph on an outside fastball off the outside corner once he got to two strikes. When Willingham didn't offer, Sanchez went to back-to-back sinkers inside, seemingly trying for the groundout.

Willingham took them both, earning his eighth walk in his 18th plate appearance against Sanchez.

"He doesn't normally start out at 94-95 [mph]," Leyland said. "I think his control paid for it."

Sanchez was more worried about his pace than his velocity, though they both might have been a sign of the same issue.

"My tempo was too fast in the first inning," Sanchez said. "That was the reason I was behind in some of the counts and my pitches didn't work like they usually do. It's a different game when that happens."

Again a pitch away, Sanchez saw Justin Morneau send a full-count offering into the left-field corner for an opposite-field RBI double. Ryan Doumit escaped another 1-2 count for a walk to extend the inning for Chris Parmelee, who lined a 1-2 pitch into left field to drive in Morneau.

Sanchez's 41 pitches were nearly split between balls (20) and strikes (21). His second inning was more efficient, and he struck out the side, but two hits in between -- including another two-out RBI double from Carroll -- extended the Twins' lead to 3-0.

Sanchez had five strikeouts through two innings, but four hits out of the five batters who put the ball in play. That was the difference.

"He calmed himself down," catcher Brayan Pena said, "and he came back with me and said, 'Let's keeping attacking the strike zone. Let's not shy away from contact.' And that's exactly what he did. He kept us in the ballgame. He gave us a shot to come back."

Sanchez (3-2) retired his final 11 batters after Doumit's third-inning single, striking out four more batters to finish with nine for the game over six innings. He has fanned at least eight batters in four of his last five starts.

"I don't know if the strikeout thing had anything to do with it or not," Leyland said, "but we all need to get a few quicker outs."

No number of strikeouts could get him the lead back. The Tigers needed a comeback against Diamond to have a chance. They came awfully close.

Diamond took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, retiring 11 consecutive batters after a hit-by-pitch and a walk in his opening inning. The Tigers broke up the no-hit bid from there, but their real threat came in the sixth, with three consecutive one-out hits from the top of their order.

Austin Jackson doubled and scored on Torii Hunter's single before Miguel Cabrera's double to the left-field fence plated his 29th RBI of the season. Prince Fielder's groundout moved Cabrera to third, and Martinez turned on a changeup and laced a line drive towards the left-field corner that fell foul.

On the next pitch, Diamond delivered a fastball that Martinez grounded to second. With that, Detroit's best threat was over.

He wasn't looking for a strikeout.

"At any moment, this team can strike," Diamond said. "You could see it in the sixth. Those two runs they put on the board happened really quickly. My main focus going into today was to work down in the zone and try to keep it in the ballpark and keep the ball on the ground. As always, my defense was awesome behind me, and we were able to make those innings a lot quicker."

Diamond (2-2), who missed the Tigers in the season-opening series, held Detroit to two runs for the fourth consecutive outing.

By the late innings, the one question left was the double-digit strikeout record. Jose Ortega's strikeout of Willingham in the ninth earned Detroit its sixth straight game with at least 10, the most by an American League team since at least 1916.

Jason Beck is a reporter for 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.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Fri May 03, 2013 2:43 am

Kelly's clutch single gives Tigers boost in 14th
Tigers rally to tie in eighth before plating four runs in 14th frame

By Gene Duffey / Special to | 5/3/2013 2:59 AM ET


HOUSTON -- Detroit's Don Kelly seemed destined to score the winning run in Thursday night's marathon. Instead, he drove in the winning run with a bases-loaded single in the 14th inning to help the Tigers beat Houston, 7-3.

After Austin Jackson led off the 14th with a double and Torii Hunter moved him to third with a groundout, the Astros intentionally walked Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder to load the bases with one out to bring up Kelly, who began the night hitting .192.

"If I'm in the other dugout, I'm walking Miggy and Prince, too," Kelly said. "Heck no, I wasn't surprised.

"I'm just trying to get a good pitch to hit, in the zone. I was able to lay off two pretty good pitches, a fastball and then a curveball down. Then he threw a fastball."

Kelly bounced it through the right side of the infield to score Jackson with the go-ahead run.

"Those are the opportunities that you want," said Kelly, picking up his first RBI of the season. "RBIs are just opportunity. But when you have opportunities like that, bases loaded, you want to capitalize."

Kelly got the hit off Houston left-handed reliever Dallas Keuchel, the seventh of eight Astros pitchers. "That's his third hit off left-handers recently, so that's good to see," manager Jim Leyland said of the left-handed-hitting reserve.

Kelly entered the game as a pinch-runner for Victor Martinez in the eighth after the Tigers had tied it at 3. But pinch-hitter Matt Tuiasosopo struck out to end the inning.

Then Kelly led off the 13th with a double and Jhonny Peralta singled him to third with one out. But Brayan Pena struck out and Omar Infante flied out to end another threat.

It took four hours and 50 minutes, the game ending at the stroke of midnight, Central Time.

The win moved Detroit into a virtual tie with Kansas City for first place in the AL Central after the Royals were snowed out at home earlier in the day.

"That was a long one," Kelly said. "We had a couple of opportunities. It was a tough game."

Houston's Keuchel threw 4 1/3 innings before getting hit hard in the 14th.

"I felt good," he said. "You go so far and come up short, it's pretty disheartening and pretty disappointing. Hats off to their lineup for just keep getting after me."

The Tigers outhit Houston 15-6.

Detroit nearly won it in the 11th when Tuiasosopo walked with two outs and moved to second on Peralta's single. Pena, pinch-hitting, sliced a single to right, but Houston's Rick Ankiel threw out Tuiasosopo at home.

"You've got to send him," Leyland said of Tuiasosopo trying to score. "Ankiel's got a great arm and made a great throw."

"We got quite a few hits and weren't doing much with them for a while," Leyland said. "But we hung in there. Obviously the pitching staff did a tremendous job."

Starter Rick Porcello worked seven innings, allowing three runs on two Astros homers. But Porcello gave up only five hits, struck out seven and walked none in his 97-pitch outing.

The Detroit bullpen was simply brilliant.

Jose Ortega pitched two perfect innings, striking out three of the six batters he faced. Joaquin Benoit gave up only a walk in his two innings, striking out three more. And finally, Luke Putkonen, who just joined the club Thursday from Triple-A, came on with one on and two out in the 12th and retired seven of the eight batters he faced, surrendering only a walk.

Putkonen got the win.

"My first [Major League] win," he said. "I'll remember that for a long time."

The longer the game went, the better chance Putkonen had of getting the call from the bullpen.

"I'm always ready," he said. "As a reliever, that's your job. That's why I'm here, to get in the game. I was stretched out in the Minor Leagues, throwing two or three innings at a time."

Final score -- Detroit relievers pitched seven innings, gave up one single, walked two and struck out 11.

"They did a great job," Leyland said of his bullpen. "Everybody who came out of there did a fantastic job, which you have to do on the road because they get the last at-bat."

The 18 strikeouts by Houston batters extended the Tigers' American League record to seven consecutive games of 10 or more strikeouts.

Ortega, as well Putkonen, just joined the club this week.

"They're getting opportunities," Leyland said of his two new relievers. "If you do the job, you're going to stay here."

It was the Tigers' fifth extra-inning game of the season and only their second win. They beat Seattle 2-1 in 14 innings April 17 on the road and lost to the Angels 4-3 in 13 innings four days later, again on the road.

Gene Duffey is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sat May 04, 2013 1:05 am

Avila's homer in ninth lifts Tigers over Astros
Previously struggling catcher breaks out with clutch go-ahead hit

By Richard Dean / Special to | 5/4/2013 1:20 AM ET


HOUSTON -- Alex Avila came into Friday's game batting .176 with three RBIs. Suffice to say he had been struggling.

In the clubhouse after the game, however, the Detroit catcher wasn't talking about his struggles. He was discussing his go-ahead ninth-inning two-run home run off Houston closer Jose Veras. That homer lifted the Tigers to a come-from-behind 4-3 win over the Astros at Minute Maid Park.

"It felt amazing," Avila said of his fourth home run of the season that scored Don Kelly. "I'm sure my expression on the field said it all. When you're struggling and you do something good on the field, it feels good."

Avila wasn't the only contributor for the Tigers (17-11), who led 2-0 in the seventh inning. Drew Smyly (2-0) limited Doug Fister's damage in Houston's three-run seventh inning and earned the win. And Jose Valverde worked around a walk for his third save in as many chances. He has not allowed a run since joining the team on April 24.

With Detroit trailing, 3-2, Kelly led off the ninth with a walk off Veras (0-2), who had his second blown save as the Astros fell to 8-22. One out later, up stepped Avila, who had gone 0-for-3 with three strikeouts on Thursday against Houston.

Veras fell behind 3-0 to Avila, and at 3-1, the Tigers catcher was looking for a fastball.

"I was looking to drive the ball somewhere hard," said Avila, who was hitless in his previous eight at-bats. "I knew he was going to come at me again with another fastball. I knew that if I took a pitch [at 3-0] he was going to have to come again and throw another strike, because he wouldn't want to walk me to put the tying run in scoring position.

"I was feeling confident I was going to get a good pitch to hit 3-1, and I was able to go yard."

Avila's home run to right-center stunned the crowd at Minute Maid, but not Tigers manager Jim Leyland.

"I don't think anybody was shocked he hit a home run," said Leyland. "It came at the right time. Hopefully that will give him confidence and get him going."

Spotted a 2-0 lead by the fourth, Fister hung zeros for the first six innings, pitching around trouble before it all began to unravel in the seventh.

The first five Astros batters reached base in the frame, including a fielding error by second baseman Omar Infante, and just like that, the Tigers trailed, 3-2. Fister was lifted for Smyly after Fister allowed an infield RBI single to Jose Altuve.

Altuve's third single of the game gave the Astros a 3-2 lead, with runners at first and second and no outs. Smyly limited the damage by retiring the next three batters, which set the stage for Avila's heroics in the ninth.

"You got to keep it close," said Smyly. "They had a chance to break it open. We had to keep it close. A one-run game in the ninth, anything can happen. That home run was awesome."

Valverde, who pitched for Houston in 2008-09, came into the game in the ninth. His lone base runner was a walk to Robbie Grossman, who was stranded at second base when Jason Castro flied out to Kelly in left field to end the game. Valverde was aided by a sparkling fielding play by Infante, who ranged to his left to throw out Altuve for the second out.

With the win, Detroit improved to 7-1 in its eight games. Tigers pitchers struck out only six Houston batters, snapping their streak of seven straight games with 10 or more strikeouts, an American League record.

Fister, who had won his first four decisions, allowed three runs -- two earned -- and nine hits in six-plus innings. He struck out four with one walk.

Detroit took a 1-0 lead in the second inning as Jhonny Peralta's soft liner single scored Kelly. The Tigers went ahead, 2-0, in the fourth on Victor Martinez's RBI single off the right-field wall that scored Miguel Cabrera, who led off with a double. The play was upheld after a review.

Prince Fielder drew three walks, increasing his total to an AL-best 24.

Richard Dean is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun May 05, 2013 12:36 am

Miggy hits two homers as Tigers rout Astros
Slugger ties career high with six RBIs; Scherzer strikes out eight

By Gene Duffey / Special to | 5/5/2013 12:25 AM ET


HOUSTON -- The Detroit Tigers were all they can be Saturday night.

Miguel Cabrera delivered six RBIs and the Tigers pounded the Astros, 17-2, at Minute Maid Park, setting season highs for runs, hits (21) and margin of victory. Add a near-spotless pitching performance by Max Scherzer and that's about as good as it gets.

"What you witnessed was why they were the American League champions last year," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "They rolled out their 'A' game and it was pretty impressive."

Awesome would be a more accurate word for Cabrera.

The 2012 AL Triple Crown winner hit two homers, a two-run shot in the second and a solo one in the sixth -- giving him six for the season -- drove in two more runs with a pair of singles and worked a bases-loaded walk for another RBI.

The six RBIs tied his career high and pushed him ahead of Boston's Mike Napoli for the AL lead in RBIs with 36.

"I was swinging the bat good today," Cabrera said. "I swing at good pitches. Make something happen. It's always great to start good, give Max a lot of run support."

The temperature was a pleasant 78 degrees and sunny at game time. It felt more like home for the Venezuelan native.

"It means a lot," Cabrera said of the warm weather. "We've been hitting in tough weather, rain, 30 degrees. Right now we can loosen up. You have more bat speed. You feel more comfortable. You don't worry about the inside pitch. You're more relaxed and you can make something happen."

He did.

"He's awful good," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland, running out of superlatives for Cabrera. "That's in the book. He's a special player.

"A lot of guys did things tonight. You play a game like that every once in a while where you hit it hard, it falls in. You hit it soft, it falls in."

The Tigers hit many more balls hard than soft among their 21 hits, eight of them for extra bases.

"Nobody likes to see these kind of games," Leyland said of margin of victory. "You want to win the game, but this one got a little ugly."

"It was just one of those days that even when you make a good pitch they still get a hit," said Houston starter Lucas Harrell, who surrendered eight runs and 10 hits.

Scoring six runs in the first two innings made Scherzer (4-0) nearly unbeatable. He pitched eight innings, gave up just three hits and struck out eight.

After giving up a leadoff single in the bottom of the first, he retired 16 in a row. The only blemish on his line was a two-out homer by Carlos Corporan in the seventh.

"That early in the game, when you get run support, it really doesn't change [the way you pitch]," Scherzer said. "You're still on the attack. You want to take it right to them. You can't play the scoreboard that early. As it gets later in the game and it's way out of hand, you turn back to normal when it's 10-plus runs. Over the course of the game, it really doesn't matter. It's a luxury to be part of this team."

Scherzer didn't get too excited about his pitching.

"I thought there were some good things," he said. "My curveball tonight was even better. A couple of times I fell behind hitters. I did a pretty good job of challenging guys. Sometimes you try to be perfect. I didn't think my slider was particularly good. I hung a few.

"I got in a rhythm, got in a groove. That's because our hitters gave me a lead. There were long innings, so it was hard to get in a groove. But I was able to maintain it. I've put together a pretty good string of having quality stuff. I keep moving up, keep getting better."

Leyland has grown accustom to seeing Scherzer dominate opponents.

"He was very good, obviously," the manager said. "But I've seen him as good or better than that. Sometimes it's a little different when you have that much of a lead to work with. You're not really maxing out like you do when you get in jams in a close game. He pitched very well and gave us some much needed innings. Both managers needed innings from their starters tonight because of the 14-innning game [Thursday night]."

Veteran Victor Martinez came alive again in the series. He contributed a two-run double in the first inning and a two-run homer in the ninth.

"Victor's a very professional hitter," Leyland said. "He's in a real good RBI spot because of those two big guys [Cabrera and Prince Fielder] ahead of him. If he got going, that would be very good news for the manager."

Martinez has been hitting the ball hard, but not finding many holes.

"I'm going out there and trying to do something I have done my entire career," he said. "It's been tough. Every time you square the ball, you want the ball to fall [in for a hit]."

Martinez said he hasn't made any changes in his swing.

"I go out there and keep working," he said. "It's been weeks. I've been driving the ball. I just thank God for being here and being healthy. I always say, whoever works hard deserves to get better."

Gene Duffy is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun May 05, 2013 9:27 pm

Verlander flirts with no-no as Tigers rout Astros
Detroit ace takes bid into seventh inning at Minute Maid Park

By Gene Duffey / Special to | 5/5/2013 10:02 PM ET


HOUSTON -- For a while, it looked as if it might turn into a numbers game Sunday. Would Justin Verlander's pitch count get too high and prevent him from attempting to complete the third no-hitter of his career?

Houston's Carlos Pena saved the Tigers a lot of angst when he lined a single to right with one out in the seventh to derail Verlander's no-hitter.

Verlander (4-2) ended up allowing two singles in seven innings. He struck out nine, and the offense hit four home runs to help Detroit complete a four-game sweep of the Astros with a 9-0 victory at Minute Maid Park.

"I really wasn't thinking about the pitch count," Verlander said. "It really is a non-issue at that point. It's kind of out of my hands. I was early. But I started getting in the sixth, seventh inning, I wasn't thinking about it. You can't play the what-if, should-have, could-have game."

Detroit manager Jim Leyland was more than happy the way it worked out, Verlander leaving after the seventh inning. He threw 116 pitches, 10 fewer than his season high.

"His pitch count was fine," Leyland said. "He wasn't going to throw too many pitches because of his no-hitter, I can tell you that. I didn't think he had a chance to get there because of the pitch count. There were just too many early for it to work out late.

"I had 125 in mind. With a possible 130 max. It didn't look like he was going to get there. I don't worry about it.I worry about Justin Verlander's career and the Detroit Tigers. I wish he would have got it, but I'm glad I didn't get put in that dilemma. It turned out to be one of those what ifs you don't have worry about."

Verlander pitched Detroit's last no-hitter, May 7, 2011, at Toronto. He also pitched the first no-hitter at Comerica Park June 12, 2007, against Milwaukee. He didn't get his third, but the Astros were clearly overmatched.

"We're trying to do our best," said Houston's Carlos Corporan, who got the other single off Verlander. "I feel like I faced three different pitchers every at-bat. He was changing speeds. My first at-bat he was throwing 87 [mph], my second at-bat he was throwing 96 and my third at-bat he was throwing 97."

Detroit's starting catcher Alex Avila, who usually works with Verlander, felt ill Sunday morning and did not play, moving backup Brayan Pena into the starting lineup.

"I call my own game," Verlander said. "It's more along the lines of [my catcher] being on the same page as what I want to throw. Alex has been out there with me and we can get in a groove where he knows what I'm thinking. Pena's gotten the same way. Every time I go out there, he's gotten better and better."

Pena found out he would start when he arrived at the ballpark about 10 a.m. CT.

"Anytime you're behind home plate [with Verlander] you know something special is going to happen," he said. "He just attack, attack, attack. It was a dream. He goes out there like its zero-zero. For him to bounce back after that first inning was amazing. After that he was just cruising.

"We've been down the road before. I thought I would get kind of nervous. Put the right finger down. He calmed me down. I got excited a little bit at the end."

The Tigers scored seven runs in the first two innings to allow Verlander more freedom in how he pitched.

"I'm more aggressive," he said. "I try to get ahead of guys. I'm pitching to contact."

Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera, who drove in six runs in Saturday's win, made a diving stop of a hard grounder by Brandon Laird in the fifth inning. Cabrera, throwing from a sitting position, managed to get the ball to Prince Fielder at first base on one hop to beat Laird.

"When I saw him dive for it, I hoped he could get up quickly and make a nice throw," Verlander said. "When I saw him throw a grenade, I didn't know if it would get there. What a great play. It kept [the no-hitter] going for a while."

The victory accounted for Detroit's first four-game sweep on the road since May 22-25, 2006, at Kansas City.

Brayan Pena also hit a two-run homer in the second inning, his first, to keep the Tigers rolling along.

Fielder led the Detroit offense with three hits, a two-run homer off a changeup in the first inning, his eighth, a two-run single in the second and a leadoff single in the ninth.

"Anytime you score a lot of runs, its fun. And our pitching has been outstanding," Fielder said. "That's the sign of a good team. The whole lineup's doing well.

"It's usually a good feeling when you've got Verlander going and you've won the first three.

The Astros lost two close games to start the series, then were outscored 26-2 in the last two.

"I have had trouble with them in the past, but I think a lot of guys have," said Houston starter Philip Humber, who allowed eight runs on eight hits in four innings. "It's a tough lineup and at the same time you have to hope for a better result than that to go out and put our team in a hole."

Gene Duffy is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Tue May 07, 2013 7:55 pm

Tuesday's rainout will made up Thursday at 4:05 p.m. ET at Nationals Park. (Getty)
Tigers-Nats postponed, to be made up Thursday

By Jason Beck / | 5/7/2013 6:30 P.M. ET

WASHINGTON -- The much-anticipated Tigers-Nationals showdown is going to have to wait another night. At least the Tigers didn't have to wait long to get their answer about getting the game in, and they won't have to tweak their schedule too badly to make it up.

With forecasts for rain throughout the evening, the Nationals postponed Tuesday night's series opener more than two hours before first pitch. Both teams were scheduled to be off on Thursday, so they'll make up the game that afternoon with a 4:05 p.m. ET start. All tickets for Tuesday's game will apply to Thursday's makeup, according to the Nationals.

It was the fate many feared for Tuesday's game as the rain came down all morning and into the afternoon over the nation's capital.

"The weather looks a little shaky for tonight," manager Jim Leyland said around 3:30 p.m. ET.

When asked whether it would be easier on them to call it early or play through the rain, Leyland kept out of it.

"It's their game. It's their choice," Leyland said. "Whatever they do, we respect. … I don't worry about stuff like that. There's no sense worrying about it. You're wasting your time. Nothing you can do about it."

Ironically, the rain let up soon after the game was called, allowing Tigers pitchers to get in some throwing work after Monday's off-day.

Both teams kept their starting pitchers in order, so Tuesday's matchup between Anibal Sanchez and Jordan Zimmermann will take place Wednesday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET. Doug Fister will then pitch Thursday's makeup game opposite Dan Haren.

Both Sanchez and Fister will be pitching on six days' rest, essentially going a week between starts.

Because both teams already had Monday off, losing Thursday's off-day won't have a major impact. The Tigers have another off-day scheduled for May 20, in the middle of their next road trip to Texas and Cleveland.

The scheduling quirk made for an easy makeup date.

"Because of this being such a weird situation, just two games, and not coming back, I think you just have to do what you have to do," Leyland said.

It's the second time this season that the Tigers have come out of an off-day and seen a series opener postponed. Rain washed out Detroit's April 23 matchup against the Royals, giving the Tigers a second consecutive day off. The Tigers played the final two games of that scheduled series, and will make up the rainout at a later date.

Jason Beck is a reporter for 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.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Thu May 09, 2013 1:09 am

Sanchez on short end of duel against Nationals
Righty allows three runs (two earned) over six, but bats lack punch

By Jason Beck / | 5/9/2013 12:40 AM ET


WASHINGTON -- Forget any idea that the Tigers were getting off easy by not facing Stephen Strasburg in this two-game series against the Nationals. They arguably got the Nationals' current ace on Wednesday.

When the weather finally cleared for the Tigers to play ball, Jordan Zimmermann made them look like they were still off. With seven innings of one-run ball, he not only cooled off Detroit's lineup in a 3-1 Tigers loss, he was able to make Anibal Sanchez look beatable, which Washington had never done when Sanchez wore a Marlins uniform.

"Right now, he's throwing the ball well," Sanchez said, "and I'm glad for that, because I know how he's worked. I'm glad for him."

Sanchez could justifiably be frustrated watching another quality start go unrewarded. The only frustration he flashed was at himself for a defensive play in the fourth inning. He had no frustration over Zimmermann, because he has seen him do that before.

"He's thrown well for a while," Sanchez said. "Being behind Strasburg is another story, but he threw well last year, too."

It wasn't exactly a revelation for most of the Tigers, who saw him toss six shutout innings against them in Spring Training. At that point, though, it was mid-March, and he was rounding into form. He's there now.

"You have to give the guy credit," manager Jim Leyland said. "He's been one of the hotter pitchers in baseball. He pitched very well. And I thought we had some good at-bats off of him."

If back-to-back off-days -- one of them scheduled, the other forced by weather -- and Wednesday rains that washed out batting practice and delayed the start by 57 minutes weren't enough to cool off Detroit's lineup after 37 runs over four straight wins in Houston, Zimmermann was. Washington's other gifted young right-hander had held the Reds and Braves to just three hits over 17 scoreless innings in his previous two starts.

When Torii Hunter doubled and scored on a Miguel Cabrera single through the middle to complete a two-out rally in the third, it ended a 20-inning scoreless streak for Zimmermann dating back to mid-April. It was all the Tigers would muster.

Detroit had just two other runners in scoring position against Zimmermann (6-1). One came on Prince Fielder's second-inning double, and the Tigers' struggle to plate him arguably came back to haunt them. The other came on back-to-back two-out singles in the sixth that brought up Alex Avila, whose go-ahead home run Friday in Houston made him a hero.

Avila had worked out of an 0-2 hole to draw a walk in the second. This time, Zimmermann sent him down on three pitches -- a fastball on the outside corner, a slider down and in that sent him swinging, and another slider for a called third strike.

"He's been pitching good all year," Avila said. "He's got really, really good stuff. He's a tough guy to square up."

Those two pitches, Zimmermann said, were his go-to offerings.

"It was a good outing. I didn't feel as good as I have in the past," he said. "The curveball wasn't very good and the changeup wasn't good. The slider was really good. I had a really good fastball. We pretty much stuck with those two pitches."

It was good enough to set up a low-scoring duel for Sanchez, 8-0 with a 1.97 ERA for his career against the Nationals entering the night. In this one, two plays near the bottom of the order hurt him.

The first was a dribbler to short by Kurt Suzuki for an infield single to cap a 10-pitch at-bat, loading the bases with two outs in the second inning. Sanchez escaped the jam by striking out Zimmermann, but it meant he had to face the top of the order in the third when he finally got the lead, rather than the pitcher's spot.

At the top was longtime Tigers nemesis Denard Span, a .342 (93-for-272) hitter against Detroit over five seasons with the Twins. His leadoff triple left Bryce Harper with a sacrifice fly opportunity two batters later.

It's rarely an American League problem with the designated hitter. It's a National League conundrum.

"It definitely changes the inning, that's for sure," Avila said. "But what are you going to do? We've had a few of those this year. It was a good pitch and [Suzuki] hit it in a perfect spot."

Sanchez had Zimmermann on deck again in the fourth when Suzuki hit a fly ball to Hunter in right. Hunter caught it and tried for the third out when he saw Adam LaRoche tagging from second base, but his throw glanced off LaRoche's hand and skipped wide of third baseman Cabrera, allowing LaRoche to score an unearned run for a 2-1 Washington lead.

Sanchez regrouped to strike out Zimmermann, but the slam of his fist into his glove on his way into the dugout showed he was still thinking about the run. It was the first error by a Tigers outfielder this season, but Sanchez -- who was backing up third base on the play -- took some responsibility for it.

"I'm frustrated, because I needed to cover that one," he said. "That run, for me, I think is my fault, because I wasn't behind third base enough to get that ball. But that's part of the game."

He was less frustrated over the first-pitch breaking ball that Harper jumped on in the fifth for his 10th home run of the season, and the first homer allowed by Sanchez this year.

"This guy's hitting pretty good," Sanchez said. "He's a strong guy. I tip my hat on that pitch."

Sanchez (3-3) finished with his sixth consecutive quality start, allowing two earned runs over six innings, yet suffered his third loss in his last four games.

Back-to-back two-out walks in the eighth gave Avila a second chance to take him off the hook, but Tyler Clippard sent Avila down swinging at a high fastball to end the threat, and Nationals closer Rafael Soriano retired the Tigers in order in the ninth.

Jason Beck is a reporter for 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.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Thu May 09, 2013 8:42 pm

Fister handed first loss of season in DC finale
Righty allows five runs (four earned) in three innings vs. Nationals

By Jason Beck / | 5/9/2013 9:01 PM ET


WASHINGTON -- The series was billed as a potential World Series preview. For the Tigers, it ended up looking a little bit like a World Series replay.

Save for another hit-by-pitch, it looked nothing like the way Doug Fister has pitched for most of the season. The Tigers came within a few feet of overcoming that. Like last October, they couldn't get the go-ahead or game-tying hit they needed.

"We dug ourselves a hole early on and we had to work to come back, and we almost did it," manager Jim Leyland said after Thursday's 5-4 loss to the Nationals completed the two-game sweep.

It was a brief midweek series in May, delayed by rain, and the two clubs will have two more games at the end of July at Comerica Park. Still, the Nationals -- a World Series favorite heading into last postseason, and a strong candidate so far this year -- could argue that they made an early statement against the defending American League champions. With two close games dictated by strong starting pitching, Washington held down a Tigers lineup that came to town rolling from four games in Houston.

The Tigers led for all of a half-inning in the series, that being the third inning of the series opener. Yet they had the tying or go-ahead run at the plate in 10 out of the final 14 innings after that.

"They have a good team," catcher Alex Avila said. "They're built for the playoffs, just like we are. I thought the last two games were really good games. It'll be interesting to see how the rest of the season goes for the both of us."

The Tigers can attest to how easily late-season momentum can render an early-season series meaningless, having overcome early-season doldrums in 2011 and 2012. When asked if he felt like they could meet again in October, Avila's response was uncharacteristically short.

"If we both win," he said.

The response was similar on the other side.

"Winning two games is better than losing two games," Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. "That's a really good team over there. I don't think anyone would be surprised if they were coming out of that league or if they're in there until the end. That's one of the better teams you're going to see."

At the same time, the Tigers said that the Nationals have a lot more pitching to give them a chance than just Stephen Strasburg, whom they did not face this week.

Not until Matt Tuiasosopo's pinch-hit three-run home run in the sixth inning did Detroit show signs of life against Nats starter Dan Haren, who had scattered seven singles and an Austin Jackson double before that. Until then, the only Tigers runs for the series came home on RBI singles through the middle by Miguel Cabrera on Wednesday and then Fister in the second inning Thursday.

"It's scary," Haren said of the Tigers' lineup. "That lineup is ridiculous. I was able to kind of handle the top end, but [Omar] Infante has always been a really tough out for me. I made one kind of bad mistake to Tuiasosopo."

Fister's second career RBI, and his first with the Tigers, started to get him back in the game after the Nationals' three-run first inning, the first opening-inning runs against Fister this season. By the time the Tigers came back to bat, two more RBI singles in the bottom of the second from Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche expanded Washington's lead to 5-1.

In the AL, Fister might have had a chance to pitch through that. In the National League with that deficit, he was only going to last until his spot in the lineup came around.

The result was the second-shortest start of Fister's Tigers tenure, three innings with five runs on eight hits. He struck out four, almost exclusively on fastballs, but he paid dearly for control with two batters he put in 0-2 holes in the second, hitting Denard Span with an 0-2 pitch with one out before losing Roger Bernadina.

"Today, I didn't execute," he said. "No reasons, no excuses, it's just lack of execution."

From there on, every time the pitcher's spot came around, the Tigers took their shot at a game-changing hit. Victor Martinez hit for Fister with two on and two out in the fourth inning and went down swinging. Tuiasosopo was next up after Infante's two-out bunt single extended the sixth.

Tuiasosopo's drive to left, the first Tigers pinch-hit homer since Avila hit one on Sept. 14, 2011, brought the surprisingly large and vocal contingent of Tigers fans to life and powered Detroit back into the game.

"We were looking for a quick strike and we got it," Leyland said, "so we were pretty fortunate. That's to [Tuiasosopo's] credit. That's why we took the shot with him. Normally, that's the way you get back in those games, is if somebody hits a two- or three-run homer, and that's what happened."

Ryan Mattheus and Drew Storen took care of keeping the Tigers in check after that, pitching scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth. The Tigers had a chance in the latter after Avila's one-out single put the tying run on. Up came Don Kelly, whose fly ball off Storen took Bryce Harper into the right-field corner before he corralled the catch.

Eight of the Tigers' 12 hits on the day came from the bottom half of the order. Still, Detroit's two big bats had one more shot in the ninth. Cabrera hit a two-out single off closer Rafael Soriano to bring up the potential go-ahead run in Prince Fielder. His drive to left-center took Span to the shadow of the wall before catching it.

It was that kind of series, which might have felt familiar to that other series last October.

"We got back in it," Leyland said. "We just couldn't get all the way back."

Jason Beck is a reporter for 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.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sat May 11, 2013 3:18 am

Offense pours in runs to back Scherzer's fifth win
Prince, Miggy hit monster homers and all starters notch hits in onslaught

By Jason Beck / | 5/11/2013 12:01 AM ET


DETROIT -- The brick wall behind the outfield seats used to be the standard for tape-measure home runs at Comerica Park. Just a handful of players hit it in the stadium's early years. On Friday night, the Tigers came within a few feet of doing it twice in as many innings.

With the offensive outburst that Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera helped put together with their home runs, powering a 10-4 win over the Indians, Detroit's standing in its division was easier to measure.

"We see them a lot," Cabrera said. "If we want to win the division, we have to beat our division."

The Tigers returned home from their potential World Series preview and provided a reminder of the hitting that many believe can get them back there. After back-to-back days of National League-style ball in Washington, trying to string together rallies, the Tigers opened an American League Central showdown by simply outslugging a Cleveland team that came to town having won 10 of its previous 11 and swept Oakland in a four-game set.

Nine of Detroit's 15 hits went for extra bases, including Andy Dirks' solo homer and Alex Avila's two-run double. Seven hits came with runners in scoring position, building an scoring line that read like Detroit's area code from the second through fourth innings: 3-1-3. Every Tiger in the lineup had a base hit, and eight of them reached base at least twice.

Yet for many in the crowd of 37,547, the number they'll remember is 42. It sits on the right-most portion of the brick wall beyond the outfield, honoring Jackie Robinson, just to the right of where Fielder hit his ninth home run of the year.

He jumped a first-pitch fastball from Indians starter Corey Kluber, who had just retired Cabrera, and clubbed it.

"I lost my delivery tonight," Kluber said. "I was doing some stuff out there and getting a little ahead of myself, getting jerky. The result of it was, early on, I didn't throw enough strikes and fell behind guys. And then I had to come at them with fastballs, and they hit them."

ESPN Stats and Information, which has handled home-run distance estimates at Comerica Park for the past two seasons, approximated it at 460 feet, slightly shorter than the home run Cabrera hit off the center-field camera well last June.

"It was unbelievable," Cabrera said. "Every time he goes to the plate, it's like we expect him to hit a ball so far because we know what kind of power he has."

It was one add-on run, building Detroit's lead to 4-1 in the third inning after Alex Avila hit a 3-0 pitch for a two-run double in the second. Nick Swisher's second extra-base hit in as many at-bats, this one a triple just past Fielder at first base and down the right-field line, cut the gap to 4-2 in the top of the fourth.

From the Indians' view, Cabrera's ensuing drive put it away. With runners at the corners and two outs, he jumped Kluber's first-pitch slider and pulled it to the back rows of seats underneath Hank Greenberg's name and number on the brick wall in left-center field.

"We brought the score to 4-2 and then Miggy hit that three-run jack. That hurt," Swisher said. "That kind of blew the doors open a little bit. But for us, we were right in that game until that point."

The three RBIs boosted Cabrera's total on the season to 40, the highest for a Tiger at the 33-game mark since Hank Greenberg had 41 in 1937. The Hall of Famer finished that season with 183, third-highest in Major League history.

Cabrera is now on pace for 196. It's a small sample size, but his career averages are not, and they suggest his most productive months for home runs and RBIs are still to come.

"When you get RBIs, that means people are on base, obviously," manager Jim Leyland said. "We've done a good job of that for him, and he's taken advantage of that. I just let him and Prince go up there and do their thing. It's the best three-four combination I've ever had."

Leyland, mind you, had Barry Bonds batting cleanup in Pittsburgh in 1992.

Avila's fifth-inning RBI single chased Kluber (2-2) with eight runs on 11 hits over 4 2/3 innings. Dirks' third homer of the year came off former University of Michigan standout Rich Hill.

It wasn't quite the 17 runs of support Scherzer received last Saturday in Houston, but it was more than enough for his eight innings to earn him a 5-0 record for the second time in three seasons.

Twice in April, Scherzer struggled to resume pitching after big rallies behind him. He now seems to have gotten the hang of it. His best innings Friday seemed to be the innings when the Tigers were building his lead. He retired eight in a row after Swisher's fourth-inning triple, sending him on his way to eight innings on five hits with seven strikeouts.

"When the big innings happened, I was able to throw up a zero or allow them a run, keep it to minimal damage at best," Scherzer said. "And typically they're quick innings."

Jason Beck is a reporter for 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.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun May 12, 2013 1:45 am

Tigers' rally falls short after Verlander's rocky start
Ace unable to find command as Detroit nearly pulls off big comeback

By Jason Beck / | 5/12/2013 12:48 AM ET


DETROIT -- Justin Verlander has arguably more above-average pitches than anybody in the game. He threw a no-hitter two years ago in Toronto throwing his fourth-best pitch, the slider. He nearly did the same in Houston last Sunday with a lot of changeups.

When he doesn't have his fastball command, though, it's a completely different challenge. As much importance as people place on him throwing 95 mph and up, it means nothing if he can't throw it where he wants.

That's how the best pitcher in baseball spent his Saturday evening.

"It was a battle the whole night for me," Verlander said after the Tigers' 7-6 loss to the Indians at Comerica Park.

It was a battle for most everyone on the field, who were in the rare position of trying to overcome a big deficit in a Verlander start. They came tantalizingly close to pulling it off, getting Miguel Cabrera to the plate in the ninth inning with the potential tying run in scoring position and the winning run at first against closer Chris Perez.

Cabrera fell into an 0-2 hole, then shrugged off three straight pitches outside to run the count full and force Perez to make a pitch. He made a fastball on the corner that induced Cabrera to ground out to third.

When Perez needed a pitch, he had his fastball. Verlander spent five innings trying to get to that point and never quite found it.

"I felt like when I needed to make a pitch, my fastball just totally evaded me," Verlander said.

Said manager Jim Leyland: "It happens to the best of them, and it happened to the best of them tonight."

In his case, Verlander says it happens once or twice a season. What he said afterwards sounded much like what a Major League scout said while watching the game. He wasn't awful and he wasn't hurt. He was just a little off.

"I felt just off-kilter, wasn't quite right," Verlander said.

When he tried to make a fastball down and away to left-handed hitters, he said, he'd yank the pitch over the middle of the plate. Against a lineup with five left-handed batters and three switch-hitters, it was a problem.

He left a fastball over the inner half to Nick Swisher in the first inning and paid with an RBI double. He missed inside on a full-count fastball to Carlos Santana and walked him to load the bases. He did the same to Jason Giambi after that and walked in another run.

By the time Michael Brantley flied out to end the inning, Verlander had thrown 35 pitches. It was a throwback to his younger years, when his quest for strikeouts in an early jam would run up his pitch count at warp speed. Verlander lasted through nights with quick groundouts and efficient middle innings.

"A lot of times when I get my pitch count up early, I'm able to locate some fastballs the next couple innings, just nice and easy," Verlander said. "Here it is, hit it on the corners, and get some quick outs. That wasn't the case tonight. I tried to do that and continued to fall behind a little bit, and had to really work to get each and every out."

Unlike some past Indians lineups, this one wasn't going to help him out of it.

"That's what we talked about before the game, was trying to make him work for everything," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "He's so good. He's so strong. He's so durable. He has a lot of weapons. But, to our credit, we made him work for everything."

For the game, Verlander threw 41 fastballs, but just 21 for strikes. Just two of those were swinging strikes. Most of those fastballs came in the first couple innings.

Eventually, Verlander had to find a pitch he could make. He ended up making changeups, curveballs and sliders.

It's as close to a junkballer as Verlander gets.

"After the second, I really relied on my offspeed stuff, getting ahead with the fastball and then a heavy mix of offspeed and some fastballs," he said. "I was trying to grind it out for six innings and keep us in the ballgame. Obviously I was only able to go five, but like I said, it was a battle the whole night for me."

He threw more changeups than fastballs, and for more strikes. He threw more effective curveballs, a pitch he said he'd been struggling to find all season. He retired seven of eight before a leadoff walk to Nick Swisher in the fifth and a botched rundown between first and second helped run his pitch count over 100.

Verlander (4-3) finished with 110 pitches, the first time he has reached that mark without pitching into the sixth inning since August 17, 2010. He walked five batters in five innings or less for just the third time in his career.

For him, it could've been worse.

"Really, I think the Justin Verlander of old probably gives up a hefty amount of runs there," he said. "You go back a few years, I don't know if I'm quite able to make the adjustment that I did today and heavily rely on off-speed stuff. So that's something that I can take with a good vibe."

Ubaldo Jimenez (3-2), on the other hand, enjoyed one of his best outings against the Tigers since he became a division rival in the trade with Colorado two years ago. Jhonny Peralta's leadoff home run in the third was the only blemish he allowed the first time through Detroit's order, and he used strikeouts to strand three runners in scoring position in the fourth and fifth innings.

Jason Beck is a reporter for 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.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun May 12, 2013 7:38 pm

Valverde blows save, Tigers fall in rubber game
Two-out rallies in ninth, 10th innings cost Detroit series win

By Jason Beck / | 5/12/2013 7:58 PM ET


DETROIT -- Jose Valverde has given up his share of well-hit fly balls and watched Tiger outfielders run them down for outs since his return. But his first hit allowed this season turned out to be an opposite-field line drive into short left field.

In a results-oriented business, it was costlier than anything else put in play against him. That's the nature of the closing job. The nature of that job in Detroit assured that his first blown save would be a big one.

His manager, Jim Leyland, was anticipating that to be the talk as soon as the Tigers' 4-3 loss to the Indians on Sunday ended.

"This will focus a little bit about Valverde not closing it out," Leyland said. "But in reality, it's just one of those days in Major League Baseball that happens."

Leyland credited the Indians for getting the clutch hits that his team couldn't after Brayan Pena's second-inning homer and Omar Infante's fourth-inning sacrifice fly. And Pena and Darin Downs credited Mark Reynolds for the 10th-inning single that put Cleveland ahead for the first time all day.

Still, the Tigers were a strike away from taking the weekend series, having carried a 3-2 lead from the fourth into the ninth. The rally allowed Cleveland to escape town with the series win, taking two out of three games to pull even with Detroit for first place at 20-15. After the Tigers' series-opening rout Friday night, the Indians answered by hitting Justin Verlander on Saturday before getting to Detroit's closer on the way out of town.

In the results-oriented job, one that changed hands a couple weeks ago with Valverde's return, Cleveland's comeback was going to hurt more. It's not going to change his role, not even close, but that doesn't mean it didn't hurt.

"I think I'm doing my job. I throw a good pitch," Valverde said of Michael Brantley's game-tying single. "Nothing I can do. You have to credit the hitter, too."

Brantley's two-out hit, however, proved costly because of the two walks that preceded it.

Valverde had five hitless innings in as many outings since rejoining Detroit. His lone baserunner was a one-out, four-pitch walk last week in Houston, and he retired the next two hitters to overcome it.

His fastball has had good days and bad days, both with velocity and command, but he'd gotten the job done up to this point. Once Michael Bourn pinch-hit to start the ninth and drew a walk, Valverde was destined to find trouble.

"He walked the leadoff guy in the ninth. That's usually the kiss of death," Leyland said. "But he's done that before and gotten out of it."

Bourn stole second easily, but stayed put while Valverde recovered with fastballs topping out at 95 mph to strike out Lonnie Chisenhall and induce a Yan Gomes foul popup to first base.

Once Valverde had pinch-hitter Jason Giambi in a 2-2 count, the crowd of 35,260 rose to its feet. His 2-2 pitch missed low, loading the count for an offering off the corner.

Giambi, still working the strike zone at age 42, didn't offer.

"That was a very hard and tough at-bat from Giambi," Pena said. "For me, that was the key in that inning. A guy like Giambi, you don't want to get beat and you don't want to get hurt from his pull side, so you're just making sure he doesn't hurt you. He did a tremendous job battling in that at-bat."

The walk not only extended the game, it brought the lineup back to the top with Brantley, who took advantage of a 1-1 fastball left up.

"Brantley did a good job, stayed inside the ball and hit one the other way," Leyland said. "But usually, walking that first guy in a one-run game is very tough."

Said Valverde: "It's a couple pitches that went up, a couple pitches went down. I think I made some good pitches. I threw my sinker exactly where I wanted to. You have to remember, this guy is a good player, too. There's nothing you can do about that."

Valverde kept the game tied by striking out Jason Kipnis on his 29th pitch of the inning, all of them fastballs, sinkers or cutters. None were his splitter, a pitch he's been throwing on occasion but struggled to throw early on in chilly weather, conditions similar to Sunday, when it was 46 degrees.

"You guys have to remember, I don't have a Spring Training," Valverde said. "This is my Spring Training right now. So far, I've thrown four or five innings. I'll be OK."

Leyland sounded much the same when evaluating Valverde.

"My personal opinion is he's done a pretty good job since he's been back," he said. "And you've got two outs with a chance to close it out today and the guy put a good swing on the ball and stayed inside it. Overall so far, I think he's thrown the ball well."

Joe Smith held the tie in the bottom of the ninth, and Asdrubal Cabrera's leadoff double started the go-ahead rally in the 10th. After Nick Swisher's dribbler advanced Cabrera to third, Downs intentionally walked Carlos Santana to face Bourn, whose grounder gave Jhonny Peralta enough time to throw out Cabrera at the plate.

Downs (0-1) induced bad swings on back-to-back changeups to Reynolds, putting him in an 0-2 hole, and was hoping for the same on his 1-2 pitch. Reynolds sent a ground ball under Cabrera's diving attempt at third, allowing Santana to score.

"I was just trying to get something up in the zone," Reynolds said. "He started me off changeup, changeup. He left a third one kind of a little more up than the other two, and I was able to squeeze it through the hole."

Jason Beck is a reporter for 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.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Tue May 14, 2013 2:17 am

New leadoff man Dirks has monster game in win
Left fielder, filling in atop order, hits grand slam; Sanchez fans eight

By Jason Beck / | 5/13/2013 11:58 PM ET


DETROIT -- Center field is just half the challenge of replacing Austin Jackson in the Tigers lineup. Finding another leadoff man who gets on base for the big hitters in the middle of the order is a whole other matter.

Andy Dirks isn't the prototypical on-base machine atop a lineup, but on Monday, he was the hot bat. With a three-hit game and his first career grand slam, he fit the role of offensive catalyst just fine in Detroit's 7-2 win over Houston at Comerica Park.

"Pretty good leadoff hitter tonight," manager Jim Leyland said with a smile.

The victory moved Detroit (21-15) back into sole possession of first place in the American League Central ahead of Cleveland, which split a doubleheader against the Yankees earlier in the day. Detroit is now 5-0 against Houston this year, with all the games coming since May 2.

Hours after the Tigers placed Jackson on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring, Dirks went 3-for-4 with two runs, and his grand slam coming as part of a six-run fourth inning. It wasn't a leadoff kind of attack, but Dirks helped turn a game Houston briefly led into another one-sided Tigers win over an Astros squad that lost All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve with a partially dislocated jaw and No. 1 starter Bud Norris with lower back spasms.

It was more the type of game the Tigers seek from Dirks when he normally bats sixth, trying to drive in the big hitters in the order rather than setting the table for them. It's all the same to Dirks.

"I've hit leadoff in college, and I've hit leadoff in the big leagues and in the Minor Leagues," Dirks said. "It's really nothing different the way I approach it. I just try to get on base for the big guys when I'm up in there, and when I'm in the six hole it's kind of the same thing, just try to get a new rally started."

It's a simple approach from a hitter with a simple swing. He centered two pitches when the situation called for it. Then, with a two-strike count in a typical sacrifice fly situation, he looked to lift a ball and took advantage of what Norris called "the worst 0-2 pitch I made in my career."

The results left Dirks a triple shy of the cycle. The one hit he needed, ironically enough, was the hit that has been Jackson's specialty.

Dirks' lone leadoff hit was a first-inning drive over Robbie Grossman's head in deep center field for a double, which Torii Hunter duplicated three pitches later to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Dirks' single was a ground ball up the middle with one out in the third that looked like it'd spark a rally, but Marwin Gonzalez's lunging catch robbed Hunter of a hit before Norris spotted three pitches low and away to strike out Miguel Cabrera.

At that point, Norris was protecting a 2-1 lead built on three consecutive hits to lead off the third. Victor Martinez's second homer against the Astros in a week and a half erased that, as the two-run shot made it 3-2. Back-to-back singles and an Omar Infante walk gave Dirks a chance to put it away with the bases loaded.

Norris (4-4) put Dirks in an 0-2 hole with offspeed pitches. With a runner on third and less than two outs, it's normally a situation for a hitter to shorten his swing, look for contact and settle for a fly ball deep enough to score the run.

"You just want him to put a good, short swing on the ball," Leyland said.

That's what Dirks was doing.

"It's not like you can think this is the count," Dirks said. "Once you get two strikes, maybe you shorten up a little bit more, but other than that, it's not like you think, 'All right, he's going to try to throw me this or this.' You just have to kind of see the ball and hit it."

It was a good, short swing, Leyland explained. With a slider over the plate, it just happened to go a long way. The extended arm from Dirks on the follow-through showed what he thought of it.

"Dirks made a good swing on it," Norris said. "It was unfortunate to me and my team, and I've got to learn from that, and next time don't make that same pitch."

Dirks will take it if it's there.

"Well, I liked it," he said. "No, it's just one of those things in baseball. He didn't mean to leave a pitch over the plate like that, and I was fortunate enough to be on time with it and hit it."

Dirks had one chance to complete what would've been the first cycle by a Tigers hitter since Carlos Guillen in 2006, but he hit a comebacker to reliever Paul Clemens leading off the seventh.

He won't always be at top the order while Jackson is out. Leyland still plans on sitting him against left-handed starters in favor of Matt Tuiasosopo, and use Omar Infante to lead off. Still, he's batting .354 (17-for-48) with four home runs and eight RBIs in 13 games since coming back from knee trouble at the end of April.

That was plenty of run support for starter Anibal Sanchez (4-3), who recovered from Houston's two-run third to retire 14 of the final 16 batters he faced. He fanned four consecutive Astros from the end of the fifth inning into the sixth, comprising half of his eight K's.

Sanchez has struck out 42 batters over 27 innings in his last four starts, starting with his 17-strikeout game against the Braves on April 26.

Jason Beck is a reporter for 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.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Wed May 15, 2013 5:41 pm

Tigers come alive in fifth to back sharp Fister
Bench shines as club erases two-run deficit with two-out rally

By Jason Beck / | 5/15/2013 12:22 AM ET


DETROIT -- Lucas Harrell baffled the Tigers for 4 2/3 innings and protected a two-run lead. By the time he got the third out of the fifth, he was down. By the time a Tiger was retired in the sixth, Harrell was out.

"He's a good Major League pitcher," manager Jim Leyland said after the Tigers' 6-2 win over the Astros on Tuesday at Comerica Park. "He got a little hyper there when he got in trouble, and we were able to take advantage of it."

This is what the Tigers can do to young pitchers. On this night, though, it was a few unlikely Tigers who helped turn a pitching duel into another win over Houston, with Doug Fister retiring 12 straight at one point and going seven strong innings to improve to 5-1.

"When you're a bench guy, any way you can contribute, you want to contribute," said Don Kelly, whose RBI single helped fuel a three-run fifth inning that changed the tone of the game.

By the time Miguel Cabrera sent a Hector Ambriz pitch halfway up the left-field seats for a seventh-inning solo homer and his 41st RBI, the margin left the Astros' early lead unrecognizable. Yet Detroit's sixth win in as many tries against Houston in two weeks marked the first time the Tigers trailed by multiple runs in any of them.

Houston's young hitters took advantage of Fister while he was trying to settle in early, and they built a 2-0 lead. Meanwhile, for half of the game, Harrell showed neither the inclination nor the mistakes to give it up, holding Detroit to a Torii Hunter infield single and two walks into the fifth while inducing eight ground-ball outs.

Not only was he an out away from qualifying for the win, Harrell had the bottom third of the order coming up. On this night, that included Kelly -- who has filled in the last three games for the injured Austin Jackson -- and Ramon Santiago, who was giving shortstop Jhonny Peralta a day off.

If Harrell could have kept rolling, he wouldn't have seen Cabrera and Prince Fielder again until the seventh. By the time Cabrera stepped up to lead off the sixth, the damage was done. Detroit's secondary hitters had gotten him. Omar Infante, for that matter, had arguably gotten in his head.

Normally, Infante does that from the ninth spot, setting up the top of the order. With Kelly and Santiago starting on Tuesday, Infante hit seventh. His two-out single in the fifth extended the inning for them. His ensuing stolen base changed the tone of it altogether and set up Harrell's demise.

"I think when Omar stole the base, it changed the whole inning," Leyland said. "I think all of a sudden now, [Harrell is] trying not to give up a run. I thought that was huge."

With a 10-30 team that has struggled mightily to plate runs at various times, it's a hard mentality to fault. More than a couple of Tigers pitchers went through that in 2003, when Detroit lost 119 games.

Infante has the green light to steal a base by default; it only changes if there's a big hitter up. With a 2-2 count, Kelly batting, Santiago on deck and Harrell seemingly focused on Kelly, Infante made it without a throw.

With a full count, Infante not only was in scoring position, he had the chance to take a running start off second.

"With two strikes, you're not trying to do too much at all," Kelly said. "You just want to stay within yourself and really put it in play. I mean, you're trying to still get a good pitch, but you want to be able to barrel the ball up and put it in play, which gives the team a chance to score. ...

"If he doesn't steal second there, it's [runners at] first and second, nobody's in. The steal was huge."

All Kelly needed was a liner to left for Infante to score easily. With Houston's lead halved to 2-1, Harrell never looked the same.

"He was working really fast, and later we got him out of rhythm a little bit," Santiago said. "We tried to [get him to] pitch a little bit slower, take some time outs, try to get the tempo down."

For that matter, Santiago's opposite-field double with authority looked different, too. He was just 4-for-26 on the season, and hadn't played since May 5 in Houston. He tried to keep his bat as fresh as he could taking early batting practice, but his approach was veteran.

"He gave me a sinker away and I didn't try to pull the sinker," he said. "You've gotta go the other way. We had a good approach that inning. That was big for us."

Andy Dirks, whose three-hit game fueled Monday's win, added another clutch hit with a go-ahead ground-rule double over the out-of-town scoreboard in right-center. Only a high hop off the warning track kept Dirks from third base and potentially scoring.

"He was making good pitches, wasn't leaving much over the plate, mixing it up pretty well," Dirks said of Harrell early. "And after you see a guy a couple times, usually you see what he's got and it gives you a little bit of an edge."

Harrell (3-4) ended the threat there, but he couldn't recover against the middle of the Tigers order in the sixth, exiting after Cabrera doubled and scored on a Victor Martinez single. Travis Blackley didn't allow a hit, but his wild pitch allowed Prince Fielder to score for a 5-2 lead.

"I felt like I was good all game," Harrell said. "I felt like the pitches that Santiago and those guys hit I felt like those were balls that, I don't want to say should've been caught, but I felt like that could've been close to being caught."

Jason Beck is a reporter for 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.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Thu May 16, 2013 1:56 am

Miggy's drive offers glimmer of hope, but falls shy
Detroit has to settle for series win after Houston takes finale

By Jason Beck / | 5/15/2013 7:09 PM ET


DETROIT -- Jim Leyland gave the warning Wednesday morning: Beating any team seven times in a row is tough to pull off, even the Astros.

The Tigers came within a few feet of Miguel Cabrera's opposite-field power of doing it. It would have been a walk-off grand slam if they had.

As soon as Cabrera hit the fly ball, though, most of the Tigers knew it wasn't enough. To right-center field, the part where Alex Rodriguez once said he hit a ball as hard as he possibly could and saw it bounce off the out-of-town scoreboard, it's almost impossible, even for the Yankees slugger.

"You can usually tell by the reaction of the outfielders," Leyland said after the Tigers' 7-5 loss against the Astros on Wednesday afternoon. "I could tell."

When Cabrera was asked if he thought it had a chance, he said, "In this stadium?"

Then he laughed.

"Hit it and pray they don't catch it," Cabrera said.

It was an uncomfortable feeling in both halves. As much as Leyland was hoping Cabrera's ball could somehow carry, he had hoped his matchup of lefty Phil Coke against switch-hitting catcher Carlos Corporan in the top of the ninth would work out.

He didn't have a good feeling about that one, either, as he made the change and called for the southpaw. But the way Al Alburquerque was throwing, having just walked the leadoff man, J.D. Martinez, in a tie game, Leyland felt it was better than the status quo.

Joaquin Benoit was off no matter what, Leyland said before the game. Jose Valverde had been warming up in the eighth, but Leyland didn't want to use him in a tie game with the go-ahead run on base.

Leyland knew Coke against a right-handed hitter wasn't his best matchup, but Alburquerque's command issues have cost Leyland's trust in even favorable matchups.

"By my own admission, I didn't feel real comfortable doing it because of the switch-hitters. However, you can't let [Alburquerque] walk them," he said. "I mean, that's depressing.

"If I had felt like he was going to throw the ball over the plate or had shown any signs that he was going to throw it over the plate, I would've obviously left him in. But when you're having trouble and you're bouncing the ball, that's not real comfortable."

The Tigers' comfortable feeling lasted for an inning after Avisail Garcia's first Major League home run. The demonstration of the power potential long touted in the prospect was a three-run homer into the seats in left-center during a four-run second inning to build a 4-1 lead.

It was the kind of Tigers rally that doomed the Astros the previous couple nights, and it seemed like ample run support behind right-handed starter Max Scherzer. This time, though, the Astros battled back with four runs in the fourth, three of them on a Martinez home run that nearly hit Willie Horton's No. 23 on the brick wall behind left field.

"I was missing just by a couple inches the whole day, and I had a four-batter stretch where I lost command and I didn't execute," said Scherzer, whose four-game winning streak paused with seven innings of five-run ball in a no-decision. "They did a good of taking advantage of me in that situation with fastballs over the middle of the plate, and obviously when I hung a slider, that's what cost me for a three-run homer.

"But there's other parts of the game when I was executing pitches and I did a lot of other things right. That's what kind of leads to a frustrating outing."

Houston had a 5-4 lead and starter Dallas Keuchel was in a groove, retiring six consecutive batters and inducing a Victor Martinez ground ball that should've been the seventh. When shortstop Marwin Gonzalez booted it, though, the error extended the sixth inning for back-to-back singles from Jhonny Peralta and Matt Tuiasosopo to bring in Martinez and tie the game at 5.

That's where it stood heading into the bullpen, where it eventually got uncomfortable. As well as the Tigers have played the past few weeks, the late innings remain where opponents can get them.

It's the lingering discomfort as Leyland tries to sort out the mix beyond Valverde and Benoit. Drew Smyly, a long reliever to begin the season, continued his transition to late-inning work by following Scherzer for the eighth.

With two on and two outs for free-swinging Chris Carter, Leyland saw the perfect opportunity for the high-strikeout Alburquerque, and he didn't disappoint. Carter arguably chased three pitches off the plate, fouling off one and missing two others, including a slider in the dirt for the strikeout.

But Alburquerque (0-1) could not get the same swings from J.D. Martinez.

"Their team overall is better against left-handers, and Alburquerque has pretty good numbers against righties and lefties," Leyland said. "If he was throwing strikes, obviously I would have left him in. But he was too wild today. He was just too wild. I mean, he was bouncing balls to [Carter]. He struck him out on a ball in the dirt. If the guy takes that pitch, we might have been in trouble there."

As dominant as Alburquerque looked a month ago, tossing five innings of one-hit ball with 10 strikeouts over four outings, he has been unpredictable since. He walked two batters in each of three straight appearances at the end of the April, but escaped without damage. He has given up a run in each of his past three outings, with nine baserunners over 16 batters faced.

It's not a comfortable feeling for Leyland. Neither was the fly ball.

"They say it's a game of inches," Astros manager Bo Porter said, "and the inches fell our way today."

Jason Beck is a reporter for 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.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sat May 18, 2013 1:07 am

Verlander roughed up, Tigers routed by Rangers
Ace gives up eight runs over 2 2/3 frames in opener of four-game set

By Jim Reeves / Special to | 5/17/2013 1:21 AM ET


ARLINGTON -- Justin Verlander has made more memorable starts in his career than he can count. This wasn't one of them.

Thursday night's uncharacteristic performance by the Tigers' ace falls under the category of completely forgettable, and the sooner the better.

Billed as a stellar matchup of marquee superstar pitchers -- Verlander for Detroit and Texas' supernova Yu Darvish -- the opener of a four-game series between division leaders didn't exactly unfold according to expectations.

Torpedoed by the Rangers' seven-run third, Verlander failed to complete at least three innings for only the fourth time in his career. Darvish wasn't his sharpest either, but as has become the norm when he's on the mound, the Texas bats boomed and the Rangers stormed to a 10-4 victory at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

"It was one of those games where everyone in the world was looking for the matchup and it didn't work out so good," manager Jim Leyland said. "I don't think anyone expected 12 runs to be scored with those two guys out there. These things happen."

They just don't usually happen with Verlander on the mound.

"I'm not going to go home and pout about this," said Verlander, who lost his second straight start. "I'm going to figure this out -- and fast."

Darvish, who threw a career-high 130 pitches over eight innings, lifted his record to 7-1.

Verlander's performance was littered with unexplainable lowlights. It was only the sixth time he's coughed up eight or more runs in 241 career starts, the last time coming Aug. 28 last season in a 9-8 loss to the Royals. On 160 previous bases-loaded occasions, Verlander had issued only three walks to force in runs. He did it twice in the same inning Thursday night.

"I just had too many poorly executed pitches," Verlander said. "Something's not right, and it's consistency in repeating my delivery. It helps knowing that I'm someone who can turn things around quickly."

The Rangers were delighted to take advantage of Verlander's unusual off-night.

"Verlander was a little wild in the third inning and we didn't chase him outside the zone," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We made him come into the zone. He didn't have command of his fastball and we didn't chase it. I've never seen him not being able to command that fastball."

What made the spectacle even more garish was Verlander's previous exceptional work against the offensively talented Rangers over the years, and particularly in the Texas ballpark.

The big right-hander, who was honored with both the American League MVP and Cy Young Awards in 2011, came in with a 7-2 record and 2.02 ERA in 11 starts against Texas. He had been even better in the Lone Star State, posting a 3-0 mark and 1.29 ERA in four starts at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

When he strolled to the mound for the bottom of the third, Verlander was already protecting a 3-1 lead, built on Don Kelly's leadoff home run and sacrifice flies by Torii Hunter and Victor Martinez as Darvish labored through a 36-pitch third inning.

Besides two bases-loaded walks, the real pain came on a two-run double by Mitch Moreland on an 0-2 pitch and a three-run home run by Geovany Soto to cap the inning.

"He made a horrible pitch to Moreland," Leyland said. "That was the killer pitch. He left a slider right there, up, when it was no ball and two strikes.

"The positive out of this game is that I won't have to hear anymore about his velocity. He threw two 99-mph fastballs. We don't have to worry about whether he's got the velocity or not."

In fact, Verlander made a point of saying that he is completely healthy, that he should have done what Darvish did and pitched out of trouble in the third and that he knows exactly where to find the answers to his troubles.

"It's going to be in the bullpen," Verlander said. "I think I've been tinkering a little too much. It's time to get back to basics."

"It's not easy to sit here and digest. I've been spoiled the last couple of years by being in pretty good sync with my delivery. I know one thing: I'll get it back and I'll get it back in a hurry."

Jim Reeves is a contributor for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sat May 18, 2013 1:10 am

Porcello leads way as Tigers double up Rangers
Righty strikes out six; Miggy collects three hits to help even series

By Jim Reeves / Special to | 5/18/2013 1:05 AM ET


ARLINGTON -- The pitching duel in Texas that fans expected to see on Thursday night from Justin Verlander and Yu Darvish showed up 24 hours later.

As far as the Tigers were concerned, it was better late than never.

The Tigers happily accepted Rick Porcello's fourth straight solid start, this one arguably his best of the season, and rode it and another solid effort from the bullpen to a 2-1 victory over the Rangers on Friday night at Rangers Ballpark.

Porcello showed poise and determination, especially when the Rangers threatened, and Texas was 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

"That won't happen very often, we know that," manager Jim Leyland said. "Everybody expected this [pitching duel] last night. That's why this is a great game. You don't expect a 2-1 game in this ballpark."

The Tigers' victory squared the series at one game apiece in a clash of division leaders.

Porcello fell an out short of qualifying for a quality start, but there was no question that he did his job and then some, limiting the same team that rang up 10 runs a night earlier to just five hits and a single run over 5 2/3 innings.

"There weren't many easy outs tonight," said Porcello, who made it look easy nonetheless. "They really battled, fouled off a lot of pitches and stayed aggressive.

"This is a tough place to pitch, especially with the lineup they put out there. I just wanted to keep the ball down. If you keep it down, they can't hurt you as much."

The Rangers posed serious threats in both the third and fourth innings, but Porcello met the challenge. After rookie Leonys Martin drilled a one-out triple to right-center, Porcello retired Elvis Andrus on an infield-in liner to first baseman Prince Fielder and caught second baseman Leury Garcia looking at a third strike, one of Porcello's half dozen strikeouts on the night.

It's the third straight start in which Porcello has struck out at least six, which is a bit unusual for a guy who generally pitches to contact.

"He has been aggressive, throwing a better breaking ball and using his changeup really well," Leyland said. "He's a ground-ball guy and if he gets strikeouts, that's just a bonus."

Porcello said he knew he had to bear down after Martin's triple.

"You just want to an out there," he said. "You just don't want the inning to blow up on you. We were fortunate to get out of it. There were a couple of situations where we made plays when we had to make them."

Lance Berkman and Adrian Beltre led off the fourth with singles, but Porcello quickly doused that threat by coaxing Nelson Cruz to roll into an around-the-horn double play and Mitch Moreland to bounce out to first. It was the first of two critical double plays Cruz would ground into in the game.

"He was throwing nothing new," Cruz said. "He was throwing to his spots and nothing to the middle, where we would do some damage. When he's getting the ball down and in, it's hard to square the ball up. He was hitting his spots."

Rangers manager Ron Washington also gave Porcello plenty of credit.

"I thought Porcello was as good as I've ever seen him," Washington said. "He loaded up the strike zone with all kinds of pitches. We worked him pretty good. We had opportunities, but he made pitches and we couldn't deliver."

Porcello's only major mistake came in the fifth inning, when Rangers catcher Geovany Soto lined his second home run in as many nights into the left-field seats.

By that time, the Tigers had broken through for a pair of runs off Texas starter Nick Tepesch in their half of the fifth with Miguel Cabrera's double doing the major damage. Cabrera had three of the Tigers' six hits off Tepesch and the Texas bullpen.

Porcello bowed out after issuing a two-out walk to Beltre in the sixth and the Tigers' bullpen took it from there. Jose Ortega got a couple of outs and left-hander Drew Smyly picked off two more.

That got it handily to setup man Joaquin Benoit, who gave up a couple of hits in the eighth, but again got Cruz to ground into an inning-ending double play, setting the stage for closer Jose Valverde in the ninth.

The Detroit closer sandwiched three ground balls to second around a one-out walk to notch his fourth save.

Jim Reeves is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun May 19, 2013 1:25 am

Anibal unable to get out third inning against Rangers
Right-hander allows six runs, five earned, over 2 2/3 frames

By Chris Corona / Special to | 5/19/2013 12:46 AM ET


ARLINGTON -- For Anibal Sanchez, it was just one of those nights.

Despite entering the game with seven straight quality starts, the right-hander gave up six runs, five earned, on nine hits over only 2 2/3 innings in the Tigers' 7-2 loss to the Rangers at the Ballpark in Arlington on Saturday night. It marked the third-shortest start of his career and his shortest outing since Aug. 10, 2011.

"I didn't have good command. That was the problem," Sanchez said. "My fastball was up. My changeup didn't move too much. My breaking ball, I threw it for strikes, but it wasn't in the right locations. It was just a bad outing. That's part of the game."

Two days after the Rangers scored eight runs off Tigers ace Justin Verlander, who also lasted just 2 2/3 innings, Sanchez was roughed up. Elvis Andrus led off the first inning with a single to left, the first of his career-high five hits, and scored on a passed ball. In his next at-bat, Andrus fouled off several full-count offerings from Sanchez before tripling off right fielder Torii Hunter's glove on the 11th pitch of the at-bat, highlighting a three-run rally in the second inning.

"It's something called L-I-G-H-T-S," Hunter said of Andrus' three-bagger. "You can't do anything about that. I just fought it the best way I could and I just put my glove where I saw it last and it didn't work out. You can't catch something you can't see."

Hunter drove in Avisail Garcia with an RBI double in the third inning and scored on a single by Prince Fielder to cut the Rangers' lead in half at 4-2. But Mitch Moreland led off the bottom half of the frame with a 415-foot home run to left. Andrus continued the scoring barrage with an RBI single later in the inning. He was the last batter Sanchez faced.

"Knocking him out early was huge," Andrus said. "You cannot give those guys opportunities. In the first game and in this one, we really stepped up and took them out."

Rangers rookie right-hander Justin Grimm held the Tigers to two runs on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings. Only one Tigers baserunner advanced past first base after they scored twice in that third inning.

"[Grimm's] 89-90 [mph] was kind of sneaky and he hit his spots, in on the big guys, hit the outside corner," Hunter said. "He had a two-seamer, a cutter, a curveball and a changeup. He didn't make too many mistakes."

The Tigers got away with having to use their bullpen early in Friday's 2-1 win, when four relievers combined to throw 3 1/3 scoreless innings following Rick Porcello's strong start. But Sanchez's ineffective outing was too much to overcome. The Rangers scored early and often, adding to their lead with an RBI double from Lance Berkman in the sixth.

"They've got some champions over there," Hunter said. "They've been to the World Series, won the ALCS. They know how to win and how to battle back. They got to two of our best pitchers, Sanchez and Verlander. We've just got to keep battling, keep bobbing and weaving. This is baseball, baby. This is the way the game goes. You've got to be strong to play this game."

Drew Smyly, who threw 12 pitches Friday, gave up one run on two hits in 3 1/3 innings after replacing Sanchez with two outs in the third. Phil Coke tossed two scoreless frames, striking out two and walking one. In the first three games of this four-game series against the Rangers, Tigers starters have combined to allow 14 earned runs in just 11 innings, posting a collective 11.45 ERA.

"The bullpen saved us again," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "We've ran into a little funk where we get into our bullpen a little bit earlier and our pitch count gets up too early. It causes you to go to your bullpen because you have to, not because you want to."

The Tigers, who entered Saturday tied with the Indians for the division lead, have lost three of their last four games and seven of their last 11. With the Indians' walk-off win over the Mariners on Saturday, the Tigers now trail them by one game in the AL Central. They'll look to split the series with the Rangers on Sunday night.

"That's what we want to do, finish with a split," Hunter said. "If we can finish with a split, I think we'll be happy. We'll wish we could've done more, but we'll be happy with that."

Chris Corona is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Mon May 20, 2013 1:33 am

Despite Miggy's three HRs, Tigers outslugged
Fielder adds three RBIs, but Detroit drops three of four to Rangers

By Christian Corona / Special to | 5/20/2013 1:38 AM ET


ARLINGTON -- Miguel Cabrera blasting three home runs and Prince Fielder delivering a bases-clearing double would normally mean a Tigers win.

But another short outing by a Tigers starting pitcher and a bullpen that was unable to stop the bleeding meant that Cabrera and Fielder combining for eight RBIs wouldn't be enough. Despite the second three-homer game of Cabrera's career, the Tigers fell to the Rangers, 11-8, at the Ballpark in Arlington on Sunday night.

"This one is very hard to swallow," catcher Brayan Pena said. "We had a pretty good shot to win the game and we didn't. It's one of those days you feel like it was going to be a heavyweight fight. But it's baseball. You just have to learn from the mistakes and continue to work and improve."

Cabrera drove in the first four Tigers runs, three on a 441-foot home run to right in the third off Rangers starter Derek Holland and the other on a 403-foot rocket to center in the fifth. That marked the 27th multi-homer game of his career and put the Tigers on top, 4-1, but the lead wouldn't last long.

Four straight hitters reached base after Elvis Andrus' RBI groundout in the home half of the fifth as Doug Fister walked David Murphy and gave up an RBI single to Lance Berkman. Adrian Beltre followed with his second bloop double to shallow left. The ball was inches away from the foul line when it bounced off shortstop Jhonny Peralta's glove, allowing two runs to score.

"The ball bounces one way or the other," Fister said. "If it bounces our way, we get out of that inning. If it bounces their way, it causes trouble. He did it twice. The guy's a great hitter. I've got to tip my cap because he put it where we weren't. That's pretty much what it came down to."

Nelson Cruz's infield single ended Fister's night. Fister, who fell to 2-5 with a 6.00 ERA in eight career starts against the Rangers, allowed five runs on nine hits in just 4 2/3 innings as Tigers starters went 1-3 with a 10.91 ERA in the four-game series.

"Fister's not a guy that I enjoy facing," Beltre said. "We knocked him around a little bit before the fifth inning and we jumped on the bullpen. That's what you're supposed to do."

The Tigers regained the lead when, after Jason Frasor intentionally walked Cabrera, Fielder lined a double that one-hopped the center-field fence, driving in three runs -- one more than he had driven in during his previous 11 games.

"[Fielder] coming through against the left-hander [Michael Kirkman], that was huge," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "That was a heck of an at-bat when they walked Miguel and Prince fought his butt off against that lefty and hit the ball in the gap. That was a huge hit for us."

But, once again, the Tigers failed to hold on to the lead. With the Tigers on top, 7-5, the Rangers batted around and scored four times for the second straight inning. Murphy's three-run homer off Ortega highlighted the sixth-inning rally and put the Tigers in a hole they would not climb out of.

"We just made some horrible pitches late in the game," Leyland said. "We felt like [Ortega] was perfect for that spot. We were a little bit short, obviously."

Cabrera's third blast was a 404-footer to center in the eighth inning, giving him his first three-home run game since May 28, 2010. Sunday marked the first time that Fielder and Cabrera each had at least three RBIs in a game since they became teammates before last season.

Cabrera became the first player in Major League history to go 4-for-4 with three home runs, five RBIs and four runs scored in a loss.

"Of course you wouldn't have believed that, but unfortunately that's what happened," Fielder said. "You never think you're going to lose. You always feel confident you're going to win, but it just didn't work out."

With the loss, the Tigers trail the Indians by two games in the American League Central -- their largest division deficit this season. After an off-day Monday, they will be in Cleveland for a two-game series against the Indians, who are 15-4 in their last 19 games while the Tigers have lost eight of their last 12.

Christian Corona is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Tue May 21, 2013 11:42 pm

Miggy continues to wow, carry Tigers in division race
Cabrera homers to put Detroit ahead, providing support for Scherzer

By Jason Beck / | 5/22/2013 12:30 AM ET


CLEVELAND -- Jim Leyland is running out of things to say about Miguel Cabrera.

"I have been for a few years now," the Tigers manager warned Tuesday afternoon, before a 5-1 win against the Indians. "Guys keep asking, and I don't know what else to say. I really don't."

Cabrera, unrelenting, keeps providing things worth talking about. His encore to his three-homer masterpiece from Sunday was only one home run, but it was a doozy, big enough to change the course of their series opener against the American League Central leaders.

Add in the style points, and he left teammates and opponents marveling again.

"If you look at the video, I went back to tag up," said Torii Hunter, who was on second base as Cabrera's line drive to straightaway center field went over him and kept going for 411 feet. "I played it off pretty smooth, like, 'Yeah, I knew it was gone."

Hunter played enough games here to know that line drives normally don't carry out to that part of the park.

Jhonny Peralta played most of his career here, so he knows better than most. In the two-plus seasons he has played alongside Cabrera, however, he has learned not to be surprised by anything the reigning AL Most Valuable Player does.

That doesn't mean Peralta can't be impressed.

"The way he hit it? One-handed? Unbelievable," Peralta marveled.

It was enough for Leyland to find more things to say.

"That pitch was down and away," Leyland said of Corey Kluber's offering, "and he just got extended on it. Like I said, there's not many guys that can do that. That's why he is who he is."

And in the few seconds it took for Cabrera's liner to clear the center-field fence for a go-ahead two-run homer, the suddenly silenced crowd at Progressive Field was reminded: That's why the AL Central is still seen as the Tigers' to lose.

The immediate impact of Tuesday's win on the standings was incremental, moving Detroit within a game and a half of Cleveland in the division. The fearsome part is what Cabrera could mean in the race over the coming weeks if he keeps hitting like this.

His 12th home run of the year -- and fourth in two games -- put him one off the AL lead, while extending his advantage in RBIs and batting average. He's one homer away from leading all three Triple Crown categories again, but on a pace for stronger numbers than last year, and a handful of hits away from hitting .400 in late May.

According to Elias Sports Bureau and ESPN Stats and Information, Cabrera is the sixth player in Major League history to bat .384 or better with at least 12 home runs and 49 RBIs through his team's first 43 games. The only other player to do it in the past 50 years was Boston's Manny Ramirez in 2001.

This is the type of tear that not only carried Cabrera into the history books last September, but carried the Tigers into October. Unlike Sunday night in Texas, when Cabrera homered three times in a losing effort, Max Scherzer kept the Tigers close enough Tuesday -- retiring 22 consecutive batters after a first-inning run -- to remain one Cabrera drive away from a lead.

"[Cabrera] doesn't throw any at-bats away anymore, and I'm proud of him for that," Leyland said, "because we talked about that a couple years ago. He's a hard guy to get out. No matter when he's up there, no matter what the situation is, he's a tough guy to get out. When he grinds that at-bat out, it's something to see."

That was a point Indians manager Terry Francona tried to make before the game.

"If you are fortunate to get him out early," Francona warned, "he can set you up late."

Kluber retired Cabrera twice in his first five masterful innings, protecting a 1-0 lead, but Cabrera took 16 pitches out of him doing it. He saw the array of fastballs, changeups and sliders.

"You want to see all his pitches in the first at-bats," Cabrera said. "He worked hard in the first inning. That's our goal, try to work the count, try to make something happen, try to give run support."

They finally took advantage in the sixth. A 3-1 count and an understandable reluctance to put the leadoff man on for the middle of Detroit's order left Kluber with no choice but to challenge Andy Dirks, who jumped on a 94-mph fastball and sent it out on a line to right to tie the game.

After Kluber (3-3) left an 0-2 fastball up to Torii Hunter, who drove it to the fence for a double, he didn't get that far with Cabrera.

Cabrera fouled off Kluber's high fastball for strike one, but adjusted to the second pitch diving away.

"I missed my spot," Kluber said. "And it was kind of right where he wanted it."

The result looked an awful lot like his line-drive homer to straightaway center Sunday night in Texas, except this one cleared the fence without contact for a 3-1 lead.

"I didn't think it was [going out]," Cabrera said. "I think the wind helped me a little bit."

Cabrera's 195th home run as a Tiger moved him into a tie with Kirk Gibson for 10th place on the all-time franchise list. His 28 home runs against Cleveland are more than he has hit against any other opponent, and his 14 at Progressive Field are tops for him anywhere on the road.

Scherzer carried that lead through the eighth with his best outing of the year. He didn't have a strikeout until the fifth inning, despite a 98-mph fastball and a nasty slider, but he fanned seven of the last 12 batters he faced.

Two singles and a walk, all in the first inning, comprised all the damage off Scherzer, who improved to 6-0 for the second time in three seasons.

Jason Beck is a reporter for 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.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Thu May 23, 2013 1:58 am

Tigers withstand Tribe's late charge
Verlander labors, but earns win in game slowed by two rain delays

By Jason Beck / | 5/23/2013 2:25 AM ET


CLEVELAND -- Justin Verlander was almost unbeatable two years ago on his way to 24 victories, and wasn't far off on his way to 17 wins last year. On Wednesday, as he saw the heavens open up and douse Progressive Field with one out in the fifth inning, he had to look and wonder what he had to do to just get one.

"Obviously, they had the weather report, knew it was going to start raining pretty hard," Verlander said. "But yeah, it was like, 'You've gotta be kidding me.'"

Verlander had to wait through a 62-minute rain delay to get the last two outs and qualify for the victory. Nearly two hours and another rain delay later, it took the kind of home run that makes one think even fortune can't retire Miguel Cabrera these days to seal the 11-7 win over the first-place Indians.

"Lucky home run," Cabrera admitted. "I take it, especially with a win. Long game."

It was the most bizarre home run Cabrera can remember hitting, a fly ball to deep center that hit Michael Bourn's glove and bounced over the fence. It was that kind of Wednesday night, and eventually Thursday morning.

Between a 3-hour, 33-minute game and nearly two hours of rain delays, it was well past midnight when Jose Valverde finished it off. Time hasn't nearly tolled like that for the upstart Indians yet, but the win brought the Tigers within half a game of the American League Central lead heading home for four games against the Twins at Comerica Park.

"I probably helped the Marlboro stock a little bit. Other than that, I don't know what to tell you, except we won," manager Jim Leyland said.

Verlander did little to help Leyland's stress level, either before the rain delay or during it. It was never vintage Verlander Wednesday, and after the fourth inning, it wasn't dry at Progressive Field. The bottom line is five runs on 10 hits over five innings was good enough on this night.

"Tonight definitely was a big step forward," Verlander said.

The Indians were the team that started Verlander on his difficult stretch of starts, having taken advantage of a wild fastball a week and a half ago in Detroit. Those struggles turned into a debacle of a third inning in Texas, leading him to get back to basics in his side sessions.

When Verlander again worked into early trouble, he seemed headed for the same fate, allowing three consecutive two-out hits for a first-inning run before three more hits plated a run and loaded the bases for cleanup hitter Michael Brantley in the second.

Again, Verlander was firing fastballs in the upper 90s, topping out at 98 mph during an 11-pitch battle with Jason Kipnis. This time, though, he was painting the corners, eventually striking Kipnis out before a walk to Asdrubal Cabrera loaded the bases. Verlander needed to make a pitch, and he went back to the fastball.

Verlander escaped with Brantley's groundout, ending a 36-pitch marathon of an inning. He entered the third with 58 pitches, had a long conversation with pitching coach Jeff Jones, then used just 30 pitches to set down the Tribe in the next two frames while Detroit's four-run third against Ubaldo Jimenez and three-run fifth against David Huff built a commanding 9-2 lead.

"I thought the first couple innings was better than I was the last couple starts," Verlander said. "I was able to make some pitches when I needed to and then I felt like I was able to find it there in the third and the fourth. And then the fifth inning, I got out to warm up and then [catcher Brayan] Pena gives me the [sign to] hurry up. I guess he had heard the rain was coming."

One look at the skies beyond left field made it clear.

"I kind of rushed a little bit and ended up trying to get some quick outs, because I knew it was coming," Verlander said. "Made some bad pitches, got hurt."

Three straight hits, including Carlos Santana's two-run homer, drew Cleveland to within 9-5 before the first round of storms passed through.

Verlander paced and lurked. It was a rough start by anyone's standards, but it was his game to win.

Normally, an hour-long rain delay is enough for Leyland to end a starting pitcher's night. For Verlander, he allowed a few extra minutes.

"Since I've been here in 2006, he's been our horse," Leyland said. "I thought as rough as the sledding was, he deserved the opportunity."

Said Verlander: "If it was probably five or 10 minutes more, I was done. But I just wanted go out there and complete that inning and finish on a positive vibe, and I was able to do that. "

The game continued hours after Jimenez was gone, his six runs allowed topping the total from his previous three starts combined. Yet it wasn't ultimately safe until Cabrera, who doubled in Detroit's first run in the opening inning, struck again in the eighth off Rich Hill.

Bourn had robbed the Tigers of at least two extra-base hits over the course of the night. Cabrera's drive became Detroit's payback, sending Bourn to the fence before his attempt at another defensive gem went horribly wrong.

"I just missed it," Bourn said. "There wasn't no excuses. I had my balance, I was good and it just came out of my glove."

The reaction on Cabrera's face rounding first base was priceless, like a gameshow contestant who just made a lucky guess.

"I thought it was an out there," Cabrera said. "I was very lucky there. It's better to be lucky than good."

Instead, it became Cabrera's 13th home run, one off Chris Davis' AL lead, and 52nd RBI, most by a Tiger through 44 games since Hank Greenberg drove in 55 over the same stretch in 1937.

Jason Beck is a reporter for 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.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Fri May 24, 2013 1:24 am

Prince takes care of business in Tigers' comeback win
First baseman rips RBI singles after two walks to Cabrera late in game

By Jason Beck / | 5/24/2013 2:03 AM ET


DETROIT -- The home run streak Miguel Cabrera is on has teams wanting nothing to do with him with first base open.

The hit streak Prince Fielder is on after teams walk Cabrera had him rewarding Tigers manager Jim Leyland for actually setting up the opportunity Thursday.

"I just feel like that means they want to pitch to me. They want to give me a strike," Fielder said after his go-ahead RBI single completed a four-run Tigers comeback for a 7-6 win over the Twins at Comerica Park. "That's good."

The Tigers' third straight win kept them a half-game behind Cleveland in the American League Central. The Indians recovered from their two-game sweep to the Tigers to rout the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

It won't always work out so easily, and it arguably came within inches of backfiring on Thursday. But on a night when Cabrera homered for the fourth consecutive game, it was a deflected RBI single by Fielder that decided it.

It wasn't pretty, but for Fielder, it's becoming beauty in consistency.

"That's what I told him after the game. I said, 'Just keep doing what you're doing,'" Leyland said. "And that's the reason I felt comfortable."

Five times, teams have walked Cabrera over the course of his home run streak, intentionally or otherwise. Five times, Fielder has followed with a hit to drive in a run. It happened in back-to-back innings on Thursday.

The seventh-inning chance was technically unintentional. With four pitches up and out of the strike zone, it was still clear the Twins wanted no part of Cabrera, even though it meant bringing the tying run to the plate in a 6-3 game the Twins had commanded for much of the cold, damp Detroit evening.

Cabrera's two-run homer in the opening inning put the Tigers ahead before the Twins put up five runs on Rick Porcello. Fielder hasn't homered in nearly two weeks, and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire had left-hander Brian Duensing to pitch against him. Fielder was 3-for-10 against him, but with no home runs and three strikeouts.

Cabrera's walk moved Omar Infante into scoring position with one out. A 2-1 count and a Duensing sinker over the plate allowed Fielder to move Infante home, sending a ground ball through the middle.

After a Victor Martinez blooper just out of Aaron Hicks' reach in right-center field, then a Jhonny Peralta double into the left-field corner off Jared Burton, the Tigers had the game tied. Burton left the bases loaded with back-to-back foul popouts to keep it that way, but another Infante single leading off the eighth sent the same process in motion.

This time, Leyland set it up himself, using Torii Hunter to bunt Infante over to second base.

"You have a tough call," Leyland said, "because you know you're taking the bat out of Miguel's hands. To be honest with you, in that situation, if there was a tough left-hander sitting behind him, you probably wouldn't bunt. But you have a guy behind Miguel with 40 RBIs.

"You have to get him in scoring position with Prince hitting there, and if you have a real nasty lefty, you don't do it. But who knows? If they have a nasty lefty, they might walk him anyway."

The one left-hander remaining for Leyland to worry about was Glen Perkins. With the game tied and the Twins on the road, he wouldn't be pitching in the eighth. The other lefty, rookie Caleb Thielbar, had pitched a pair of two-inning appearances over the previous three days.

Down went the bunt toward first base, over went Infante to second and on went Cabrera to first with his fifth intentional walk of the year, like a mechanism.

Burton stayed on to face Fielder, 3-for-9 against him in his career. Fielder drew another 2-1 count and centered another ball back toward the mound.

The liner looked like it was headed through the middle until Burton made a stab at it. Had he snared it, he would've ended the inning.

"It looked like it was probably a double-play ball," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Stuff happens. When you're good, it goes right to him, and when you're scuffling and trying to find ways to win, it bounces the other way. And tonight, it bounced the other way for us."

The deflection sent the ball to the right side, right where second baseman Brian Dozier had been before he scrambled toward the middle to try to snare the liner initially. All he could do was reverse course to try to stop it.

"I knew he wasn't going to be able to throw me out, because he had to dive," Fielder said. "I just wanted it to get by so Omar could score. That guy's tough. You always want to make sure you can score off him if you can."

Dozier was left on the ground clutching for the ball as Infante rounded third.

"I took my shot," Leyland summarized, "and it worked out."

No matter how the division race unfolds heading into the summer, the debate over how to pitch the middle of the Tigers' lineup -- and how Leyland sets up run-scoring opportunities late in close games -- is going to continue.

For now, Detroit's big two hitters are driving in runs in bunches. Cabrera's three RBIs, including a bases-loaded infield single in the fifth, pushed him to 55 through 45 games, something no Major League hitter had done since Manny Ramirez in 2001. Thirteen of those RBIs have come in the last four games.

Fielder is closing in on an RBI-a-game pace, now with 41 on the year. The way pitchers are having to deal with Cabrera, he'll have plenty of opportunities for more.

"I think it's a tough decision," Cabrera said. "I always try to be ready, take nothing for granted. I'll always be ready to hit over there."

Jason Beck is a reporter for 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.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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