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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sat May 25, 2013 12:12 am

Anibal's bid for no-hitter denied by Mauer
Righty was trying to become 28th pitcher to have multiple no-hitters

By Jason Beck / | 5/25/2013 12:30 AM ET


DETROIT -- Justin Verlander almost had to make room for another Tigers pitcher with two no-hitters on his resume. As it was, Anibal Sanchez provided yet another reminder why he has a place alongside him in that category of elite starters.

Seven years and a league change after Sanchez tossed a no-hitter for the Marlins on Sept. 6, 2006, here he was again, just the top of the ninth inning away from another on a chilly Friday night at Comerica Park, where he struck out 17 hitters four weeks earlier.

He claims he didn't know he had the no-hitter going back in 2006, but he certainly knew it as he began the ninth inning, having seen the scoreboard and heard the reactions. All that stood between him and history was the top of the Twins lineup and Joe Mauer, who makes a living breaking up no-hitters.

Mauer ended two other bids in the ninth inning in his career, and when Sanchez left a breaking ball over the plate with one out in the final frame, he ended this one, too. But his one-out liner through the middle could do nothing about the result, as Sanchez finished the one-hit shutout for a 6-0 win.

He would've been the 28th pitcher in Major League history with multiple no-hitters. Instead, he's the 18th big league pitcher since 1916 to throw five complete games with one hit or less. He's also the pitcher who put the Tigers back atop the American League Central following Cleveland's loss in Boston.

That's good enough for him.

"In the end, he got the hit," Sanchez said of Mauer. "But I feel good. I'll take my nine innings."

There were no regrets from Sanchez, whose mix of fastballs and off-speed pitches in different counts left Twins hitters guessing for most of the night. Nor were there superstitions. As someone who has done this before, he was talking with teammates in the dugout between innings when he wasn't down in the tunnel.

"I talked to him a little bit throughout the game," Prince Fielder said. "He was just locked in."

It was a no-hit bid that was so laid-back, even the crowd of 39,789 didn't really get charged up until he needed just nine pitches to send down the middle of Minnesota's order in the seventh.

After an eighth-inning walk to Eduardo Escobar ended Sanchez's roll of 18 consecutive batters retired, Sanchez regrouped to retire pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit. Four outs from history, with the crowd roaring and another pinch-hitter awaiting, he called catcher Alex Avila to the mound.

He couldn't remember the signs.

"I mean, he called me out to the mound in the middle of a no-hitter," Avila said. "I've been in the middle of a no-hitter a few times in the sixth, seventh inning, and I don't think any pitcher has called me to the mound."

That's Sanchez's style. After back-to-back summers of Verlander no-hit watches, it was an oddly different vibe.

A walk to Jamey Carroll leading off the game gave the Twins a baserunner, but Minnesota didn't come close to a hit until the seventh. Sanchez allowed a second-inning walk to Chris Parmelee, then got rolling, striking out four in a row.

The formula worked over and over -- put the Twins hitters in a two-strike count, start mixing pitches, then let them guess.

"I think you saw a perfect example of a guy that in a fastball count was throwing something else, and in a something-else count was throwing fastballs," manager Jim Leyland said. "I thought you saw a masterpiece between him and Alex."

Sanchez struck out everybody in the Twins starting lineup at least once except for Parmelee, who didn't hit the ball out of the infield. Mauer, 4-for-8 lifetime against Sanchez entering the evening, struck out twice in a game against the Tigers for just the sixth time in the last five years.

It had to look familiar to Josh Willingham. He was playing left field behind Sanchez in Florida when he threw his no-hitter in 2006.

"He was throwing the ball great. It was moving all over the place like a Wiffle ball," said Willingham, who went down swinging at a 93-mph fastball.

The usual history-preserving defensive gem wasn't to be found. The closest came when Justin Morneau smacked a seventh-inning line drive up the middle that Jhonny Peralta ranged a few steps to his left to snare as a fan behind the home plate yelled out, "Oh no!"

Sanchez's toughest obstacle at that point looked like his pitch count, 90 pitches through six innings. Once he finished the seventh on nine pitches, it was on.

"His stuff was really good in the seventh," Fielder said. "You figured he had a great chance, assuming nothing crazy would happen. He was outstanding."

Mauer, Morneau and Carroll all entered the night batting over .300, but nobody else in Minnesota's lineup was hitting better than .263. Doumit and Chris Colabello, whose various stops included three weeks in the Tigers organization in 2006, came off the bench in the eighth to try to wreck it, but Sanchez followed Doumit's groundout by striking out Colabello.

Sanchez was keenly aware by then.

"It's not like the first time when I threw my no-hitter, I didn't know," Sanchez said. "I knew I had a no-hitter and I knew I had a tough ninth inning with Carroll and Mauer, one of the best hitters in the league, and also Willingham."

Sanchez froze Carroll with a 92-mph fastball on the inside corner for his 10th strikeout. He had a 1-1 count on Mauer when he tried mixing him up with a curveball and missed.

"He wanted to get a second strike on him," Avila said. "It was over the plate. I've seen Mauer do that a bunch of times."

Mauer thought it was a different pitch.

"He threw me a good cutter," Mauer said, "but I think it caught a little too much of the plate so I was able to square it up. But that was about the only thing I could tonight."

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 25, 2013 9:16 pm

Tigers fall behind early against familiar foe
Mauer's homer off Fister helps Minnesota end Detroit's win streak

By Jason Beck / | 5/25/2013 9:41 PM ET


DETROIT -- On the day the Tigers honored the 45th anniversary of their 1968 World Series championship team, the Twins turned back the clock several years to the days when Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau were baseball's most dangerous duo and relatively unknown Minnesota pitchers kept flummoxing Detroit hitters. If Brad Radke were still pitching, they could have turned the clock back to 2006.

"That was Radke's last year," former Twin and current Tiger Torii Hunter said.

The way he pitches against the Tigers, P.J. Walters sufficed.

By the midway point of the Tigers' 3-2 loss Saturday, Mauer and Morneau had accounted for three runs, and much of the sellout crowd at Comerica Park was booing Mauer like he was the perennial All-Star of old. For one swing, at least, he was pulling a home run to right field.

It's not that long ago, actually. The Twins' struggles just make it feel that way.

The end of Detroit's four-game win streak also closed a 10-game losing streak for Minnesota, which has been sputtering offensively. One day after Mauer's ninth-inning single ended Anibal Sanchez's no-hit bid, however, his first-inning homer sparked the early outburst that would keep Minnesota ahead the rest of the afternoon.

"He's not a three-time batting champion for nothing," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He was hitting them all over the place. He's a great hitter."

The crowd was already on Mauer before he took a swing, having remembered his hit off Sanchez from Friday night. Once Tigers starter Doug Fister put him in an 0-2 count and started trying to bust him inside, he ignited Minnesota's offense early.

It's the approach the Tigers wanted to take against a guy who hits opposite-field line drives well more often than he pulls one. With a steady diet of fastballs, though, Mauer timed Fister and jumped it.

"That's what my thinking was," Fister said. "I pounded him away a lot. I'm going to try to get [a pitch] in there, see if I could get a ball in. I felt like I put it where I wanted it, but obviously he hit it well."

Mauer did not get it out by much, but it hit the top of the fence and bounced off the railing behind it rather than back onto the field. It counted all the same after it was reviewed and upheld.

Mauer has 10 career homers at Comerica Park, four more than he has hit in three-plus seasons and three times the games at Target Field. However, Saturday was the first home run Mauer has sent out to right in Detroit, where the shorter right-field fence usually proves friendly for left-handed hitters to pull the ball.

"Bottom line, he's a great hitter," Fister continued. "I felt like I made a good pitch on him, but he got in, stayed inside the ball and hit it well. Unfortunately, he hit it out of the park."

It was one of a handful of plays that punished Fister when he was ahead in the count. He had a 2-2 count on Josh Willingham and tried to use the change of speeds to get a swing and miss, but Willingham fouled off two changeups while taking two fastballs off the plate for a walk.

Fister threw three consecutive changeups to former American League MVP Morneau, the last of them probably the best. It was down around the outside corner at the knees, and Morneau dived out and centered it. The resulting line drive and RBI double to right-center fooled Don Kelly, who got a late break back on it, but it was hit hard enough that Kelly might not have had a play even with a clean route.

A two-out single back through the middle by Chris Parmelee plated Morneau for a 3-0 lead.

Fister (5-2) gave up five more singles over the next six innings, but he allowed only one runner in scoring position, keeping the game close enough for the Tigers' offense to rally. Walters was not nearly so forgiving.

"I felt like I threw the ball well, but tip your cap," Fister said. "The first inning, they hit the ball right where it needed to be. They put good swings on the ball. We just had to make an adjustment. I just didn't make it in time."

It did not matter much against Mauer, whose boos grew louder his next time up before he delivered a leadoff single in the third. Once he added a fifth-inning single, the crowd's reaction was approaching levels reserved for former White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski.

Then again, the three-hit game pushed Mauer to 170 career hits off Tigers pitching, more than he has off any other opponent.

"In my second at-bat, [catcher Brayan] Pena said, 'They shouldn't boo you. You got a homer after they booed you,'" Mauer said. "And then I got a hit there, and the next time I came up they're booing, and he says, 'No. Stop, stop, stop.' So it was pretty funny."

Walters posted three quality starts in four tries against the Tigers last year, and would've had the fourth with one more inning. So maybe it shouldn't have been a surprise when Minnesota brought up Walters for his first Major League start of the season.

He came back firing strikes.

"We've seen him before," Leyland said, "and we pretty much knew what he was going to do. Give him credit. He pitched aggressively."

Detroit loaded the bases with two outs in the second inning, but Walters needed just three pitches to strike out Andy Dirks. That started Walters on a run of nine straight outs before Dirks singled with one out in the fifth and scored on Hunter's double over center fielder Wilkin Ramirez's head.

Ramirez redeemed himself an inning later after Jhonny Peralta's opposite-field homer. With Pena on first base, Omar Infante hit a drive into left-center that Ramirez ran down before colliding with Willingham. Ramirez was shaken but kept hold of the ball.

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 26, 2013 7:22 pm

Scherzer continues dominance vs. Twins
Detroit starter backed by Hunter's HR, Garcia's bases-clearing triple

By Jason Beck / | 5/26/2013 6:57 PM ET


DETROIT -- Max Scherzer does not get a no-hitter for his 10 hitless innings over two starts. Thirty-eight batters between hits and 25 batters between baserunners does not put anybody into history unless it is timed right.

Seven wins and no losses by Memorial Day, however, could put Scherzer into All-Star consideration. It puts him on a pace where a 20-win season looks feasible; his next win would put him halfway toward his career high of 16 wins last year.

At the very least, it puts him into consideration as the Tigers pitcher opponents least want to face right now.

It is more than a month away from player balloting, which determines the bulk of the All-Star pitching staffs, but Sunday's 6-1 Tigers win over the Twins was the latest example of what Scherzer has going for him.

"This guy's a really good pitcher," manager Jim Leyland said. "I mean, when he gets that arm slot going, he's got a pretty good repertoire."

While the Tigers ensured a series victory, taking three out of four, Scherzer became the first Tigers starter to go 7-0 to begin a season since Jeremy Bonderman in 2007.

He has had fast starts in the past, such as the 6-0 record he sported by mid-May in 2011. This year feels different, for good reason.

He has given up fewer hits and walks with more strikeouts through 10 starts this season than he did over the same stretch two years ago. His pitching, while always nasty, has polish to it now. It is a more well-rounded game.

It is more than repertoire, though. He has had nasty pitches ever since he arrived in Detroit but has had to build the consistency. He would lose command and spend the rest of his game struggling to find it.

"He still loses it here and there," catcher Alex Avila said. "The thing is, he's able to make the adjustment quicker rather than making it after the start or from start to start. It's more of an in-game adjustment."

His latest stretch of dominance lasted so long that it is difficult to remember the last time he had to get out of a jam. It was the first inning Tuesday in Cleveland, when two singles and a sacrifice fly put a run across. He retired his next 22 hitters from there.

Once Scherzer retired the top of the Twins' lineup in order in the opening frame, he had a chance to put together nine perfect innings, maybe even threaten Shelby Miller's MLB season high of 29 consecutive outs. Back-to-back walks later, he was trying to escape a second-inning jam.

"I was in a groove," Scherzer said. "I hate that I walked [Justin] Morneau to lead off, and I hate even more that I walked [Ryan] Doumit. I'm always a guy that wants to put the hitters in a defensive mode and always be on the attack. And I hate giving free passes in those types of situations."

Ramon Santiago's drop on a potential double-play grounder took Scherzer from the end of the inning to a bases-loaded, one-out jam instead. The bottom of Minnesota's lineup was no match for him.

"It was unfortunate that it happened," Scherzer said, "but I also thought I made some big pitches to be able get out of that second inning."

With mid-90s fastballs, Scherzer overpowered Aaron Hicks into a flyout to shallow center and moved ahead on Florimon. With a change of speeds, he finished Florimon for a called third strike.

"He hangs in there," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Scherzer. "His ball moves a lot, and he has a great changeup and breaking ball and can pump his fastball up there at 94 mph. And he stays around the knees and doesn't elevate."

By the time Scherzer allowed a hit, a line-drive single from Chris Parmelee, he was two outs into the fourth.

"The way he's pitched, that's really impressive," Avila said. "Especially against Cleveland's lineup with the guys that they have here in the middle of the [Twins] lineup, that's not an easy feat. That just shows what kind of stuff he has.

"When he's able to locate, he's going to be almost untouchable. He can get away with mistakes because his stuff's so good."

At that point, Scherzer was protecting a 1-0 lead built on Torii Hunter's first home run since April 13, ending the third-longest homerless stretch of Hunter's career. Once Miguel Cabrera walked and scored on Prince Fielder's double in the bottom of the fourth, Scherzer had a bigger cushion on Twins starter Mike Pelfrey (3-5).

The RBI continued Fielder's penchant for punishing pitchers who give Cabrera a pass. He is 6-for-6 with eight RBIs over the last six games in at-bats following a Cabrera walk.

Cabrera's one-out single in the sixth stretched his hitting streak to 12 and sparked the rally that would put the game away. Avila's first run-scoring hit since May 10 -- and just his second hit overall in that stretch -- was a two-out blooper that fell in short left field, just out of the reach of Florimon at shortstop.

"Joe West was joking with me, asking me if I wanted to get the ball, keep it as a souvenir," Avila said of the second-base umpire.

After Casey Fien's walk to Omar Infante loaded the bases, Gardenhire brought in left-hander Caleb Thielbar to face Don Kelly. On came pinch-hitter Avisail Garcia, who worked out of an 0-2 count and drove a 2-2 fastball to the fence in left-center to clear the bases.

As great as his pinch-hit RBI was in last year's American League Championship Series, this was about as special. It was the first pinch-hit, three-run triple by a Tiger in 32 years -- Rick Leach did it against the Orioles on Sept. 29, 1981.

"It's pretty amazing," Garcia said. "That's the first time I got that feeling. Bases loaded, and then I hit the triple."

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 May 27, 2013 11:52 pm

Verlander fans 13 to continue NL dominance vs. Bucs
Ace sets aside recent struggles with quality start and sixth win

By Jason Beck / | 5/27/2013 7:00 PM ET


DETROIT -- Somewhere in the middle of Justin Verlander's recent struggles these past few weeks, he made the observation that he was throwing some of the best curveballs he has in a long time.

At the time, it came off as irony. On Memorial Day, it came off as filthy. For that matter, so did some of his sliders.

As the Tigers' 6-5 win over the Pirates showed, he can win with that. It might not be pretty, even with seven quality innings, but he can make it work.

"I expect the bar to be high. That's where I set it for myself," Verlander said. "I'm not going to say this was a great game because I struck out 13 guys. That's showing me that my offspeed stuff was a lot better. I just know from me being out there that the fastball control wasn't where I wanted it.

"Better? Yes. Where I want it? No. I don't mind the bar being set high."

The struggles of the Verlander's fastball command might have shaken some belief systems, but it has not toppled Verlander's game. He's working on getting his fastball back, and he called Monday a step in the right direction, but he also characterized it as a process.

In the meantime, he still has to find outs. And for now, his curveball and slider are leading the way. Against the Pirates, it was a mix that fit well enough to get him another win against the National League.

Nobody in baseball can compare to Verlander's 20-2 record in Interleague Play. Some of that comes from NL hitters seeing him so rarely, but that didn't seem to hurt them in last year's All-Star Game. Another part has been the fact that most of Interleague Play fell around the time of year Verlander gets his game together, though year-round Interleague eliminates that timing now.

He's 8-0 against the National League since the start of the 2011 season, half of those wins over Pittsburgh. Around this time last year, he carried a no-hit bid into the ninth inning against the Pirates at Comerica Park, thwarted only by a pesky at-bat from Josh Harrison.

He gave up his fair share of damage on Monday, starting with a Neil Walker triple two batters in. He didn't give up any home runs, but surrendered five extra base hits for the first time since last September and just the fifth time since 2010.

When they put the ball in play, they tended to hit it well, with half of their hits going for extra bases. From the second inning through the sixth, however, Verlander had more strikeout pitches than he had balls put in play.

"I realized these guys are pretty aggressive," Verlander said. "So pitches that look like fastballs out of my hand that aren't, when teams are real aggressive, it's a good pitch. So slider, changeup, those were key pitches for me today."

So, too, was the curveball. It wasn't simply a pitch he could move. He could command it in the strike zone Monday, dropping it at the knees or hitting the outside corner.

Verlander's previous start in Cleveland, pitching coach Jeff Jones said, "was probably the best curveball I've seen him throw all year. And today was about the same. It was really good."

Three strikeouts in a four-batter stretch of the fifth and sixth innings -- he actually pitched into the sixth inning for the first time in three weeks -- came on the curve, two of them for called third strikes. Others came on the slider.

Out of Verlander's 13 strikeouts, only one came on a fastball, and it wasn't a swing. It was a 95-mph heater that caught Pedro Alvarez looking with two on and one out in the fourth inning. Verlander used changeups and curveballs to set it up.

He has done more of that the last two starts, using other pitches early to set up the heater late. The first-pitch fastball became less frequent as Monday's game went along. The velocity picked up, hitting the mid 90s, but he didn't have to pound it.

"He's as advertised, got that other gear that started to go to," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "In the sixth -- saw 94, seventh saw 95. We kept after it. I love the way we battled today, getting down early to one of the elite pitchers and battling back."

For a while, the mix kept Verlander in a pitching duel with longtime Tigers nemesis Francisco Liriano. Detroit hit its way ahead with three straight hits in the both fourth and fifth innings. Both times, Jhonny Peralta capped them with RBIs, the latter following a Victor Martinez two-run double to moved the Tigers in front for good.

Peralta began the day with a .326 average, good for 10th in the American League. Once his seventh-inning single up the middle plated an insurance run for a 4-1 Tigers lead and Peralta's first four-hit day as a Tiger, his .341 average was good enough for third, pending the evening games. Peralta enjoyed his first four-hit game since June 4, 2010.

Verlander took the seventh with a three-run advantage, then watched Travis Snider's RBI triple and Walker's RBI double put the potential tying run in scoring position, giving Verlander his best test against All-Star Andrew McCutchen.

After three at-bats, McCutchen was on him, taking 90-mph sliders and fouling off 97-mph fastballs. With a 3-2 count, Verlander finally went to the curveball to end the threat.

"I'd thrown him one all day, and I knew my curveball had been really good," Verlander said, "so I thought it was a great time to throw it. And what a tough out he is."

Even without his best fastball, Verlander is pretty tough himself.

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 29, 2013 1:19 am

Tigers' bats can't back Porcello's 11-K gem
Detroit held to five hits, blanked by Gomez and Pittsburgh 'pen

By Jason Beck / | 5/29/2013 1:57 AM ET


DETROIT -- It should have been one of the best nights of Rick Porcello's career. It still might be, depending on how he builds off of it.

But it will have to be a moral victory, because even after throwing eight scoreless innings on Tuesday night at Comerica Park, he didn't get an actual one.

"I'm trying to throw up zeros every time, no matter what the score is," Porcello said after Neil Walker's homer in the 11th inning sent the Tigers to a 1-0 loss to the Pirates. "Tonight was a good ballgame. It was really a tough game on both sides. We just ended up coming up a little bit short, but it was a good baseball game."

Porcello had everything working, especially the curveball, later the changeup, even a slider or two. He threw any pitch in any count for most of a rainy evening. He obliterated his career high, with 11 strikeouts, while still getting nine groundouts.

All he was missing was run support. On this team, that's the irony of it all. On a night when his defense made plays behind him, the best offense in the big leagues deserted him.

Remember, this is the same pitcher who as a rookie drove in two runs himself to beat the Pirates. Had he been facing the Pirates a day or two later at PNC Park, he might have been able to help his own cause.

Instead he was stuck in a pitching duel with Jeanmar Gomez that didn't end.

Not since Earl Wilson in 1966 had a Tigers pitcher tossed eight or more scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts and not earned a win.

"It was a terrific game, really," manager Jim Leyland said. "They finally got the one [run], and we couldn't get one. We had a chance to maybe win it, but we couldn't get it. We didn't do much all night. Both starting pitchers were terrific.

"The story tonight was, we just didn't do anything offensively."

It was the Tigers' first 1-0 loss of the year, and just the second since the start of last season. They hadn't lost a 1-0 game in extra innings since May 26, 2008, when Bobby Seay entered with the bases loaded in the 12th and issued a walk-off base on balls.

By contrast, it was the Pirates' third 1-0 win in their last nine games.

This actually became the pitching duel many fans expected when Justin Verlander and Yu Darvish matched up in Texas earlier this month. Porcello, whose only previous eight-inning shutout performance came in Pittsburgh two years ago, topped that gem.

He had his usual sinker going, plus the changeup that got him through his previous start. The difference was the curveball, the breaking ball he spent Spring Training honing before struggling to throw it early in the season.

This was the spring curveball, one that Pirates hitters never quite adjusted to seeing.

"I was rolling," Porcello said. "I felt really good, throwing everything for strikes, making good two-strike pitches. It was definitely one of the better games I've had, for sure."

The combination was efficiently stingy. Porcello struck out four of the first seven batters he faced, then sent down the Pirates in order on groundouts in the third. Walker's first-inning single to center was the only ball Porcello allowed to escape the infield until the fourth inning.

Once Andrew McCutchen's bouncer took a high hop over Omar Infante and into center field in the fourth, Porcello sent down 11 Pirates in a row, six of them on strikeouts.

"He's got swing-and-miss stuff. He always has," catcher Alex Avila said. "It's always just been a matter of him getting ahead of guys and being able to use his put-away pitches and locating them, rather than leave them in the middle of the plate. He's worked really hard at it."

Not until the eighth inning did Porcello have to worry about a runner in scoring position. The problem was that Gomez didn't allow a runner past first base over his seven innings, allowing just three singles and a walk to Avila.

"My sinker was really good," Gomez said. "That was a key. I was able to make pitches to both sides of the plate. The way Porcello was pitching, it made me focus more. He was getting a lot of ground balls, just like me."

Though the Tigers hit .362 against Gomez during his time with the Indians, they had no answers for him on Tuesday. It was the same stuff the Tigers remember seeing from him in the past. The difference was in the details.

"He had more velocity, I thought," Don Kelly said. "And he was mixing it up, in and out, up and down, throwing his changeup and slider for strikes, too. He pitched well."

Not until Clint Barmes' errant throw on an Infante grounder with one out in the eighth did the Tigers put a runner in scoring position. Gomez was gone by then, replaced by the hard-throwing lefty Justin Wilson, who stranded Infante.

Once Victor Martinez's line drive to deep left died at the fence, the game headed to extra innings, and Jose Ortega and Mark Melancon kept it scoreless until the 11th. As aggressively as the Pirates were swinging against Porcello early, they were hacking against Ortega late.

Ortega's first-pitch slider hung up just enough for Walker to send it down the right-field line for his third home run of the year and his third in 13 games against Detroit.

Walker had half of Pittsburgh's six hits. Even Kelly, who's married to Walker's sister, is wondering what they have to do to get him out.

"He won't say anything at least until the offseason," Kelly said. "He doesn't talk too much [trash]. He always hits us well. I don't know what the deal is."

Once former Tiger Jason Grilli struck out the middle of the lineup in order for his 21st save, the odd night had its climax.

"It was a great game," Leyland said. "Certainly, they didn't win it cheap."

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

Last edited by TigersForever on Wed May 29, 2013 11:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Wed May 29, 2013 11:20 pm

Anibal cruises, then stalls as Tigers fall in Pittsburgh
Righty 'started to overthrow' in four-run seventh; Miggy hits 15th HR

By Jason Beck / | 5/30/2013 12:10 AM ET


PITTSBURGH -- Unless Anibal Sanchez threw a no-hitter Wednesday night, he was going to have a hard time topping his last outing. For 6 1/3 innings, he wasn't far off, holding the Pirates to a run on two hits.

A dozen pitches later, he had given up a four-run seventh inning. Not only was the lead gone, but the Pirates had tacked on an insurance run.

That's how quickly the Pirates' rally escalated, and how suddenly the Tigers lost their grasp on a game they seemingly controlled.

"In the big leagues, stuff can happen fast," manager Jim Leyland said after the Tigers' 5-3 loss at PNC Park. "Obviously we didn't expect it to happen that fast."

The question that remained puzzling was: What happened?

"I think I started to overthrow," Sanchez said. "That's why I started missing the location. For these guys, you have to put the ball in the location. That's what helped me in the beginning of the game."

Leyland planned on talking with pitching coach Jeff Jones to try to figure out why that happened.

"He just walked a guy and kind of lost it," Leyland said.

It couldn't have been fatigue, Leyland said. Though Leyland said coming into the game he would keep an eye on Sanchez after he threw 130 pitches five days ago, he entered the seventh inning with just 66 pitches. He hadn't pitched with a runner on base since the opening inning.

Even after the seventh inning had gone awry, Sanchez's last out was a 95-mph fastball he fired past Gaby Sanchez for a strikeout.

"He was absolutely terrific for six innings," Leyland said. "To this moment, I don't think he was really tired. I don't think you throw the ball 95 mph to Gaby Sanchez if you're out of gas."

He hadn't shown any trouble pitching out of the stretch this season. Even going that long without a runner on base, without needing to make a pitch out of the stretch, shouldn't have had an impact.

"I don't know," Sanchez said. "It's really hard to tell you. We prepare for throwing everything in that situation."

They'll pinpoint something and work with Sanchez to shore it up before his next start. His form should return. They can't get this game back.

Five days after Sanchez took a no-hit bid into the ninth inning against the Twins, he no-hit every Pirate but Neil Walker for 6 1/3 innings, retiring 19 out of 21 batters. Walker's fourth-inning solo homer opened the scoring after his first-inning single assured Sanchez no chance of another no-hit watch.

After watching Walker single-handedly outscore them over 15 innings with two solo homers, the Tigers tied the game in the fifth on an Andy Dirks double before Miguel Cabrera took advantage of a fastball by former Marlins teammate A.J. Burnett for a two-run homer -- his 15th of the year -- and a 3-1 lead.

Sanchez took the lead and retired seven in a row. He ended the sixth with a three-pitch strikeout of Walker, all on sliders, to complete a nine-pitch inning. Not only had he not walked anyone, he hadn't reached a three-ball count.

"Before that [seventh] inning, I think everything was working good," Sanchez said, "especially location."

The bullpen at that point wasn't a consideration.

"It wasn't about getting anybody ready," Leyland said. "I wasn't even having anybody warm up with a guy that's got 66 pitches and pitching the way he is. "

After Andrew McCutchen flied out to lead off the seventh, Sanchez had an 0-2 count on Garrett Jones, who swung and missed at a slider before watching a 95-mph fastball.

Once Jones lined an 0-2 changeup into right-center field for a single, Sanchez was a different pitcher. Neither the slider, nor the fastball, nor the changeup hit the zone on Russell Martin, putting the tying run on base.

"I think that walk, at that point, I saw I was overthrowing my pitches," Sanchez said.

Out came Jeff Jones to give him a minute. He had barely gotten back to the dugout before the Pirates erased Detroit's lead.

"After that, I just got two pitches that made four runs," Sanchez said.

Pedro Alvarez lined the first into the gap to clear the bases. Travis Snider smacked the next off the right-field wall to put Pittsburgh in front.

"There weren't a whole lot of hittable pitches until that," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He was so effective, he mixed his pitches so well, [it was] hard to sit on anything. He wasn't in the middle of the plate. ...

"I mentioned before, if there were a couple mistakes made over the plate, we needed to barrel up, and we were able to do that."

Jordy Mercer's squeeze bunt was the capper in the combination punch before Sanchez could gather himself. By the time he looked away from Snider sliding into home plate, Mercer was easily safe at first.

"It was an add-on run for them," Leyland said. "It was a good call, knowing that was a possibility. If we had known exactly what pitch it was going to be, we'd have pitched out. It was a great call by them, they executed it, and kudos to them for that."

After the Gaby Sanchez strikeout, Starling Marte's infield single to short was finally enough to knock out Anibal Sanchez. As quickly as it all happened, the bullpen never had a chance to rescue it.

Even with that inning, Sanchez (5-5) finished with just 93 pitches, 71 of them for strikes. In the end, Hurdle said much the same as Leyland.

"The game up here can change in a hurry," Hurdle said. "You just have to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves."

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 31, 2013 1:10 am

Fister superb, but bats turned away in 11th-inning loss
Tigers starter fans 12 over seven; offense sets table, can't find home

By Jason Beck / | 5/31/2013 12:29 AM ET


PITTSBURGH -- Four consecutive singles couldn't earn the Tigers a run. Three hits with runners in scoring position couldn't get them a run, either. As a result, seven scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts couldn't get Doug Fister a win, a first for a Tigers pitcher.

It was that kind of Thursday night at PNC Park. It was that kind of series for the Tigers against the Pirates.

"With all due respect, that's not going to happen a lot with this ballclub," catcher Brayan Pena said.

After going five years without a scoreless game in extra innings, the Tigers -- owners of one of baseball's most potent offenses -- had two in three nights, again taking a 1-0 loss in 11 innings. There were different pitchers with gems squandered, different hitters seeking a run, but the same Tigers nemesis trotting home with the game's only run at the end of the night.

It wasn't a home run, but Neil Walker's leadoff single set the rally in motion in the 11th. Once Russell Martin drove Luke Putkonen's 2-2 pitch off the left-field wall, Walker could trot home all the same, bringing Pittsburgh's fourth 1-0 victory in 11 games with him.

With that, Pittsburgh took the final three games of this four-game, two-city Interleague set after the Tigers took the opener Monday at Comerica Park. Over those final three games, Detroit scored in one out of 31 innings.

"We played a heck of a ballgame," manager Jim Leyland said. "Hey, this is all part of it. First of all, you tip your cap to them. They pitched us well for four games. They pitched us very well. We're not clicking on all cylinders offensively right now, and you put that combination together.

"This is hard. Hey, I'm disappointed that we didn't get at least another win out of this, but that's part of the game. It's not easy."

As Pena said, it won't happen often with this lineup. It also isn't the first opponent the Pirates have shut down this season.

"Right now, our guys are focused," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "The game-calling [Martin] has been exceptional. We've just done a very good job of taking care of business on the mound."

The Pirates didn't do much more offensively, scoring in just four innings in that same stretch. Except for one rough seventh inning from Anibal Sanchez on Wednesday night, Tigers pitchers did everything they could to give their team a chance.

In Fister's case, that included hitting a single with runners in scoring position and making a diving stop and throw to deny a leadoff single to Starling Marte in the sixth.

In the end, Fister suffered a more historic fate than Rick Porcello, who on Tuesday became just the second Tigers pitcher since at least 1916 to toss eight scoreless innings with 11 or more strikeouts and not get a win.

No Tigers pitcher in that same span had struck out 12 or more batters over seven scoreless innings without earning a victory. Fister became the first.

If he was supposed to play the hard-luck hurler, though, he wasn't.

"Our guys are out there selling out," Fister said. "They're out there busting their butt every out, every pitch. We've got guys diving in the stands selling out, and that's all we can ask for. Unfortunately, sometimes the ball doesn't go our way, but we're playing well, playing together. That's the biggest thing for us. We're a team."

A hit-by-pitch to Walker -- Fister's league-high 12th hit batter of the season -- was the only baserunner Fister allowed until three consecutive singles leading off the fourth gave the Pirates a scoring chance.

Fister used a nasty breaking ball to strike out Martin on his way to stranding Andrew McCutchen at third base.

"Terrific, gutty performance," Leyland said.

It was Fister's version of the jam Pirates lefty Jeff Locke somehow escaped in the fifth inning, when four consecutive singles yielded no tally. Matt Tuiasosopo, who began the stretch, was thrown out at home by Travis Snider trying to score on Avisail Garcia's single to right, then Omar Infante's bases-loaded grounder to third turned Pena into a force out at the plate.

Third-base coach Tom Brookens sent Tuiasosopo home with Fister on deck. With nobody out, however, Leyland said that didn't play a role.

"Runs have been scarce, and sometimes you get a little antsy," Leyland said. "With nobody out, I always say there's times when the third-base coach would like to have one back. If there's two outs, that's a no-brainer, maybe even with one out. But with no outs, I'm sure Tommy would like to have that one back."

While the Tigers had runners in scoring position in three ensuing innings, including runners at the corners and one out in the seventh before Vin Mazzaro retired Andy Dirks and Miguel Cabrera, no other Pirate reached second base until Josh Harrison in the eighth. Cabrera's diving stop and throw left him there, robbing McCutchen of a potential go-ahead single. Cabrera also had two doubles, including No. 400 of his career.

The pitch Walker hit through the middle for a single, Pena said, was a good offering low and outside from Putkonen (1-1). The arguably key miscue followed with a four-pitch walk to McCutchen, putting the deciding run in scoring position.

Gaby Sanchez's single through the left side wasn't enough to score Walker, but it loaded the bases. Officially, Martin's drive counts as a single, but it was as effective as Walker's go-ahead homer Tuesday night.

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 Jun 01, 2013 2:03 am

Valverde can't close door for Scherzer vs. Orioles

By Jason Beck / | 5/31/2013 10:25 PM ET


BALTIMORE -- Max Scherzer retired the last 16 batters he faced to put the Tigers in line for a series-opening win at Camden Yards. It was the last three outs that proved elusive for closer Jose Valverde.

After Nick Markakis greeted Valverde with a leadoff homer in the ninth, Chris Dickerson ended it with a three-run walk-off drive to right, sending the Tigers to their fourth straight loss with a 7-5 defeat to the Orioles on Friday night at Camden Yards.

Miguel Cabrera's 16th home run of the year and Avisail Garcia's second helped build a Tigers lead that Scherzer carried through the eighth inning with a 10-strikeout performance. Adam Jones' two-run homer in the third inning was the last damage he allowed, putting him in line to become just the second Tigers starter since 1939 to begin a season 8-0.

Once Scherzer retired the O's in order in the eighth inning, Valverde came on in the ninth with a 5-3 lead looking for his seventh save. Markakis immediately halved that by sending his 0-2 pitch to right.

Back-to-back singles from Jones and Chris Davis put the tying run at third base with nobody out. Valverde jammed Matt Wieters into an infield popup and induced J.J. Hardy to fly out behind third base.

Once Valverde fell behind Dickerson, he paid dearly for a 2-1 pitch. Dickerson sent it out and sent a sellout crowd of 46,249 into a frenzy at Camden Yards.

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 Jun 01, 2013 10:27 pm

Five Tigers homers power Verlander past O's
Cabrera's grand slam, back-to-back-to-back shots highlight barrage

By Jason Beck / | 6/1/2013 9:22 PM ET


BALTIMORE -- Amazingly, Miguel Cabrera was not part of the Tigers' first back-to-back-to-back home runs in 12 years. He got involved in Saturday's fourth inning soon enough.

As surprising as consecutive home runs by Victor Martinez, Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila were to lead off the fourth, the end result of a full count to Cabrera with the bases loaded in the same inning was predictable.

"I said from the beginning to [Doug] Fister, 'In this situation, Miguel, he likes to hit,'" Peralta said after Cabrera's grand slam sent Justin Verlander and the Tigers on their way to a 10-3 win over the Orioles. "I've known him for a couple years already. I know what he's doing. And I called it. Grand slam."

The Tigers fans rising to their feet all over Camden Yards, especially behind the visiting dugout, suggested Peralta wasn't alone.

While Cabrera rounded third base on his fourth career grand slam, those fans behind the dugout began their M-V-P chant. Not even the boos of O's fans could drown it out.

"That's great, man," Cabrera said later. "That's great support. I always say the fans from Detroit away, you can tell the difference. That makes you feel excited. Everywhere we play, we have a lot of fans from Detroit. They cheer and they're not scared. They're loud."

At the pace he's on, Cabrera's chasing a lot more than another MVP.

The third through seventh hitters in the Tigers' lineup all homered, seemingly taking out the frustrations of Detroit's four-game losing streak. Cabrera's drive, however, was the exclamation point on a historic inning.

Cabrera was already the first player in Major League history to enter June batting at least .340 with 15 or more home runs and 60 or more RBIs, according to Elias Sports Bureau. He was on the same RBI pace as Hank Greenberg from his franchise-record 183-RBI season of 1937.

One game into June, Cabrera has more RBIs through 54 games than any player in franchise history. Cabrera's slam pushed him to 65 RBIs. Nobody else this year has more than 51.

"I don't know what else to say about him," manager Jim Leyland said. "He's the best. That's all I can say."

The Tigers already had sent seven batters to the plate in the fourth inning by the time Cabrera stepped up. None had been retired. The first three all left the yard, starting with a screaming line drive down the right-field line from Martinez.

Martinez's third home run on the season moved Detroit back in front on O's starter Jason Hammel (7-3). Five pitches later, Peralta sent a fastball out to left for his sixth homer on the season, giving the Tigers their first consecutive home runs this year.

Avila's cut at a similar fastball sent his fifth homer of the year out to left-center, giving the Tigers a 4-1 lead and their first set of three consecutive home runs since Robert Fick, Juan Encarnacion and Shane Halter went deep in a row against the Twins on June 24, 2001.

"We play at a tough ballpark to hit home runs in Detroit," Cabrera said, "so when we play here, we don't worry about swinging hard. We want to put the ball in play and try to make something happen. We know if we connect with the ball, we have a good chance to get it out."

Hammel left one controversial pitch later, a hanger near Matt Tuiasosopo's head. His quick reaction allowed him enough time to put his left shoulder in the way. Plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt's ejection of Hammel was almost as quick.

"It was a breaking ball," Tuiasosopo said, "but the pitch was at my head. I watched it on the film. That pitch really didn't do anything. It just was up at my head, and anytime you're head-hunting, it just doesn't look good, especially after you give up three homers in a row."

Said Leyland: "I do not think he was throwing at him. However, in defense of the umpire, he might not have known it was a curveball at first because of the shadows."

Hammel denied intent. "Obviously I give up three home runs," he said, "but I'm not the guy that answers getting hit around with hitting somebody."

Left-hander T.J. McFarland had enough time to warm up, but no let-up from Detroit's lineup. Avisail Garcia lined McFarland's next pitch for a single, followed two pitches later by an Omar Infante RBI double.

Once McFarland walked Andy Dirks on five pitches, he had nowhere to put Cabrera, who had walked and grounded out in his first two at-bats. Once McFarland missed with back-to-back fastballs following a 1-2 count, he had no room left for caution.

"I looked for something close to hit," Cabrera said. "When you have two strikes, you look for something over the plate and try to hit it hard."

Peralta figured he would get it.

"Once the count was 3-2, I said, 'Never mind. I don't want to hear the swing,'" Peralta said. "I put my head down."

McFarland's fastball over the plate became a no-doubt drive into the left-field seats for Cabrera's third homer in four games and his 200th as a Tiger. Besides his own record pace, Cabrera finished off the Tigers' first four-homer inning since Chet Lemon, Mike Heath, Kirk Gibson and Darnell Coles against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sept. 10, 1986.

Only Prince Fielder's popup prevented the Tigers from batting around in the lineup without an out. Fielder joined the homer barrage his next time up, sending a McFarland pitch out for his 10th homer of the season and first since May 10 to put Detroit into double digits.

"We needed this win," Cabrera said. "We came in after some tough games and a losing streak. We got the offense back on track, try to be ready to win the series tomorrow."

Verlander (7-4) gave up two solo home runs to J.J. Hardy and an RBI single to Chris Davis, but delivered seven quality innings for his third consecutive win and seventh overall.

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 Jun 02, 2013 7:53 pm

Porcello sharp for six, but can't escape seventh
Leyland takes blame for not pulling Tigers righty before O's rally

By Jason Beck / | 6/2/2013 7:03 PM ET


BALTIMORE -- Rick Porcello took the mound for the seventh inning Sunday at Camden Yards with a two-run lead and 16 consecutive scoreless innings, the last six of them against an Orioles lineup among the most dangerous in the league.

If Tigers manager Jim Leyland could do it over, that would've been it for his young sinkerballer. He wouldn't have taken the mound for the seventh.

"I put this one on me, solely on me," Leyland after watching the Orioles rally for the second time in three games to send Detroit to a 4-2 loss.

"He was pitching terrific, I understand that. If it was different, the way the lineup was setting up, it would've been OK. But the way it set up, I botched it. It was my fault, nobody's fault but me."

He doesn't say it often, no matter what critics suggest on a given day. It seems, at most, a once-a-season occurrence for Leyland to suggest he botched a game with a decision. If a move doesn't work out, but was the right move to make, that's different.

Leyland felt he made a mistake, and he said it no fewer than nine times in a postgame media session that lasted just under six minutes. The Tigers lost for the fifth time in six games, ending a 1-4 road trip. But this one, Leyland said repeatedly, was on him.

"I should've made the move," Leyland said. "I don't know if we would've won the game or not, but I should've made the move in the seventh, and I didn't make it.

"He was pitching so well and was keeping the ball on the ground. That's kind of one of those when you're damned if you do, damned if you don't. But the way the lineup was set up, totally on me."

That wasn't really much solace to Porcello. If anything, the way he was pitching, he might have taken it the other way.

"I don't think I would've been very happy if he brought a lefty in," Porcello said. "I felt like I was going pretty strong."

Leyland has usually been conservative with Porcello in the late innings since putting him in the rotation at age 20 in 2009. He has topped 110 pitches just eight times in his career, and has averaged 91-93 pitches per start since 2011.

This season has been Porcello's chance to rise to the level of the Tigers' top four. His last start, in particular, looked like that of a front-line starting pitcher, eight shutout innings with 11 strikeouts against the Pirates in a scoreless duel that lasted into the 11th inning. He didn't get a decision, but received a ton of respect.

For six innings Sunday, Porcello looked just as good, mixing his curveball in all counts to rack up seven strikeouts -- three against All-Star Adam Jones -- and retire nine in a row from the third inning into the sixth. He had the combination of strikeouts and groundouts, eight of the latter, of a shutdown pitcher.

"He was terrific," Leyland said. "He kept the ball on the ground. He mixed his pitches. He got some strikeouts. He did a great job against Adam Jones. He did a good job against everybody, really, all day long."

He entered the seventh with a 2-0 lead, having retired 10 of 11 batters, and had thrown just 87 pitches. It was nothing about Porcello's pitching that gave Leyland pause. It was the O's lineup, starting with back-to-back left-handed hitters in Major League home run leader Chris Davis and Chris Dickerson.

Neither of them had a hit off Porcello their first two times up. Porcello had sent down Davis swinging at a curveball in the dirt in the second. Yet the lefty-righty matchups that had troubled Porcello in past years worried Leyland here, having to retire them for a third time.

"In my gut, I knew," Leyland said. "I just had that feeling when I sent him out there that I should've made the move. And your gut usually tells you the right thing."

One hanging changeup later, Davis had his 20th homer of the season, and Porcello had a 2-1 lead.

"He had pretty much been dominating us the whole game," Davis said. "He threw me some good pitches to hit earlier in the game and I wasn't able to get to them and I just thought I'd be a little more aggressive that at-bat. And he threw a hanging changeup and I hit it out and we started rolling after that."

Porcello got a ground ball from Dickerson, but through the right side for a single. Leyland stuck with Porcello against right-handed hitter J.J. Hardy, hoping Porcello could get a sinker for a double play, but Hardy's liner to center put runners at the corners and nobody out.

It also put Porcello (2-3) in line for a potential loss.

That's where Porcello wanted it, not on Leyland.

"I don't think the loss is on him at all," Porcello said. "We didn't execute in the seventh inning. That's the bottom line. Skip doesn't play the game. We do. It's on us."

Phil Coke put pinch-hitter Danny Valencia in an 0-2 count, then watched him slice a line drive to right field to plate Dickerson with the tying tally. After a fielder's choice from Chris Snyder, Nate McLouth's broken-bat line drive went directly up the middle and bounced around second base as pinch-runner Alexi Casilla came in with the go-ahead run.

"This is one I put on myself," Leyland said again. "The way the lineup set up with Davis and Dickerson, he was really pitching good, so you give the starter the benefit of the doubt. But it was not a good move on my part."

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 Jun 04, 2013 11:46 pm

Tigers go on the offensive, hand Moore first loss
Fielder plates four and Infante three behind an effective Sanchez

By Jason Beck / | 6/5/2013 12:31 AM ET


DETROIT -- Matt Moore came to town unbeaten. He hadn't even left a start trailing since last September.

But by the time the Tigers chased him on Tuesday, he not only had a five-run deficit, he'd made the second-shortest outing of his career. It was still the third inning.

By the time Anibal Sanchez had finished his seven innings of one-run ball, the gap had grown. And with Tuesday's 10-1 win, the Tigers' offensive struggles behind five losses over their previous six games seemed to have abated.

It was exactly what manager Jim Leyland was looking to see.

"We're not scoring runs," Leyland said before the game. "We scored them in that one lopsided game [on Saturday in Baltimore], but we're not scoring runs. I mean, that's one thing that we're supposed to be able to do."

They scored them early, but with at-bats that soon stretched Moore's outing into a long night.

"I do think we have a very good offense," Leyland said afterward. "We had some good at-bats up and down the lineup tonight."

It was part of the game plan they had against Moore, they just might not have anticipated it going this well.

The idea, players said, was to make Moore work and make him throw pitches over the plate. They soon realized he couldn't do it with any consistency.

"The video we watched, he was throwing strikes, he was getting ahead of guys," Torii Hunter said. "And today he just didn't have that touch, that feel. And we could see that, so we had to tell ourselves to be patient and wait for our pitch. We worked him pretty good early on."

Moore realized it as well.

"I wasn't throwing a lot [of pitches] close," Moore said. "So it was more, 'Wait until he throws a strike' and then, if I was doing that, they were geared up to hit."

Moore (8-1) overcame back-to-back two-out singles from Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder to hold Detroit scoreless in the opening inning, but he used 30 pitches to do it. By the time he got out of the second, he had thrown 34 more and had a three-run deficit.

"I don't know the difference for him, but I think that his control on the ball today was not too good, not too consistent today," Jhonny Peralta said. "He threw a lot of balls. After that he needed to come in right to the middle of the plate. So we had a good approach."

Peralta and Matt Tuiasosopo had back-to-back hits on 0-2 pitches, the latter an RBI double into the gap in right-center. Moore briefly recovered for a Brayan Pena groundout but walked three of the next four batters, the exception being an Omar Infante sac fly.

Back-to-back walks to Hunter and Cabrera extended the second inning for Fielder, who delivered a two-run single to center, punishing yet another opponent for giving Cabrera a pass. Fielder has followed Cabrera's last 10 walks by going 8-for-9 with a walk and 10 RBIs.

Moore didn't retire any of the five batters he faced in the third, including Avisail Garcia, who hit an RBI single. Infante escaped an 0-2 count for a bases-loaded walk and Moore's evening was done, having thrown 86 pitches for just six outs and a five-run deficit.

"I thought we did a good job on the man, who has been terrific to this point and will probably be terrific after this point," Leyland said. "It's one of those things sometimes, where the guy is so good he is due to lose at some point, and thankfully, it was against us."

Infante escaped another 0-2 hole to deliver a solo homer off ex-teammate Kyle Farnsworth in the fifth. Fielder padded the margin with a sacrifice fly in the sixth after Cabrera went from first to third on a wild pitch, and extended it further with a solo homer in the eighth.

The Rays' best hope for a comeback was another sudden Sanchez collapse, like the four-run seventh inning the Pirates posted on him last Wednesday in Pittsburgh. Instead, Sanchez pretty well cruised through his evening, allowing a run on four hits with a walk and nine strikeouts. Nobody reached scoring position against him after the third inning.

"They're pretty aggressive, so I tried to keep the ball down, throw the ball for strikes, mix it up," Sanchez said. "We talked about how aggressive they are, especially the righties, so I tried to make some pitches down that looked like a strike."

Or as Rays manager Joe Maddon put it, "We expanded our zone against Sanchez today, which we have not been doing. Whereas they were not expanding against us."

Evan Longoria tripled past a diving Hunter and scored on a Desmond Jennings sacrifice fly to send home Tampa Bay's lone run.

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 Jun 06, 2013 2:00 am

Fister tosses eight scoreless frames in losing effort
Righty quiets Rays most of the way, but Tigers' offense silenced

By Jason Beck / | 6/6/2013 12:08 AM ET


DETROIT -- Doug Fister says that he approaches every inning like it's part of a scoreless game, regardless of the actual score. He's had a lot of innings in actual scoreless games lately.

He had eight of them on Wednesday night until the Rays put up a three-run ninth inning in a 3-0 Tigers loss. He had seven of them in his start before that.

"The starting pitcher's job is to keep you in the game, give you a chance to win it, and sometimes that's the luck of the draw," manager Jim Leyland said. "Last night we scored 10 runs, and tonight we didn't get any."

Six days after Fister tossed seven scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts in a no-decision -- becoming the first Tigers pitcher since at least 1916 to do that -- he topped that in a duel with Tampa Bay's Alex Cobb. Fister disposed of Rays hitters so easily that he had thrown just 91 pitches when he came back out the ninth.

He should have been trying to protect a lead and finish a complete-game win. Once again he was just trying to hold up his end. The Rays, needing just a little offense to win, finally got to him.

Add up the zeros, and Fister threw 21 scoreless innings in between the Twins' three-run opening inning against him on May 25 and the Rays' three-run ninth against him on Wednesday. The Tigers have scored two runs of support for him in that time.

This is the same Tigers offense that leads the Majors in hitting and entered Wednesday trailing only the Red Sox in runs scored. Yet Detroit has now been shut out three times in eight games, and six times on the season. The last three shutouts have been decided in the final inning.

Include the postseason, and last year's Tigers team was still blanked just five times. The 2011 Tigers were shut out five times in the regular season.

Yet this Tigers team with six shutouts this year has scored in double digits eight times, including two of the last four games. They entered Wednesday with four starters ranked among the American League's top 14 in run support. Fister was 14th.

The Tigers have been blanked by some lesser pitchers over this stretch. Cobb, however, was not one of them. And after a pair of 1-0, 11-inning losses to the Pirates last week, this one didn't take quite so long.

"Sometimes you get a little frustrated," Leyland said, "because you're seeing a pitching performance against you and you think he's not that good and you think you should score some runs. But in tonight's case ... I mean, we had a couple of shots, but this guy was terrific."

One night after the Tigers handed the previously unbeaten Matt Moore the worst outing of his career, Cobb posted the kind of outing many expected of Moore. And the same Tigers lineup that had patient, tenacious at-bats to wear down Moore early never got anything going against his teammate.

"It felt like Bugs Bunny was pitching today," Torii Hunter said. "When you swing the ball just drops out of the zone. It's like it didn't want to get hit."

Hunter was 6-for-9 off Cobb entering the game. He went 0-for-4 against him on Wednesday.

Alex Avila, who had a double and a walk off Cobb, said much the same.

"He's got a good split-finger fastball that drops off the table at 87 mph. It's tough to pick up, tough to hit," Avila said. "It got quite a few of us chasing."

Not only did Fister (5-3) hold the Rays scoreless on four hits over his first eight innings, the only time runners reached scoring position over that stretch came in the third. A bizarre double play erased them both.

Jose Lobaton's ground-rule double and Yunel Escobar's single put runners at the corners with one out for leadoff man Sam Fuld, but Prince Fielder's diving stop and throw home forced Lobaton to reverse course and try to scramble back to third. Avila ran him down just in front of the bag, then lunged to tag out Escobar trying to take the base. It was scored as a 3-2 double play, with both putouts going to Avila.

"When I tagged [Lobaton], I just reacted and got lucky," Avila said

The Tigers put a runner on third base with one out in the bottom half of the frame, but Avisail Garcia made a mistake of aggression trying to get into scoring position. In getting caught trying to steal second, he removed the sacrifice fly opportunity for Andy Dirks, who hit an inning-ending comebacker.

Detroit put runners on second base in the sixth, seventh and eighth, but the Rays escaped all three threats with a strikeout, two of them against Fielder after intentionally walking Miguel Cabrera.

Fielder had been 8-for-9 with a walk and 10 RBIs over Cabrera's previous 10 walks, intentional or otherwise, but Rays manager Joe Maddon was willing to take his chances with Dirks on second and first base open in the sixth. Cobb fanned Fielder on three pitches.

After Cobb stranded Avila by fanning Omar Infante in the seventh, his errant throw in the eighth put Dirks on second with one out. Again, Cobb retired Hunter with first base open for Cabrera, and he promptly put him there.

Instead of matching a lefty reliever against the left-handed-hitting Fielder, who had been batting .373 against lefties this year, Maddon went to righty Joel Peralta (1-2), who has retired lefties and righties at virtually the same rate over his career. He struck out Fielder again.

Fuld's bunt single in the ninth and Ben Zobrist's single through the right side set up Fister's demise. Matt Joyce's sac fly broke the deadlock before RBIs from Evan Longoria and Desmond Jennings added insurance runs for Fernando Rodney's 12th 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   Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:59 pm

Scherzer dominates Rays for eighth victory
Right-hander allows one run on four hits; V-Mart hits two-run homer

By Anthony Odoardi / Special to | 6/6/2013 6:35 PM ET


DETROIT -- It was another day, another quality outing by Max Scherzer. This time, however, the offense provided some run support to get Scherzer the eighth win of the season that narrowly evaded him in his last start.

The Tigers' pitcher of the month for May wasted no time in establishing himself as a candidate to win the award in June, throwing seven innings of one-run ball along with nine strikeouts in a 5-2 victory over the Rays in Thursday's three-game series finale.

Scherzer pulled into a tie for the most wins in the American League, has the second-most strikeouts (100) and the 14th-best ERA (3.24). He's allowed just 54 hits in 83 1/3 innings and no more than four in any of his last seven starts.

Since last year's All-Star break, Scherzer is 16-2 with a 2.95 ERA and 210 strikeouts in 173 2/3 innings. Those type of numbers, especially with his hot start this year, has his teammates looking at where Scherzer might be heading for this year's All-Star break -- Citi Field in New York.

"Somebody asked me that the last time we were [home]," catcher Alex Avila said after the game. "I think so. I think he's pitched well enough to get in there. There's still quite a few more games to the break, but 8-0 with a three-something ERA and as many strikeouts as he has, that's pretty good."

On Thursday, Scherzer became only the second Tigers pitcher since Vern Kennedy in 1938 to win his first eight decisions, joining right-hander Jeremy Bonderman, who did it in 2007. Scherzer is one shy of the franchise record, held by Kennedy and George Uhle (1929).

He did it with his typical on-point command and overpowering fastball, mixed in with his dipping changeup, slider and newly-added curveball for lefties -- all of which were working.

Scherzer yielded three hits over his first two innings. He would yield just one more the rest of his outing, and not until he recorded two outs in the sixth inning.

"He's been consistent all year," Avila said. "He's gotten to the point where everybody knows he has great stuff and [he can] command it. When you're able to command it, you can set up hitters and stick to a game plan, rather than just throw like he used to do.

"Now he's a pitcher with really good stuff. It's impressive and I'm glad to be apart of it."

A one-out double by Ben Zobrist in the first was followed by consecutive strikeouts of Matt Joyce and Evan Longoria. A pair of two-out singles in the second were wasted with a Yunel Escobar fly out to center.

After that, Scherzer cruised, retiring nine straight batters and 11 of 13 before James Loney's opposite-field base hit in the sixth drove in the Rays' first run.

"I felt like today I had better fastball location than I've had even in the past," Scherzer said. "I really felt like I was throwing the ball where I wanted it. I felt like that was the reason why I was able to have success today."

By the time Loney plated that run, the Tigers had early established a 3-0 lead against Rays starter Roberto Hernandez, who entered the game 8-6 against Detroit with a 4.03 ERA from his seven years with the Indians.

Hernandez plowed through the first 3 1/3 innings, making the Tigers offense look similar to how it did in Wednesday night's 3-0 shutout loss -- their third time being blanked in eight days -- before a home run derailed him in the fourth.

Prince Fielder ended Hernandez's streak of eight straight batters set down by extending his own hitting streak to 11 games with a single to left. Two pitches later, Victor Martinez gave the Tigers their first runs since the eighth inning of Tuesday's game.

Martinez belted a two-run homer on a 1-0 count into the right-field seats for his fourth home run of the season.

"[Hernandez] is pretty tough, man," Martinez said. "He had a heavy sinker and it's not fun when you've got to face a pitcher like him, a big guy coming right at you. We were just hoping he made a mistakes, and I didn't miss it."

The home run marked the second of four straight hits for the Tigers. Hernandez would record just two more outs in the game.

"After that home run, he just got a little bit quick with everything," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He settled back down OK. He pitched well. He had a nice day for himself. But they pitched really well."

In the fifth, Miguel Cabrera came through with a soft liner to right to score Don Kelly. Martinez added another RBI in the bottom of the seventh, his third of the day, to increase the lead to 5-1.

At that point, Scherzer had put the finishing touches on his latest gem with a 1-2-3 inning, striking out Jose Molina swinging at a changeup and Escobar looking at a 93-mph fastball for his 99th and 100th strikeouts of the year.

He became the first Tigers pitcher to reach the 100-strikeout mark through his team's first 58 games since Mickey Lolich (108) and Joe Coleman (103) in 1972.

He also completed the three-game series in which the three starters -- along with Anibal Sanchez and Doug Fister -- gave up a total of five runs on 15 hits with 22 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings.

"They outpitched us today," Maddon said. "Scherzer was really good. He is very good. They might have the best starting pitching in the American League."

Anthony Odoardi 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 Jun 08, 2013 12:22 am

Verlander goes seven to earn eighth victory
Righty allows three runs; V-Mart homers for second game in row

By Jason Beck / | 6/8/2013 12:29 AM ET


DETROIT -- Justin Verlander waited more than an hour through a rain delay in Cleveland to get started on his current winning streak after the Indians put him into his rough stretch last month. On Friday, the Tigers ace pulled a fifth-inning escape to get his latest win at Comerica Park, then tried another elusive move to get past the seventh.

Not even an end-around on manager Jim Leyland was going to get him into the eighth inning. He still got his fourth consecutive victory, though a ninth-inning rally off Jose Valverde made it much closer than many would have liked.

"I've still got a ways to go," Verlander said after the 7-5 win over Cleveland. "I've still got some work to do. But it's nice to be able to go out there and get wins for our ballclub."

Detroit's third consecutive win over the Tribe left the Tigers standing as the lone team in the American League Central with a winning record. While Detroit's 3 1/2-game lead is its largest of the season, the Indians' fifth consecutive loss dropped them back to .500 for the first time since May 5.

"This team is so special in my mind already that I always believe," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "And I don't think that's going to change. I just think we're going to figure this out."

The Tigers still had plenty on their minds from a big victory, from Leyland's unexpected objection towards Verlander's dugout move to the two home runs off Valverde that turned a four-run lead into a game that was a swing away from extra innings.

Still, they came out with reason to believe they might be finding their better form. Victor Martinez's three-hit game, including his third home run in eight games, was one reason.

"If he gets hitting like we know he can, we're going to have a real good offense," Leyland said.

Verlander was another. He has now won four consecutive starts, the last three each with seven innings of three-hit ball. He had the makings of a gem through four innings on Friday, allowing a hit and a walk, then had to endure a three-run fifth that included two infield hits, two line-drive singles and one hard-hit double by Jason Kipnis that hit off of Torii Hunter's glove as he tried to make a running catch at the fence.

Verlander went from a 5-0 lead to the potential tying run in scoring position for the middle of the Indians order, then got out of it with a first-pitch popout from the normally patient Nick Swisher and a Michael Brantley fly out on a 3-1 pitch, maintaining a 5-3 lead.

"I felt tonight was better than I have been," Verlander said. "That one inning, it's not like I got hit around too bad. They got a couple of infield hits mixed in there, and it is what it is. That's the life of a starting pitcher, you're going to run into an inning every now and again, so I'm definitely pleased."

A one-out single and a walk in the sixth put the potential tying run back on base with one out, but Verlander ended the threat with by fanning Drew Stubbs for his sixth strikeout of the night. A seven-pitch seventh against the top third of the Indians order allowed him to exit with a flourish -- or not.

"Leyland always stands right there at the end of the stairs," Verlander said, "and he put me back out for the seventh. I only threw like four or five pitches, so I tried to circumvent the system, and not get the customary handshake. So I tried to go the other way and sneak around him, but he was too quick for me and caught me at the bottom of those stairs anyway."
It seemed like a funny moment, but Leyland wasn't laughing afterwards.

"You might think that was comical," Leyland said, "But I don't think that was comical at all."

The reaction, when relayed, caught Verlander by surprise.

"If he wants to be mad, he can be mad," Verlander said, "But, I mean, I wanted to stay in the game. I had a quick inning and I wasn't trying to play a joke on him, I just wanted to stay in the game. You know he always stands there and sticks out his hand, so I figured if I snuck around him he'd let me go back out there."

Said catcher Brayan Pena: "He's one of those guys you have to kill him to take the baseball out of his hands."

By the ninth, nobody was laughing.

Valverde went five days without pitching after the Orioles homered twice off him last Friday for a ninth-inning rally and a blown save. The first of those home runs came off a splitter.

A day after Valverde returned with an easy ninth inning for a save against the Rays, the Indians were seemingly looking for his splitter with two strikes. In the cases of Jason Giambi and Drew Stubbs, they hit them out to turn a 7-3 game into a 7-5 nailbiter.

"Those two pitches were good pitches," Valverde said. "Like I said, you have to give credit to the hitters. That's it."

Said Leyland: "They were two split-fingers, and they just golfed them. That happens, but the key to that is the fact that he didn't walk anybody. For me, I'm happy with that."

It wasn't a save situation, but Kipnis' two-out single put the tying run on base and extended the ninth to give Swisher a shot at redemption.

Valverde threw four fastballs to Swisher, who grounded the last to second baseman Ramon Santiago to end it.

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 Jun 08, 2013 10:11 pm

Tigers come through with support for Porcello
Offense connects for 12 hits, including Prince's bases-loaded double

By Jason Beck / | 6/8/2013 10:16 PM ET


DETROIT -- Rick Porcello did not get the seventh inning this time. Instead he got run support.

The way Porcello has been pitching lately, offense has been just about all he's been missing for a win. He finally got it on Saturday with six early runs, but the margin proved more important in helping the bullpen hold on late.

"I think having some run support, there's definitely some comfort to it," Porcello said after the Tigers' 6-4 win over the Indians on Saturday at Comerica Park. "But at the same time, you're going out there trying to put up zeros on the board regardless."

The win pushed Cleveland below .500 and bumped the Tigers' lead in the American League Central to 4 1/2 games. It's not only their largest lead in the division this season, it's a bigger gap than they had at any point last year.

It also brought Porcello (3-3) back to .500. The way he has pitched for the last month and a half, he has deserved better. But what he hasn't been getting in victories, he has been slowly getting back in regard.

"He's coming of age," manager Jim Leyland said. "He's got a ways to go yet. He's still got to learn how to relax a little bit. But overall, I thought he did a terrific job against a real good hitting lineup."

Porcello is averaging 2 1/2 strikeouts per nine innings above his career rate, yet he's getting twice as many groundouts as flyouts for a career-best rate there as well. By getting away from pounding sinkers and mixing in an effective changeup and curveball, he's not just getting more swings and misses, he's getting more ground balls.

"It's a nice feeling to know that when you get behind hitters or in a tight count, I'm not always going to have to go to my fastball," Porcello said.

He has hitters, especially in the division, looking at a different style of hurler than the kid they remember.

Porcello gave up a double to Michael Bourn and Jason Kipnis' RBI single in his first four pitches, then settled in to retire the next 12 hitters.

"I thought starting out, we ... took some good swings. And then, when they got the lead, it looked like [Porcello] really settled down and relaxed and started using all his pitches," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He became a little more confident, because all of a sudden, his stuff was better."

Porcello has thrown quality starts in six of his eight outings, but Saturday marked just his second win out of them. He had a 16-inning scoreless streak going until the seventh inning last Sunday in Baltimore but didn't have a win to show for it. The fact that the Tigers had scored just two runs in his last two starts combined played no small role in that.

When Indians starter Carlos Carrasco stranded the bases loaded in the opening inning, sending Porcello out for the second inning with a one-run deficit, one had to wonder whether Porcello was headed for another tough-luck day. Prince Fielder's bases-clearing double in a four-run second inning erased that thought.

Carrasco (0-2), called up from Triple-A Columbus for a spot start, allowed 11 of the first 17 batters he faced to reach base. Yet he fired fastballs like a power pitcher, with enough nastiness to execute an unhittable pitch at times. It was the kind of combination that sometimes gives Detroit's hitters, even the All-Star ones, fits.

"I mean, he's 94 to 97 [mph], and you don't know where the ball is going," Torii Hunter said. "It's uncomfortable. Effectively wild, but today he got behind in the count, and we were able to capitalize on him getting behind and getting the count in our favor."

Fielder's one-hopper to the right-field fence was the punishing shot. It also pushed him over the 50-RBI mark, putting him in the same group with Miguel Cabrera.

Five of Detroit's six runs scored with two outs, including the one plated by Andy Dirks' third-inning single on a 3-0 pitch to build a five-run lead.

"His stuff is electric," Francona said of Carrasco, "but there's still some learning to do, because he didn't pitch in."

Porcello did his best to make sure it was enough, though Cabrera's throwing error led to an unearned run in the fifth. After a leadoff walk in the sixth, he carved through the middle of the Indians' order for two strikeouts and a comebacker.

Against the slumping Nick Swisher, Porcello employed a different look, with back-to-back changeups from behind in the count to send him down swinging. Two batters later, Porcello used a 2-1 slider to get a foul ball from Mark Reynolds and set him up for a fastball and a called third strike.

This time there were no regrets from Leyland.

"I thought he did a terrific job in the sixth inning," he said. "He was getting around the pitch count, where I watch pretty close, but I thought he made a terrific pitch on Reynolds and struck him close. That's taking another step forward. That's what I'm hoping for."

The Indians rallied off Detroit's bullpen in the seventh with a two-run homer from ex-Tiger Ryan Raburn off Luke Putkonen. Though Leyland said before the game that he wanted to give Jose Valverde a rest after watching him throw 26 pitches in a non-save situation on Friday night, he went to him for the ninth.

Less than 24 hours after the Indians hit two splitters out for solo homers, Valverde left the tying run at the plate with back-to-back strikeouts on splitters -- the first to catch Raburn looking, the second to fan Mike Aviles, who homered off him on Friday night.

"What you saw today," Leyland said, "is [that] he didn't panic, he kept his composure and he got two strikeouts to end the game. That's pretty good. He's a pretty cool customer."

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 Jun 09, 2013 8:50 pm

Alvarez deals gem in debut as Tigers sweep Tribe
Southpaw doesn't allow hit until two outs in fifth, strikes out seven

By Bobby Nightengale / | 6/9/2013 5:58 PM ET


DETROIT -- Jose Alvarez was only supposed to be a spot starter for Anibal Sanchez, who was scratched with tightness in his shoulder. He even knew before the game that he was going to be sent down to Triple-A Toledo immediately after his start.

However, Alvarez did a fine impression of Sanchez on Sunday, stifling the Indians for six innings in the Tigers' 4-1 win in front of a sold-out crowd of 41,262 at Comerica Park.

Detroit, which swept the three-game series, opened a 5 1/2-game lead in the American League Central and ended its six-game homestand with a 5-1 mark.

"The big boys can't do it every day," Alex Avila said. "They'll do it most days, but you got to get contributions from everybody else at certain times of the year. To win a game here, that's always important."

In his Major League debut, Alvarez (1-0) only gave up three hits and one run while striking out seven. He became the first Tigers starting pitcher to earn a win in his debut since 2009, and only the second pitcher since 1916 to go at least six innings, allow three-or-fewer hits, one-or-fewer runs and have at least seven strikeouts.

With Drew Smyly cemented as a key figure in the bullpen, the Tigers can put their minds at ease knowing they have a No. 6 starter waiting in the wings at their disposal.

Alvarez leads the International League in strikeouts (76), WHIP (1.01) and baserunners per nine innings (9.20).

"He certainly had his demeanor and his mound presence was good," manager Jim Leyland said. "He didn't appear to be overwhelmed by anything. We kind of expected that from Spring Training. This kid's pretty calm. When it was his turn to pitch, he pitched. He's a nice piece to the puzzle."

Alvarez didn't allow a base hit through the 4 2/3 innings, although he admitted he was nervous when he first stepped on the mound.

"Yeah, I'd be lying to you if I said no," he said. "I think it's normal. I controlled my emotions, keeping focused in the game with my catcher."

The only damage against Alvarez was a slider that Ryan Raburn hit into the left-field seats with two outs in the fifth. The former Tigers player's seventh home run tied the game at 1-1.

Alvarez fell behind, 3-0, to the next hitter before recovering and getting a grounder back to the mound, which he lightly tossed to first.

"He came right back, and that's what made the most impression on me," Leyland said. "He didn't get frightened once the guy hit the home run. Once he threw three balls in a row, I said, 'Uh oh.' But then he just gathered himself and went right back after them, and that's one of the things that sticks in my mind."

Leyland stacked his lineup with left-handed hitters to combat the Indians' right-handed hurler, Justin Masterson, who has allowed a .687 OPS to lefties, as opposed to .546 vs. righties. That provided left-handed-hitting center fielder Don Kelly a chance to start.

Entering the game, Kelly was hitting .353 (6-for-17) against Masterson. He proved those numbers were no fluke against the Indians ace when he belted a slider down and in for his third home run of the season to right to break the deadlock and give the Tigers a 4-1 lead.

"Usually, it's not one of those, Masterson said. "Usually, he drops it in somewhere else. This time, he dropped it in over the fence."

Despite loading up the bases in the second inning, Masterson kept the Tigers' bats at bay until Kelly's home run.

"That's a tough right-hander he hit it off of today," Leyland said. "That's not just some donkey he gets to hit ... that's a No. 1 guy. That's pretty good."

While Alvarez will get more seasoning down in Toledo, he had a day he'll never forget.

Heading into the dugout after his sixth inning of work, Alvarez earned a handshake and a hug from Leyland before the skipper told him, "Good job, kid." His teammates rewarded him with a beer shower in the clubhouse afterwards.

"I felt good," Alvarez said. "Maybe in the first inning I was a little excited, a little nervous. But like I said, I tried to control that as much as I could, then after that I focused on the game and gained some confidence."

Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for Follow him on Twitter @nightengalejr. 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 Jun 11, 2013 12:46 am

Tigers' loss to KC latest close shave on road
Detroit's win streak ends despite Miggy's blast, Fister's solid start

By Jason Beck / | 6/11/2013 12:40 AM ET


KANSAS CITY -- The Royals credited the barbecue sauce in their dugout, the lucky charm some credit for their six-game winning streak.

The Tigers had to lament a fly ball to right field that burned them and an offense that was largely extinguished.

"It's hard to complain about a game like that," manager Jim Leyland said after Monday night's 3-2 loss. "A kid made a great effort for a ball and it didn't work out."

Whatever the case, the Tigers have to feel like their batch of recent close losses on the road is getting overdone.

No Major League team has more home wins than Detroit this year, and no American League club has a better home record than the Tigers' 22-10 mark. However, no other division-leading team has a losing record on the road.

Monday's loss dropped Detroit to 13-17 away from Comerica Park. Only the reigning World Series champion San Francisco Giants (12-18) have a worse road mark among teams with winning records. Six of the Tigers' 17 road losses have been by one runs, with five more by two.

They're hitting .302 with an .825 OPS at home, and .279 with a .791 OPS on the road.

Before the game, Leyland pointed out the abundance of close games when asked why road success proves so elusive for his team. Monday provided another close loss, maybe closer than the ball that scored two Royals runs and set up the go-ahead tally.

Salvador Perez's liner was close enough that both center fielder Avisail Garcia and right fielder Torii Hunter thought they had a play on it. They were headed towards the same spot until Hunter saw the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Garcia diving directly at him.

The center fielder has priority on balls in the gap. Garcia wasn't calling Hunter off, but his intent was clear.

"As an ex-center fielder, [I know] if you see me coming, get out of the way," said Hunter, a nine-time Gold Glove winner in center field with the Twins and Angels. "So, I saw him running full speed. He didn't say anything, and he took off diving. I said, 'Oh,' and jumped out of the way.

"That's his ball, and he wants that. He has a right to do it, and I have to get out of the way."

Hunter was considered a big center fielder at 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds. Garcia, a potential five-tool prospect, is listed at 6-4, 240. Even if Garcia didn't have priority, he had the size advance.

"Can you imagine? I'm not gonna die," Hunter said. "Let him have it."

Though the Tigers view Garcia's future as a corner outfielder, he has the speed and Minor League experience to handle center.

Garcia certainly has the aggressiveness. On this one, his aggressiveness might have gotten the better of him. He was diving, but so was the ball, skirting under his glove.

"He probably shouldn't have dove," Hunter said. "Usually, when a righty hits the ball to right-center and stays inside the ball, it fades back to the right fielder. But he's 21. He'll figure it out."

It wasn't clear on replay whether Hunter had a chance to back up the play had he peeled off sooner. Though the ball went under Garcia's outstretched glove, it was out of Hunter's reach.

"Both guys broke for it, and it didn't turn out too good," Leyland said. "But you can't fault somebody for an effort like that."

By the time Hunter ran down the ball at the fence, Alcides Escobar had scored from third, and Eric Hosmer was on his way to scoring from first. Escobar likely would have scored anyway. The extra bases meant Hosmer's run, but also set up Perez for the go-ahead run two batters later on Lorenzo Cain's infield single.

It was an aggressive read by Perez as well.

"As soon he slid, I thought I had a chance to make it to third base," Perez said. "I looked around at second and saw Torii Hunter had the ball and I kept going."

That was it for the Royals' scoring. Between 6 1/3 solid innings from starter Jeremy Guthrie, a couple of timely escapes from Kansas City's formidable bullpen and seemingly no shortage of timely catches, Miguel Cabrera's two-run homer comprised all of Detroit's offense.

Cabrera followed Hunter's one-out double in the third inning by sending a 1-0 pitch into the left-field power alley for his 18th home run -- two off of Chris Davis' American League lead -- and league-leading 69th RBI on the season. Only Cleveland's Progressive Field has given up more homers to Cabrera as a visiting player; his 11th at Kauffman Stadium ties it with Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field.

The run support doomed Detroit starter Doug Fister (5-4), who delivered eight innings with no walks and three strikeouts. But if the Tigers' road struggles have become a pattern, so have their woes plating runs for Fister.

While Fister is winless in his last five starts, the Tigers have scored four runs combined in his last four outings. He has allowed nine earned runs on 28 hits over 30 1/3 innings in that stretch, good for a 2.67 ERA, with three walks and 26 strikeouts.

For someone who says repeatedly he pitches every game like it's scoreless, Fister is not far off from his recent reality.

"They put two runs on the board for me, and I couldn't keep it," Fister said. "I need to do a better job of keeping them from scoring."

His teammates weren't buying it.

"Man, I feel so bad for him. He's been pitching his butt off," Hunter said. "We just can't get a win for him right now. He keeps going out there, he keeps chucking the ball. Eventually, we're going to get something going for him."

Or as Hunter later summarized, "Great guy, great effort, offense stinks."

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 Jun 12, 2013 1:05 am

Scherzer stifles Royals to remain unbeaten

By Jason Beck / | 6/11/2013 11:22 PM ET


KANSAS CITY -- Max Scherzer changed jerseys time and again Tuesday night in the Midwestern heat. By game's end, he was wearing a record no Tigers starting pitcher has enjoyed at this point in a season in 75 years.

Scherzer held the Royals to just two runs on three hits over seven innings, but he had to wait until the eighth inning for the run support that carried him to victory. Victor Martinez's go-ahead sacrifice fly off Aaron Crow earned the Tigers a 3-2 win and made Scherzer the first Detroit starter with a 9-0 start since Vern Kennedy in 1938.

Kennedy took a no-decision in his season opener and then won nine in a row. He won just three games after that en route to a 12-9 record. The way Scherzer has been pitching lately gives every reason to believe he has more victories coming.

For four innings Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium, Scherzer was unhittable, recovering from two walks in a 26-pitch opening inning to retire 10 Royals in a row and protect an early lead built on Don Kelly's second-inning RBI single and Andy Dirk's fielder's-choice RBI grounder in the fifth.

David Lough's first Major League home run broke up Scherzer's no-hit bid leading off the bottom of the inning, then two solidly hit line drives to left plated Mike Moustakas with the tying run. From there, however, Scherzer recovered to retire the last seven batters he faced, promptly putting his offense back on the field.

Scherzer did all of it on a hot, humid evening in Kansas City that left him changing jerseys at least twice. He took the mound for the third inning wearing what looked like a 2011 Tigers jersey that featured the right-arm patch remembering Sparky Anderson, who passed away in the previous offseason. By the seventh inning, he was wearing a jersey without the patch.

Detroit missed a bases-loaded opportunity in the seventh when Aaron Crow struck out Torii Hunter, but Miguel Cabrera was hit by a pitch leading off the eighth to set the go-ahead rally in motion. Prince Fielder worked the count full against Crow before his single to right sent Cabrera to third.

Martinez lined the first pitch to saw to left, deep enough for Cabrera to score without a play at the plate. Joaquin Benoit held down the Royals in the eighth to set up Jose Valverde for his ninth 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   Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:34 pm

Tigers waste Verlander's effort in extras loss
Valverde allows tying home run in ninth after Verlander's strong start

By Jason Beck / | 6/12/2013 8:45 PM ET


KANSAS CITY -- Justin Verlander still has his swagger. He still has a power fastball to blow by hitters. And yes, he still has claim to owning the Royals.

All he left town without claiming on Wednesday was a win, thanks to a ninth-inning rally off closer Jose Valverde and a 10th-inning Eric Hosmer RBI single for 3-2 Tigers loss. And that has to worry the Tigers more than anything about Verlander's fastball anymore.

"It's tough," catcher Brayan Pena said. "It's very tough. It's a very tough loss."

The Tigers were one strike away from shutting out the Royals and taking a road series, and Verlander was a strike away from another win in Kansas City. One swing from Lorenzo Cain on Valverde's splitter turned the questions around.

It marked the second time in a week-and-a-half that a ninth-inning comeback has left a pitching gem by a Tigers starter unrewarded. Like Max Scherzer's no-decision on May 31 in Baltimore, this one was an out away from a save when an opponent homered off a split-finger.

This one wasn't a walk-off shot, but with two strikes, it was closer to a Tigers win.

"It hurts," Verlander said. "You've got two outs and two strikes and the ball leaves the yard.

"It's not a good feeling, but it only ties the game, so immediately you have to change your mindset to, 'Well, let's go out and win it.' But to lose it that way, it's a tough pill to swallow."

The mindset eventually has to be a concern. As consistently effective as the Tigers' rotation has been lately, 18 quality starts in Detroit's last 19 games, the Tigers are 10-9 in that stretch. Run support has arguably been a bigger issue, especially with two 1-0 shutouts in extra innings and three losses when allowing three runs.

Valverde, by contrast, has taken just two of those losses. The Tigers held on through a two-homer ninth inning last Friday against Cleveland, because he entered with a four-run lead. Still, there's arguably a different feeling when a lead gets squandered late than when a team never leads a low-scoring game at all.

"Well, losing period stinks," Verlander said, "but when you lose one that's so close to being a win, it makes it that much more difficult."

As good as this Detroit rotation is, it can't pitch this well, this often the rest of the season. The starters will have their rough outings, and the Tigers will have slugfests they'll have to overcome.

Verlander never gave the Royals a feeling that they had a shot over seven scoreless innings. He held the Royals hitless with runners in scoring position by not allowing a runner to reach scoring position. Three singles and two walks comprised the entirety of his damage, and none of those runners advanced, not even the two guys to reach base leading off the second and fifth.

"Verlander being Verlander as usual, dominating," Cain said.

For Verlander against the Royals, it's business as usual. Even with his disastrous visit last August, he's 15-2 with a 2.56 ERA for his career against the Royals, and 9-2 with a 2.32 ERA at Kauffman Stadium. For this season, though, it was a big step for him.

"For me, it was my best start," the ace said, "just because of the way I've been working to get back where I need to be. I feel like I've been getting better every start. I wasn't exactly where I want to be, but pretty doggone close."

Valverde was where he wanted for all but one awful pitch. He replaced Drew Smyly following Hosmer's leadoff single in the ninth, retiring Salvador Perez and sent down Billy Butler swinging before putting Cain in an 0-2 hole. With a chance to finish him off, Valverde went to his splitter, the secondary pitch that has been intended for a change of pace.

"If I throw a good split finger, he swings and misses," Valverde said. "But it was a little up and he read it."

The splitter never split.

"He left it up out over the plate," manager Jim Leyland said. "It was a high split, and it didn't split too good, and the kid hit it."

As Pena put it, "It was one of those that we wish that we could take it back."

Cain pounced on it, sending a drive deep to left-center field. With the hot weather and a breeze blowing out, the ball carried into the second row of seats beyond the fence.

"I put it on the barrel, but after that it was either wind or carry," Cain said. "I was blowing for it to go out for me and it did."

Valverde is 9-for-12 in save situations. It's the pitching numbers that are more of a concern. It was the fifth home run Valverde has allowed in his last six outings, covering 27 batters. Four have been hit off splitters, all in two-strike counts. He has six strikeouts in that stretch, so he's getting some putaways with his mix, but he has paid dearly for some he hasn't located.

The five home runs match his season totals from 2010 and 2011. As much as his fastball-heavy arsenal last season came under scrutiny, he only allowed three homers in the regular season. To put it another way, he has allowed more home runs throwing splitters this year than he allowed throwing fastballs last year.

He isn't walking guys, and he isn't giving up high hit totals. Even his strikeout rate over a small innings total as higher than last year. But the homers nullify all that.

At some point very soon, the Tigers will have to figure out their plans for the stretch run, and decide their needs ahead of next month's Non-waiver Trade Deadline. As such, they'll have to evaluate whether Valverde is their closer from there on out, and whether closer prospect Bruce Rondon is ready for a Major League role, closer or otherwise.

Like the closer's job itself, it's a pass-fail evaluation.

"I think no closer wants to blow a save, but that's a part of the game," Valverde said. "The closer has two things: Save the game or lose the game. That's what happened."

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 Jun 15, 2013 1:46 am

Porcello dominant as Tigers top Twins
Throws seven scoreless innings; Fielder drives in two in four-run sixth

By Kelly Erickson / | 6/15/2013 1:07 AM ET


MINNEAPOLIS -- After five scoreless innings at Target Field, Prince Fielder came through for the Tigers once again.

With two outs in the sixth and runners on first and second, Fielder hit his second double of the game, bringing in Austin Jackson and Miguel Cabrera as the Tigers went on to score four times for a 4-0 victory over the Twins on Friday night.

Rick Porcello threw seven shutout innings, limiting the Twins to three hits, but needed Fielder's clutch hit to earn the victory.

Fielder now has a .280 batting average and 28 RBIs this season when batting with two outs.

"Prince Fielder has done a very good job of coming through in those situations," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

"Historically I've been pretty successful against Fielder," Twins' starter Scott Diamond said. "I thought it was a good pitch, but I think I earlier in the game I had a chance to buzz him and get him off the plate and I didn't take advantage of it and it cost me in that at-bat. It kind of let the floodgates open in the sixth."

Diamond battled through five scoreless innings, before the Tigers got to him in the sixth. Jackson walked with one out and was advanced to second on a tapper in front of the mound by Torii Hunter.

Cabrera was then intentionally walked for a league-leading ninth time this season. With two runners on for the first time in the game for either team, Fielder knocked a two-run double off the wall in center field to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.

The Tigers were just getting started. Victor Martinez followed Fielder with an RBI double, which was immediately followed by another RBI double from Jhonny Peralta, giving Detroit a 4-0 lead. Diamond was finally lifted after giving up four runs on five hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings of work.

"I thought we did a really good job when Diamond finally made a couple mistakes," Leyland said. "He was off the center of the plate all night long until that inning where we scored. He finally made a couple mistakes and we jumped him. He's got a good track record against us. I was worried about him."

Porcello worked steadily through his seven shutout innings, striking out five. Porcello's outing was only the third time this season he pitched seven-plus innings -- seven innings at Houston on May 2 and eight against Pittsburgh on May 28.

"He was terrific," Leyland said. "He kept the ball on the ground. A good sinker, but the stuff that really set his sinker up lately is his secondary stuff. They're not just sitting on a fastball any more. That's been a huge difference for him in my opinion."

"My off-speed stuff is getting a lot better, so I'm going to continue to get breaking pitches over the plate and switch up my pitches," Porcello said. "That's what's helping me this year have some success -- throwing my breaking ball for strikes and using my changeup."

While Porcello excelled through seven, the Tigers bullpen struggled in the eighth, as lefty Drew Smyly allowed a pair of baserunners with one out before Joaquin Benoit got a strikeout and groundout to end the inning, giving way to Jose Valverde, who closed out the ninth in a non-save situation.

In his brief appearance, Smyly gave up a walk to Clete Thomas and Valverde led off the ninth with a walk to Joe Mauer. Walks aside, Leyland was satisfied with his bullpen's effort.

"I thought everybody did a good job, with the exception of a couple walks. Those are no-nos."

While Leyland was pleased with getting his offense going again, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire lamented the outcome.

"It was a tough night," Gardenhire said. "We didn't do much offensively. Porcello was tough. His ball was diving all over the place and he had a nice breaking ball with his fastball coming back over the plate.

"Diamond matched him for a long time there, but then walked a guy in the sixth and got us in that awful situation where he had to walk a guy and didn't work out too well with three doubles in a row."

Kelly Erickson is an associate reporter 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   Sun Jun 16, 2013 1:07 am

Anibal, bullpen can't contain Twins in Tigers' loss
Starter, who had his last start skipped, exits after just 3 2/3 innings

By Kelly Erickson / | 6/15/2013 11:24 PM ET


MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins, who were shut out the day before, came alive Saturday night as the Tigers gave up a combined six runs on 14 hits -- including four extra-base hits -- in a 6-3 Detroit loss at Target Field.

Despite the loss, Tigers manager Jim Leyland thought his team performed decent enough -- the game simply got a little out of hand.

"We actually swung the bats pretty good, I thought, we just didn't score enough runs," Leyland said. "We kind of let it get away a little bit."

Starter Anibal Sanchez fought through 3 2/3 innings and gave up two runs on five hits. He walked four and struck out three on 72 pitches. Sanchez, who missed his last start Sunday due to muscle stiffness near his shoulder, was pulled early as a precautionary measure, not because he aggravated the muscle.

"I wanted to be careful with Sanchez," Leyland said. "The good news is he's healthy. He felt fine, probably a little sluggish just trying to get his rhythm back and mechanics back. He had been idle for a while."

"I'm feeling good," Sanchez said. "I don't have my power at the moment, but at the end, I'm just painless."

After a brief outing for Sanchez, Leyland then relied on his bullpen, which has drawn criticism of late. With plenty of quality starts coming from the rotation, the 'pen hasn't seen a ton of work this season, and when it has, it has often struggled.

The offense did give Sanchez some cushion, as it jumped on the board first with hits from both Prince Fielder and Jhonny Peralta in the fourth inning. Miguel Cabrera led off the inning and was hit by an errant Samuel Deduno pitch. Fielder plunked a base hit to left field, moving Cabrera to third. Two batters later, Peralta drove a broken-bat hit up the middle to score Cabrera and Fielder -- who moved to second on a Victor Martinez groundout.

Detroit briefly hung onto the 2-0 lead, as the Twins tied it up in the bottom of the fourth. Justin Morneau led off with a base hit and was brought in two batters later on a Trevor Plouffe home run to left. Saturday was Plouffe's first game since returning from the DL with a strained left calf. Plouffe went 3-for-3 with a home run, a double and three RBIs.

"First thing was winning -- we wanted to win this game and I wanted to contribute any way I could," Plouffe said. "To be able to come up offensively was good for us, and Sammy pitched his butt off again. So when you mix those things together, it's a good night."

Left-hander Darin Downs -- who stepped in for Sanchez in the fourth -- worked 2 1/3 innings and also gave up five hits, but allowed three runs and struck out four.

"I felt good out there," Downs said. "… I haven't gotten too many opportunities lately. I know I need to throw more than guys who go out every night."

Downs gave up three hits to lead off the sixth -- a double to Plouffe, a single to Chris Parmelee and a single to Brian Dozier that scored Plouffe to give the Twins a 3-2 lead. They didn't let up, as a sacrifice bunt from Pedro Florimon moved Parmelee and Dozier to third and second respectively, and Joe Mauer brought them both in on a single.

Right-hander Evan Reed was next to fall victim to the Twins' offense when he took over in the seventh inning. Through one inning of work, Reed gave up one run on three hits, as Plouffe followed an Oswaldo Arcia double with an RBI single.

The Tigers added one more in the eighth, as Cabrera crossed the plate on a two-base throwing error after reaching on a one-out double.

Right-hander Deduno went deep for the Twins, with two runs on seven hits over seven innings. He struck out two, walked one and hit one batter.

The Tigers also ran into a few outs, as they were nailed at the plate on two occasions. In the third, Don Kelly tried to score on an Alex Avila grounder to Florimon, who caught him at home. Fielder attempted to score in the sixth on a base hit from Kelly, but was caught as Parmelee's throw beat him.

"That was huge," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of throwing out Fielder. "As soon as the ball was hit, Parmelee was cheating toward that hole, and we were in the dugout yelling for him to throw him out. Fortunately for us he got rid of it quick and it was really accurate."

Kelly Erickson is an associate reporter 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   Sun Jun 16, 2013 7:12 pm

Fister flirts with no-hitter in victory over Twins
Allows first hit in sixth; Hunter hits career homer No 300

By Kelly Erickson / | 6/16/2013 6:46 PM ET


MINNEAPOLIS -- With an early lead and yet another quality start on the mound, the Tigers easily worked their way to a 5-2 victory Sunday at Target Field.

The Tigers took Sunday's series finale over the Twins with a pair of two-run home runs from Torii Hunter and Austin Jackson paired with a strong outing from starter Doug Fister.

Fister -- who had a 2-0 lead before he threw his first pitch -- tossed five no-hit innings before giving up a solo shot to left by Brian Dozier leading off the sixth. The right-hander ended his day allowing two runs on two hits over 7 2/3 innings. Fister walked one and struck out seven, throwing 110 pitches.

"He was terrific," manager Jim Leyland said. "He did a great job of making them miss the ball."

"My mindset is just to go out there and get as many outs as possible," Fister said. "Trying to get deep in the game is the No. 1 thing, and I do that by getting bat contact early on."

Fister said it was the defense that was really working for him, rather than any particular pitch.

"They hit a lot of balls hard," Fister said. "Luckily for me it was right at guys. It says a lot for the defense today and that's why we have them."

The Tigers wasted no time getting runs on the board. Hitting second in the order, Hunter hit his 300th career home run in the first inning -- a two-run shot to left field that scored Austin Jackson, who led off the game with a single.

"It's special," Hunter said. "Just hitting my first home run in old Tigers Stadium against the Tigers with the Twins, to hit 300 against the Twins in the Tigers uniform at Target Field -- it's special. It's kind of weird, but it's special. I'm glad I got that monkey off my back."

Three innings later, Jackson slammed a two-run homer of his own to the second deck in left. The homer also scored Alex Avila, who reached a batter earlier with a two-out single -- his second hit of the game and his first hits since June 6.

"This guy, he's special," Hunter said of Jackson. "He's the table-setter. He gets it done. Just having him back on top of the lineup, getting on base, going first to third, stealing bases, playing great defense, good at-bats, it's great to have Austin back and I'm telling you, he's the sparkplug we need."

Twins starter P.J. Walters lasted only 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on nine hits with three walks and four strikeouts.

"Right out of the gate, the two-run homer put us in a hole and didn't get much better from there," Walters said. "My location was terrible all day long. The two homers are what ended up biting us, but the location wasn't good even on the guys I got out."

Minnesota did little offensively to help Walters, not getting its first baserunner until the fourth, when Fister gave up a two-out walk to Ryan Doumit. Two innings later, Fister gave up the Dozier home run. Dozier would later double off Fister for the Twins' second hit.

After Dozier's double in the eighth, Fister walked Pedro Florimon. Right-hander Joaquin Benoit replaced Fister and got out of the eighth, but not before giving up a base hit to Clete Thomas which brought Dozier in from second to make it 4-2.

"You have to find a way to get hits and score runs," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It was the third game out of the last four we had just three hits and that's not going to get it done. We thought maybe [Saturday] night would carry over, but it didn't."

After Hunter made it 5-2 with an RBI double in the ninth, Benoit got the final three outs for his fourth save, with Leyland opting not to use closer Jose Valverde.

"That was a huge hit [by Hunter] because it changes the whole complexion of the game," Leyland said. "So we're doing OK. Benny did a great job closing it out. I just felt his repertoire was a little better for the type of hitters [the Twins] had hitting, so I decided to stay with him today."

Kelly Erickson is an associate reporter 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   Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:55 am

10-0: Max matches 104-year-old mark in Tigers win
Scherzer joins Mullin, Clemens with historic start; Miggy hits 19th HR

By Jason Beck / | 6/18/2013 12:14 AM ET


DETROIT -- Move over, Wabash George Mullin. Max Scherzer can't have your nickname, but he has designs on your record.

He can't have Rocket, either, but he can start being mentioned with his best start to a season, too.

With six innings of one-run ball in Monday's 5-1 Tigers victory over the O's, Scherzer not only became the first Major League starter since Roger Clemens in 1997 to go 10-0 to begin a season. He became just the second starter in the Tigers' illustrious history to do it, challenging the 104-year-old standard of Mullin.

Even Scherzer, an advanced stats fan who calls wins and losses "flukey," had to appreciate that kind of company.

"Yeah, you have to savor this a little bit because of the history of this organization," Scherzer said. "It's special to be 10-0. But at the end of the day, I don't measure my success on being 10-0. I measure my success on everything else I do on the mound."

Mullin began the 1909 season 11-0, according to Elias Sports Bureau, on his way to 29 wins. Clemens stood 11-0 after 12 starts in 1997 on his way to a 21-win campaign and a Cy Young Award in Toronto.

Scherzer, maybe supporting his fluke argument, would be at 11-0 now with six wins in a row if not for the Orioles' ninth-inning comeback off Jose Valverde on May 31 in Baltimore. But then, he might not have gotten to 10-0 without a big strikeout Monday.

Mullin had a big fastball and a nasty curve, according to reports. Scherzer had 98 mph on the outside corner to Chris Davis with the game on the line. When he couldn't get the call on that, he had the confidence to throw 97 mph just off the plate -- likely ball four, had Davis taken it -- to get a Triple Crown candidate to swing and miss.

Whether wins and losses are flukey, the way Scherzer got there Monday was not.

"You have one of the American League's best pitchers going up against one of the American League's best hitters of the time," manager Jim Leyland said. "That's a nice challenge for the fans, and tonight Max won the challenge."

Not since Pedro Martinez in 2001 has an American League pitcher started the season with at least 14 games of six or more strikeouts, according to ESPN Stats and Information. Scherzer's 10-strikeout performance was his fifth of the season.

Considering Scherzer didn't retire the O's in order in any of his six innings, many of those strikeouts came in handy.

Scherzer called his biggest pitch a 3-1 changeup to Nick Markakis that allowed him to set up a strikeout for the second out of the fifth inning, allowing him to pitch aggressively to escape. His catcher, who called the changeup to Markakis, wasn't buying it.

"I think [Davis] was the at-bat of the game, in my humble opinion," Brayan Pena said. "The fact that Davis got pretty good at-bats against us the previous two at-bats, for Max to strike him out with a fastball, that says a lot about Max."

Adam Jones' infield single set up Davis as the potential tying run. Davis had tagged a Scherzer fastball for his Major League-leading 24th homer of the year leading off the second inning, then shrugged off pitches off the corner to work the count in his favor for a single in the fourth.

With the game on the line, Scherzer flirted again with the outside corner after a swing and miss put Davis in a 1-2 count. Pena didn't have to move his mitt on back-to-back fastballs, lining up virtually in the same spot, but home-plate umpire Tim Timmons wasn't going to give him the call.

He came close.

"The 2-2 was the one," Pena said. "I turned around, not trying to show [Timmons] up, because I would never do that, but he screamed. He usually screams before he rings somebody up."

Scherzer didn't say a word.

"The thing is, when you're out on the mound and you hit the catcher's glove, you always think it's a strike," Scherzer said. "When you see it on video, the pitches were out. Sometimes they do a good job of calling them balls."

With the count full, Scherzer set up his best pitch, going with his changeup over the plate. Davis fouled it off.

"It just had enough movement on it," Davis said. "Of course, when you're throwing 96, 97, 98, that helps."

He knew what was coming next. Scherzer had no question. It was just a matter of placing it.

"My best pitch is my best fastball in that situation," Scherzer said. "If I was going to get beat, I was going to get beat on my best."

It was farther outside than the previous two fastballs, according to's Gameday, but Davis wasn't taking a chance.

"It was a ball," Davis said. "When you're throwing that hard and you're throwing a number of pitches for strikes, you assume that he's going to throw a strike. I was looking for a ball over the plate. He got me to chase."

Scherzer struck out Davis, Markakis and Manny Machado, All-Star candidates all, in that inning. He fanned Machado twice on the night, and sent down designated hitter Chris Dickerson swinging three times. That's more how Scherzer measures his pitching.

"Pitching on four pitches, generating swings and misses, minimizing my walks, working ahead of hitters, all the other things it takes to be a good pitcher," Scherzer said.

Miguel Cabrera's 19th home run of the year, a two-run shot in the opening inning, gave Scherzer a lead to protect. Austin Jackson and Jhonny Peralta added two-out RBI singles along with Victor Martinez's sacrifice fly off Orioles spot starter Jake Arrieta (1-2).

Drew Smyly replaced Scherzer in the seventh and went the rest of the way for his second save of three or more innings this season.

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 Jun 19, 2013 2:04 am

Verlander allows five runs in first loss to Orioles
Tigers ace gives up a pair of homers in five-inning outing

By Bobby Nightengale / | 6/19/2013 12:03 AM ET


DETROIT -- Until Tuesday night, just 10 Major League players had homered three times off Justin Verlander in his eight-year career. J.J. Hardy needed just five at-bats this year to get three homers off him, including a two-run shot in the fourth inning on Tuesday.

Adam Jones was 2-for-26 for his career off Verlander before his three-run homer an inning later.

That not only sums up the scoring for the Orioles in Tuesday's 5-2 Tigers loss at Comerica Park. It sums up the night for Verlander, who lost to the O's for the first time in his career.

It does not sum up the season, contrary to what some might say, but it sums up the feeling.

"It's been a battle so far," Verlander said.

By the standards of most Major League pitchers, even a lot of aces, Verlander is not having a bad year. By the standards he created, an 8-4 record and 3.72 ERA is out of sorts. Whether it's a downturn is a matter of opinion.

"When you're one of the faces of the game -- which he is, and he's a great pitcher -- people talk more about those guys than they do the fifth starter," manager Jim Leyland said. "I don't know if that's wrong or right. That's just the way this game is.

"And when you have a star pitcher and he doesn't have a good outing, it's a good conversation piece for people. All I can do is sum it up from what I saw tonight. And what I saw was, he didn't command his fastball. That was a no-no for him."

Verlander had seven-inning quality starts in each of his previous four outings, and he came within a Jose Valverde blown save last week of winning all four. Before that stretch, Verlander allowed 16 earned runs on 22 hits in 12 2/3 innings over three starts.

"Obviously, you have that stretch of three or four starts where it was pretty frustrating," Verlander said. "You know, I guess I'm always trying to get better, and I feel like I've made adjustments to get to that point. I feel like I've been getting better, better, and better. That's not necessarily going to work towards a perfect game, but you're not going to get better every time.

"There's ups and downs, peaks and valleys. Tonight was just one of those nights where two long balls hurt me. Who knows what happens if I'm able to execute those [home run] pitches a little bit better? I'm not saying that I regressed. It's just one of those games."

His previous start last Wednesday in Kansas City was "vintage Verlander," as Leyland put it earlier on Tuesday. His latest outing was more of a throwback to the rough stretch from last month. He spotted just over 60 percent of his fastballs for strikes, according to data gathered from's Gameday app. By contrast, he threw about 70 percent of his fastballs for strikes last Wednesday against the Royals, according to

He had his velocity early on Tuesday, topping out at 98 mph on back-to-back fastballs to Jones to escape a bases-loaded, third-inning jam, but he had to turn to it early because he didn't have his control.

Verlander lost Nick Markakis to three walks, two of them with two outs. The second walk loaded the bases in the third. Each time, Verlander struggled to get his off-speed pitches over the plate before struggling to finish him off with fastballs. The first two times, Verlander escaped with fly-ball outs from Jones.

The second time he left the bases loaded, it left him at 60 pitches through three innings. That's when Leyland grew nervous.

"It almost got up to the point where I looked up and I said, 'Oh, this is going to be a tough one for the manager,' because he's possibly got 60 pitches after three innings," Leyland said. "As a manager, that's not a good feeling."

Hardy's home runs off Verlander on June 1 included an 0-2 curveball he picked up and drove out to left. After a one-out walk to Matt Wieters in the fourth inning on Tuesday, he turned on a slider.

"I felt like the pitch to Hardy was actually a decent pitch," Verlander said. "It was down, it was a slider, just more middle than away."

It was the sixth home run of the year off Verlander. Half of them had been to Hardy, who joins former division foes Jim Thome, Jermaine Dye and Victor Martinez as players with three homers in one season against him. Thome and Dye did it in Verlander's rookie season of 2006; Martinez did it a year later.

"Speechless," Hardy said. "I couldn't tell you how it happened. I feel like I just kind of blacked out and I'm happy about it."

Jones' home run was the result of fastball command, after Verlander walked Markakis for the third time, this time on four pitches. He barely missed inside on back-to-back fastballs, but his first-pitch heater to Jones went right over the plate.

"He was up there jumping, trying to ambush me first-pitch fastball, and I gave it to him," Verlander said. "But it wasn't well-located, it was up and almost middle, outer half, right where he wanted it."

Said Jones: "We were able to get to him early. We were able to make him mad early and got him angry. That's what's cool."

Not only was Verlander 8-0 with a 2.93 ERA against the O's before Tuesday, he had worked through six innings in each of their previous 12 meetings. This time, he was done after five innings and five runs.

It wasn't what the O's are used to seeing against him. Whether it's a sign of something bigger is up for debate.

"He's dirty," Jones said. "We battled against him. Sometimes you get beat, and tonight we beat him."

Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter 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   Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:40 pm

Porcello, 'pen can't contain O's as Tigers drop rout
Right-hander allows six runs in fourth, and Baltimore adds on after

By Bobby Nightengale / | 6/19/2013 6:41 PM ET


DETROIT -- Down two runs, Rick Porcello found himself in a jam in the fourth inning. Although there were two runners on base, he liked his odds with two outs and the No. 9 hitter at the plate. However, Taylor Teagarden made him pay with a three-run homer to give the Orioles a 5-0 lead, a deficit the Tigers couldn't recover from in a 13-3 loss at Comerica Park on Wednesday afternoon.

Chris Davis led the charge in the fourth with an opposite-field two-run homer. It was his Major League-leading 25th home run -- he added his 26th homer in the ninth -- and his third career home run off Porcello.

"I feel like I've had some pitches the last few games to drive the other way, and I've kind of pulled off of them," Davis said. "That's something I was kind of working on before the game. He left it out over the plate and I didn't swing real hard, I just barreled it up and was able to get it over the first wall."

Later in the inning, with J.J. Hardy on second base, Ryan Flaherty hit a dribbler down to third baseman Miguel Cabrera, who didn't have a play to make.

"Guys are going to get infield hits, he put it in the perfect spot where none of defenders could get to it," Porcello said. "You deal with that, that didn't affect me at all. I felt really good with a right-handed hitter coming up in the nine-hole."

Except Teagarden had other plans. He drilled a three-run homer to left on a 91-mph fastball. Teagarden's last home run against the Tigers was his first hit in the 2012 season -- a walk-off blast in the 11th inning on July 14.

"I've got respect for him as a player, and at any point somebody can hit you, but I've got to make a better pitch against him," Porcello said. "I've got to make it tougher for him. That's probably one of the worst at-bats I've pitched this year."

Following Teagarden's three-run homer, Nate McLouth doubled and Manny Machado scored him with a single, giving Baltimore a 6-0 lead.

Porcello tossed two more scoreless innings, but the damage was done. He allowed six earned runs and nine hits in six innings, ending a streak of four consecutive quality starts.

"I left some pitches up but still had a chance to get out of there with only two runs, and to let that opportunity slip away is pretty frustrating," Porcello said. "This one is going to stay with me for awhile because I put up five shutout innings, but you give up six in one inning, you can't expect to have success doing that."

The Tigers pieced together two runs in the sixth inning -- a two-run double by pinch-hitter Matt Tuiasosopo -- they cut the deficit to 6-3. However, they wouldn't get another runner into scoring position until the ninth.

By then, the Orioles added plenty of insurance runs to make sure the result was in hand. They added three more runs in the seventh inning against Detroit relievers Darin Downs and Evan Reed.

In the ninth, Baltimore used four consecutive hits to score four runs against Jose Valverde -- including Davis' second home run to give him five RBIs in the game. Valverde threw him three consecutive splitters, including the one that went into the right-field stands.

"Split right into my barrel," Davis said. "The first one he threw me was one of the better ones I've seen from him, and the one away was good location. The last one was a good pitch, it just caught too much of the plate."

Despite the non-save situation, manager Jim Leyland said Valverde needed to pitch after not taking the mound since Friday.

After the Tigers won the first game in the series, Baltimore took the last two games to win its Major League-leading 16th series of the year.

"I don't want to sit here and look like I'm making excuses, because I'm not in any way, shape or form," Leyland said. "Things have to be a little bit better. But like I said, today was a day where it was a combination of things. Ricky lost his composure, and the Teagarden home run was a killer. Davis' homer, I don't worry about that much. But he lost his composure, and it bit him."

Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for Follow him on Twitter @nightengalejr. 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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