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PostSubject: Re: 2009 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Wed May 13, 2009 12:33 am

Twins' homers hurt Galarraga, Tigers
Detroit not able to counter against Minnesota's Slowey

By Jason Beck /

05/12/09 11:06 PM ET
updated: 05/13/09 1:16 AM ET

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Armando Galarraga made it all the way past the midway point of last season before he picked up his third loss, 15 starts into his Tigers tenure. At no point last year did he go three consecutive outings without a quality start.

It's far, far too soon to call mayday on Detroit's Venezuelan right-hander, but May Day started what's now the most frustrating stretch of Galarraga's brief Tigers career. And after Tuesday's 5-2 loss to the Twins, he's looking for answers.

Galarraga gave up six hits over his 5 2/3 innings, two fewer hits than Minnesota starter Kevin Slowey gave up over his six innings. But while Slowey stranded seven runners on base, Galarraga gave up a pair of two-run homers.

"Two pitches cost me four runs," Galarraga said.

He felt better with his stuff this outing compared with his previous two, but it didn't help how he felt after the game. Galarraga fell to 0-5 in six career starts against the Twins. More relevant for him, the Tigers Pitcher of the Month for April is now 0-3 with an 8.64 in his three May starts, allowing 16 runs on 20 hits with nine walks over 16 2/3 innings.

"Galarraga is pitching defensive a little bit," manager Jim Leyland said. "And I think Galarraga is in a situation right now where he's giving hitters too much credit."

Galarraga's credit for avoiding first-inning trouble went largely to his outfielders. After Matt Tolbert's single put a runner on base ahead of dangerous duo of Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, Galarraga fell behind on both hitters before having to challenge them with 2-0 fastballs.

Mauer's opposite-field shot to left would've put two runs on the board if not for left fielder Clete Thomas' leaping grab to bring it back onto the field. The catch didn't compare with Friday's heroics from Curtis Granderson in timing or athleticism, but it was a much-needed play.

"Luckily, it hung up there for me to get in good position and time it just right," Thomas said. "It wasn't by any means [like] Curtis Granderson's catch the other night, but it was fun."

As it turned out, Thomas' leap and Granderson's subsequent catch of Morneau's drive to the center-field warning track merely delayed the damage instead of salvaging a win. They were about 750 feet worth of outs with more distance to come.

A one-out walk to Michael Cuddyer the next inning started the process again. Galarraga (3-3) threw fastballs and sinkers on his first eight pitches of the inning before Joe Crede drove his 2-1 slider over Thomas and the left-field fence, making it a 2-0 lead for the Twins.

Mauer came back up in the third with a runner on base. This time, Galarraga threw a first-pitch strike and seemingly got Mauer to chase a second-pitch fastball that was diving outside. The pitch, however, was elevated barely enough for the hot-hitting Mauer to connect with some power, lining it well enough to left that Thomas ran out of room to chase it.

"That wasn't like a really bad pitch," Galarraga said. "He got it. I have to give him credit."

That isn't credit in the same sense that Leyland referenced. Too much credit referred to the way Galarraga pitches to hitters at times. He thrived last year on his aggressiveness, attacking hitters with well-placed pitches for strikes that had movement on them.

Galarraga actually entered Tuesday with a higher percentage of strikes than he had last season, 63 percent compared to 62. However, opponents batted just .237 on balls put in play against him last year. That number was up to .284 before Tuesday's outing.

"I'm trying to be aggressive every start I go," Galarraga said. "I'm trying to get my rhythm again, trying to get wins for the team."

Galarraga feels like this was at least a step in that direction.

"Believe it or not, I feel a lot better compared with my last start," Galarraga said. "I know I lost the game and I gave up five runs, but I think I'm getting better. My slider and changeup are really good. I missed one. I gave up one home run on a slider."

With seven baserunners stranded, starter Kevin Slowey (5-1) held Detroit scoreless until a sixth-inning solo homer from Jeff Larish, his second in as many games. Ramon Santiago added a solo shot in the seventh off Jesse Crain.
Jason Beck is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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PostSubject: Re: 2009 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Thu May 14, 2009 8:54 am

Walk-off slam sinks Tigers in extras
Willis gets a no-decision in his season debut

By Jason Beck /

05/14/09 3:21 AM ET

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Dontrelle Willis was welcomed back to the big leagues. Jim Leyland went face-to-face with home-plate umpire on Paul Schrieber on his way to an early exit from the game.

Joel Zumaya replaced Bobby Seay on a 1-2 count to Michael Cuddyer. Jason Kubel stepped off the bench and still caught up with a Zumaya fastball for a pinch-hit homer to bring on extra innings. Curtis Granderson put Detroit on top by bluffing his way into a go-ahead balk.

And in the end, none of those plays decided this game.

After seven lead changes, the final score read like a Vikings-Lions battle, but Sunday's 14-10 Tigers loss to the Twins featured almost as many twists and turns that a baseball fan could imagine over 13 innings before Joe Crede's walk-off grand slam finally ended it. And as Tigers manager Jim Leyland stood and reflected on it, even as angry as he was over his ejection and disappointed over his team's missed opportunities, he couldn't help but appreciate it.

"Both teams battled their tails off," Leyland said. "I'm sure [Twins manager Ron Gardenhire] is proud of his guys, and I'm awful proud of ours."

Six of the game's seven lead changes came from the sixth inning on. The Tigers held the lead at the end of an inning only once, that one coming after the seventh. They were desperately hoping to hang on once they finally pulled ahead again in the 13th.

Granderson's first triple of the season seemingly couldn't have been more timely for the Tigers than the 13th inning, because it gave them their first runner in scoring position since the eighth. Three double plays in the previous four innings had erased rallies.

Once Placido Polanco flew out to shallow left, too shallow to allow Granderson to try to score, Jesse Crain seemingly had thwarted another Tigers' scoring chance. He put Clete Thomas in a 1-2 count, one strike away from retiring the side, when he saw Granderson breaking for home.

Crain flinched as he went into his delivery, and Granderson stopped. The result was a balk that sent Granderson jogging home with the go-ahead run before Crain retired Thomas.

Out came Brandon Lyon for the bottom of the 13th, his third inning of work, but Jason Kubel's soft liner to right immediately put him in trouble. Denard Span's sacrifice set up Matt Tolbert for a line drive to left-center field, just out of left fielder Josh Anderson's reach.

An intentional walk to Justin Morneau and unintentional pass to Michael Cuddyer loaded the bases for Crede, who drove a 1-2 breaking ball deep to left.

Willis, who began the season on the disabled list with anxiety disorder, allowed four runs on eight hits over 4 2/3 innings and left with a 4-3 deficit. Though he never had a 1-2-3 inning, he never gave up the big inning that marked his struggles last year. His two walks both came on close full-count pitches, and he threw 53 of his 87 pitches for strikes.

"I kind of feel like I pitched three days ago," Willis said. "That's how long the game went today."

Once Zach Miner ended the fifth, Brandon Inge's two-run homer in the top of the sixth earned the Tigers their first lead of the night. But two walks from Miner in the bottom of the inning set up Span for a two-run triple off Bobby Seay to move the Twins back in front.

Back and forth they went from there.

"I liked the way that we hung in there," Inge said. "We battled. We came back. We kept fighting. When they scored a run, we scored a run. That's a classic battle right there. "

Leyland's ejection came after Miguel Cabrera's eighth home run of the season put the Tigers back in front. Home-plate umpire Paul Schrieber put his arm on Magglio Ordonez followed a protested third strike and was berated by Leyland, prompting Leyland's ejection. After a lengthy argument that included Leyland shouting from the dugout, Jeff Larish promptly padded Detroit's lead with a solo shot to center for his third home run in as many games.

Kubel's pinch-hit homer erased that lead and sent the game into extra innings, but Zumaya's 2 2/3 innings helped save the Tigers bullpen for what ended up being a long night.

"You can be upset that we lost, but I like to look at the bright side, and I saw a lot of great things out there," Leyland said. "I didn't see one person give up. They gave it their all for ... I forget how many innings now. They did a good job. You have to tip your hat to them."

Jason Beck is a 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: 2009 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Thu May 14, 2009 7:37 pm

Verlander's gem wasted in loss to Twins
Right-hander overpowering, sets career high with 13 K's

By Jason Beck /

05/14/09 3:59 PM ET

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Justin Verlander said he didn't know the Tigers had lost Wednesday night until he took a cab to the Metrodome with Curtis Granderson on Thursday morning. Manager Jim Leyland sent him back to the hotel early, he couldn't find the game on the hotel television and a desk clerk told him Detroit had won.

Verlander's dugout view of Thursday afternoon's seventh inning couldn't have been much less stunning.

"It's tough, because you're not a part of it anymore, obviously," Verlander said after the Twins finished off their three-game series sweep with six unanswered runs for a 6-5 victory. "Managers always talk about how it's probably more frustrating to manage than it is to play, because you have a part in the game. Once I'm out of the game, there's really nothing I can do about it. I'm just a fan."

When Verlander racked up his career-high 13th strikeout to fan Joe Crede leading off the seventh, the Tigers had a five-run lead with eight outs to go. By the time Zach Miner ended the inning, they were trailing by a run. The final two runs came from Crede, who had come back around to bat.

In between were five hits, three walks and four straight two-out baserunners that led to four runs. All the while, Verlander -- knocked out once a one-out single and a walk pushed his pitch count to 122 -- watched uncomfortably from the dugout.

"It was a tough thing to watch," Verlander said. "Obviously, the way things unfolded wasn't pretty, especially Crede with a little jam job. That's just the way the game is going the last few days."

That's the way so many Tigers game at the Metrodome have gone over the years. But it wasn't how Verlander's starts had been going.

"That's a shame to lose that game," Leyland said. "We have a good bullpen, and the bullpen didn't do the job."

Verlander won his previous three outings behind 23 innings of one-run ball with 31 strikeouts. His latest performance looked every bit as good, mixing an upper-90s fastball with a buckling curve to strike out 11 of Minnesota's first 18 hitters.

The downside to all those swings and misses was a pitch count that began with a 23-pitch opening inning to strike out the side and quickly soared into triple digits.

Back-to-back curveballs caught Justin Morneau to end the first. A 98-mph fastball overpowered Nick Punto to strand two runners in the second. Four straight Twins struck out in the fourth and fifth, including Crede on three pitches. Morneau foul-tipped a changeup for strike three in the sixth.

"Right now, he's got a no-score mentality look in his eyes," pitching coach Rick Knapp said. "He's got a killer instinct right now. He's not going to give up anything. He's going to get you out. He's got that look -- the look. There's not a way you can explain it, except that he's pitching angry."

Verlander needed all those zeroes to keep pace with Twins counterpart Scott Baker, who sent down Detroit's first 10 batters and entered the sixth with a one-hitter.

Back-to-back singles from Brandon Inge and Adam Everett, however, burst open Detroit's offense for a five-run sixth behind Ramon Santiago's RBI double and two-run singles from Magglio Ordonez and Clete Thomas.

Given his first lead of the night, Verlander retired the side in the bottom of the inning, then fanned Crede in the seventh. Had he retired Brian Buscher and Punto to end the inning, that probably would've been it. Instead, Buscher lined a 1-2 curveball back up the middle before a tiring Verlander lost Punto.

"You could see he was pretty much out of gas," Leyland said.

In came Bobby Seay to face Minnesota's five straight left-handed hitters. He retired only one, and Joe Mauer's out required a solid play from Santiago at second.

Once Jason Kubel doubled off Seay, the go-ahead run was on base.

"[My] command was just terrible today," a distraught Seay said. "I take full responsibility for today's loss."

The game-winning hit came after Seay left. Miner entered to pitch carefully to Michael Cuddyer, whose walk extended the inning for Crede. A 1-0 sinker was just high enough to loft into shallow center as Morneau and Kubel came around for Crede's eighth RBI of the series.

"I made my pitch, he hit it," Miner said. "You have to tip your cap. It stinks."

"Every pitcher is going to have to get big outs for us," Leyland said. "Some of them haven't been able to get them."

Jason Beck is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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PostSubject: Re: 2009 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Fri May 15, 2009 9:30 am

Friday, May 15, 2009
Twins 6, Tigers 5
Justin Verlander dominates Twins, but Tigers bullpen wastes gem
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

Minneapolis -- There are games that shouldn't slip away, but do. There are series that shouldn't be sweeps, but are.

And there are starts by dominating pitchers that definitely shouldn't end in 6-5 defeats.

The Tigers went a startling 3-for-3 on Thursday.

They had a 5-0 lead over the Minnesota Twins behind Justin Verlander, who was in such command through six innings that he ended up with a career-best 13 strikeouts.

But the bullpen collapsed when Verlander handed a first-and-second situation over to Bobby Seay with one out in the seventh. Eventually, it was Joe "This is Getting Unreal" Crede, who again got the hit that decided the game.

It wasn't a walk-off grand slam in the 13th inning this time. That occurred Wednesday night, the 24th home run Crede has hit off the Tigers.

In this game it was a two-run bloop single to center off Zach Miner that gave the Twins their final two runs of a six-run seventh.

There went Verlander's gem.

"We needed eight outs and couldn't get them," manager Jim Leyland said. "A shame because that was a tremendous performance."

There went a game that looked like one the Tigers, for sure, were going to win.

"We gave them the game," Leyland said. "Some of our pitchers haven't been able to get big outs."

And there went the final nail into a three-game sweep not of the Twins, but by the Twins.

The Tigers arrived here feeling good about themselves after sweeping the Indians in Cleveland. They left like the team they've been so far -- win one, lose one, win three, lose three.

Just when it looked like they were taking shape, they've lost definition again.

What are they -- a good hitting team? They've had their moments, but not enough.

What are they -- a good pitching team? It frequently appears that way, but too often the rotation and bullpen are not effective in the same game.

What are they? Through the first 33 games, we don't know yet.

The Tigers don't know, either.

The most encouraging sign, of course, is Verlander. He ran out of gas in the seventh, but this was another lights-out start -- his fourth in a row. In those four starts, he has an 0.92 ERA.

He also became the first Tigers pitcher since Mickey Lolich in 1971 to have 10 or more strikeouts in three consecutive games.

Not only that, but it looked like Verlander was doing something else that aces do, restoring order to a pitching staff that a) had just endured a 13-inning heartbreaker, b) had one relief pitcher, Juan Rincon, designated for assignment Tuesday and c) had another, Nate Robertson, placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday because of lower back strain.

As Verlander sailed along, it seemed all would be well in the Tigers' world as they headed home. Seay and Miner let it get away, though.

"My command was terrible. My pitch selection was brutal. I pretty much had nothing," Seay said. "I take full responsibility for this loss."

Seay allowed four runs on three hits and a walk in one-third on an inning.

Whatever the Tigers are, or turn out to be, they believe they're better than they've been so far.

That's to be expected. But they need to understand if the belief isn't universally shared.

It's not, because they thought they were better than what they evolved into last year, too.

"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: 2009 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sat May 16, 2009 9:25 am

Tigers get Raburn, Inge grand slams
Jackson allows one run over seven innings in rout

By Jason Beck /

05/16/09 1:59 AM ET

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DETROIT -- Edwin Jackson entered Friday with the lowest run support in the American League. As he tried to keep his arm loose in the clubhouse tunnel while spring storms soaked Comerica Park, he had to wonder if he could even get any weather support.

For that matter, so could Ryan Raburn.

As long as Jackson could keep his arm loose, the Tigers weren't going to let a rain delay deny him a win after Raburn's grand slam. Once Jackson came back, Brandon Inge added another slam. Detroit's third two-granny game in franchise history wasn't really necessary for Jackson, but he wasn't about to turn down Friday's 14-1 romp over the A's.

"I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to go back out," Jackson said. "When they decided to let me go back out, that was a great feeling. You get to go back out and finish the game that you started."

Jackson didn't finish it, but he came a lot closer than many thought he would.

"I thought he had better stuff after the delay," catcher Gerald Laird said.

He wasn't the only one.

Not since Jim Northrup hit two grand slams on June 24, 1968, at Cleveland had the Tigers had two in a game as a team. That outburst helped earn Denny McLain his 13th of 31 wins that year. Jackson isn't looking for nearly that much; he could just use the support.

Five times in Jackson's previous seven starts this season, he entered the seventh inning with one run or none allowed. Jackson had earned the victory just twice, in no small part due to Detroit's offense.

This outing was different from the outset. Four Oakland errors -- one from each of the infielders -- in the first three innings helped the Tigers take command. A Bobby Crosby error, Magglio Ordonez infield single and hit-by-pitch to Inge scored a run and loaded the bases with two outs for Raburn's second career grand slam in the opening inning. Two more runs each in the third and fourth padded Detroit's advantage.

The Tigers had scored 13 runs over Jackson's previous five starts combined. They had a 9-1 lead when a downpour stopped play after the fourth. And after back-to-back dropped leads in a series sweep at Minnesota, Detroit needed a win to stop the slide.

It made for a tricky situation. It took an hour-long delay before Friday's game even started. Then after four innings, the two clubs were stopped again, three outs shy of the game being official.

"If you're on one end of this, you want the rain to continue," manager Jim Leyland said. "If you're on the winning end, like we were, you're hoping for the rain to end."
The game would not have been suspended. Had the game been called, the two teams would've had to start over from scratch. The lead would've been erased, and the stats -- including Raburn's grand slam.

"I'll tell you what, I'll bet you that felt like the longest rain delay in Raburn's history," Inge joked.

Jackson's end of it could literally be a no-win situation. Even if the game resumes, a delay much longer than an hour usually means the end of the night for the starter. Normally, a pitcher has to last five innings to automatically qualify for the victory.

Jackson threw in the tunnel every 10 minutes or so to keep his arm from stiffening up. The rest was out of his control.

"The only thing you can do is ask to go back out," Jackson said, "but it's the coaches' discretion at the end of the day. The only thing you can do is roll with the decision they make.

"Anytime you go, you always want to get back on the mound. [Pitching coach] Rick Knapp said, 'We're going to try. We're going to fight to get you back out there.'"

Simply resuming the game was tricky. At one point, the grounds crew had just removed the tarp when another downpour hit. But once the fifth inning began, the rain had ended for the rest of the evening.

Jackson, meanwhile, was just getting started. He needed just eight pitches to retire the side in order in the fifth, firing fastballs at 96 mph. He was strong enough to stay out for nine-pitch sixth inning, then finish out the seventh.

"He was impressive," A's manager Bob Geren said. "He was throwing even better after the rain delay, which you almost never see."

Inge saw the same thing.

"If he's similar to how I am," Inge said, "the longer you wait, the more loose you feel. I think he felt better the second go-around."

Inge certainly felt strong. After back-to-back singles from Clete Thomas and Miguel Cabrera and a walk to Ordonez, Inge centered a Dan Giese pitch well enough to put it into the shrubs beyond the center-field fence, an estimated 427-foot blast that sent Detroit into double digits.

Jason Beck is a 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: 2009 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun May 17, 2009 12:04 am

Porcello, Raburn pace Tigers past A's
20-year-old righty hurler continues to impress

By Jason Beck /
05/16/09 9:45 PM ET
updated: 05/17/09 12:25 AM ET


DETROIT -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland continues to say he's sticking to the plan on Rick Porcello, no matter how well the 20-year-old progresses. The progress in his last three outings is going pretty well ahead of the plan.
When the Tigers put Porcello in their rotation, they knew he would have his bad days mixed amongst the good. His past three outings have gone progressively well, each one showing a different development in his game.

As a result, the youngest starting pitcher in the big leagues is leading the Tigers with four wins this year after Saturday's 9-1 win over the A's at Comerica Park.

"I'm really very happy with him, but I'm going to watch him and not get careless," Leyland said. "It's only May. There's a long time to go yet. But he's doing fine. It's pretty impressive, really."

When Porcello lost to the Yankees in Detroit three starts ago, he struggled to locate his workhorse sinker for strikes, and hitters waited him out before roughing him up for six runs over 3 2/3 innings. Every start since has shown a little more progress.

Since then, he has tossed 18 innings with two runs allowed on 12 hits over three starts.

Saturday's lesson was about his curveball, and how it can hurt hitters looking for his sinker. Against an A's lineup heavy on left-handed hitters and abundant on patience, Porcello made surprisingly quick work, using 84 pitches over his six innings of one-run ball.

"Jason Giambi, [Jack] Cust, [Ryan] Sweeney, there's power in that lineup," Leyland said. "There's a lot of good left-handed hitters in that lineup. So that's pretty impressive for anybody to do that, let alone a 20-year-old kid."

Two of the three hits Porcello allowed came from Sweeney, whose third-inning double set him up for Oakland's lone run. A couple of walks and a hit-by-pitch comprised the few other baserunners.

"He had one fastball that was pretty good coming in at 94 [mph]," Sweeney said, "and he another one that was like a BP fastball, and you didn't expect it. He was mixing up his stuff. His curveball and changeup looked good, too."

Cust struck out twice against Porcello -- first on a 76-mph curveball in the opening inning, then on a 92-mph sinker to end the third. Giambi went down chasing a high fastball in the second inning. Matt Holliday had a couple of groundouts before he was hit in the sixth. Bobby Crosby struck out twice on curveballs.

"I thought overall that was his best [outing]," Leyland said, "because at times he had everything going. He had a good curveball tonight and a good changeup. He had the curveball going a little bit more along with his fastball."

The curveball especially has been one of Porcello's projects lately, and he had enough confidence to take catcher Gerald Laird's suggestion and go with it along with his changeup. He's not only improving his secondary stuff, he's trusting it.

"Today it was definitely a lot better," Porcello said of the curve. "I was able to strike a couple guys out on it. I felt the most confident I've felt in it all season, really, just being able to put it where I want to. That's definitely a big plus for me, gaining confidence with it."

While Porcello (4-3) gains confidence, so is Ryan Raburn, who followed up Friday's grand slam by accounting for four more runs, three of them on his second homer in as many nights.

Raburn scored Detroit's first run as part of back-to-back doubles in the second inning. Gerald Laird drove him in with a double for Laird's first hit since May 2, one of three hits for him on the night.

But it was his opposite-field loft off A's starter Dallas Braden (3-5) that fueled a go-ahead, five-run rally in the fifth. Four of the five runs scored with two outs, starting with an RBI ground-rule double from Magglio Ordonez.

After that, Porcello probably could've cruised through the seventh or eighth. His outs were certainly quick enough. But this was an instance where the Tigers want to use their leads to conserve Porcello's pitches.

For all the success he's enjoying, it's easy to forget -- not only his age, but his innings.

"He keeps making progress," Leyland said. "He's smart. He knows what [pitching coach] Rick Knapp is trying to help him with. He knows how to work on it between starts, and he's getting better. But there's going to be steps forward, steps backward once in a while. He's going to be fine, but this year, we've just got to break him in. We've got to be very careful with him and not get greedy with him, not push him too much. I'm not going to get away from the plan that we had in Spring Training."

Jason Beck is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Last edited by TigersForever on Sun May 17, 2009 9:32 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: 2009 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun May 17, 2009 12:11 am

Saturday, May 16, 2009
Tigers 9, A's 1
Rick Porcello, offense keep clicking in another rout of A's
Tim Twentyman / The Detroit News

Detroit -- Rookie Rick Porcello pitched his third straight gem and Ryan Raburn continued to break out of his slump as the Tigers defeated the A's, 9-1, in front of a crowd of 31,554 at Comerica Park on Saturday.

Porcello (4-3), the first rookie to begin the season in the Tigers starting rotation since Justin Verlander in 2006, is 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA in his last three starts. Against the A's, he went six innings, allowing one run while striking out five and walking two.

Raburn capped off a five-run Tigers fifth inning with a three-run home run, his second homer in two games. He hit a grand slam in the Tigers' 14-1 victory Friday. He also helped give the Tiger a 1-0 lead in the second inning, doubling to center and scoring on Gerald Laird's double down the left-field line.

The A's tied it in the third inning on a single by Travis Buck that scored Ryan Sweeney, who doubled to center.

But then the Tigers blew it wide open in the fifth inning.

Curtis Granderson put the Tigers up 2-1 by scoring from third base on Miguel Cabrera's slow tapper to the pitcher. The ball was hit just enough toward the first-base line that the only play for A's pitcher Dallas Braden (3-5) was on a tag on Cabrera; he then threw home, but was wild, allowing Granderson to score. Placido Polanco scored on Magglio Ordonez's double and Raburn capped the inning with a 363-foot, three-run shot to right field.

Cabrera had two doubles, driving in one run in the sixth and two in the eighth. He finished 3-for-4 with four RBIs, bringing his total to 30 on the year.

Tigers relievers Bobby Seay, Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney closed the door on the A's, allowing just one hit over the last three innings.

Tigers pitching was so good it held the first six batters in the A's lineup to a combined 0-for-21.

"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: 2009 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun May 17, 2009 6:05 pm

Santiago powers Tigers to sweep of A's
Granderson adds a three-run homer in the effort

By Jason Beck /

05/17/09 4:10 PM ET
UPDATED 05/17/09 6:43 PM ET

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DETROIT -- The Tigers have to be concerned about Armando Galarraga. They need not worry about team energy.

When Ramon Santiago stepped to the plate with two outs and a runner on in the second inning, the Tigers were already staring at a six-run deficit. They were already into their bullpen, they were facing a starting pitcher they had never faced, and with wins in the first two games of the series, they already had a series win locked up.

Two outs, 11 batters, two Santiago hits and eight runs later, Detroit was in front on its way to an exhausting 11-7 win and a sweep of the A's. And none of the players, including Santiago, acted too terribly surprised that they found the momentum to come back.

"Everyone just goes and does it," said center fielder Curtis Granderson, whose three-run homer put the Tigers in double digits and effectively put away the sweep. "No one really had to say anything.

"Usually in those situations, especially a younger group and younger teams, high school teams, college teams, a coach has to say something. Sure enough, all the guys know it's definitely not over. We've been having good at-bats. We just haven't a chance to get ourselves into a rhythm yet. Just pick by pick, get ourselves into a situation where we can close the gap, and then go from there. That's pretty much what happened today."

Maybe it went unsaid, but it didn't go unnoticed.

"When you win the first two from a team and you've got a day game after a night game, and you get behind 6-0 early, that's a pretty good compliment to come back," manager Jim Leyland said. "I told them last night, 'You have to have a little mean streak in you if you want to be good, and I thought [that] came out today."

About the only momentum they didn't have by game's end was the push from Santiago to turn a single into a double in his final two at-bats. Otherwise, he would've hit for the cycle, a remarkable feat for someone who isn't an everyday player and hasn't been known for his offense until recently. But he could settle for four hits, including a go-ahead three-run homer, and three runs scored.

Detroit managed double-digit runs on a day when its 3-4-5 hitters -- Clete Thomas, Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez -- combined to go 1-for-12 with no RBIs and one run. Hitters six through nine, by contrast, went 10-for-17 with eight runs scored. Seven of those hits came from the duo of Santiago and Adam Everett that has turned out a surprising offensive punch at shortstop.

Santiago had no hits yet as he stood at the plate in the second inning for his first at-bat. And after taking a first-pitch fastball and fouling off another, he was stuck in an 0-2 hole as Trevor Cahill tried to finish off the inning.

Santiago shrugged off a couple pitches, fouled off a tough offspeed pitch in the dirt and then a high fastball, shrugged off a curveball in the dirt to run the count full, then fouled off two more to stay alive. Finally, Cahill left a fastball up on the 10th pitch of the at-bat, and Santiago slashed it into the gap for an RBI triple.

"I think it was big," Santiago said. "Everybody started to fight every at-bat. When you work a pitcher for 10 pitches, they can be the stronger guy, but they get tired. Sometimes they leave the ball up later. He had a good sinker, so he was getting up a little bit. And that makes a difference with the next guy."

Santiago's strength is making a difference in those at-bats. With a little more power, he said, he's able to make more solid contact and yet maintain his line-drive approach without swinging for the fences, which is what Leyland always frets with him.

"He got some awful big hits," Leyland said, "and that was certainly one of them. We felt if we kept it within six or so, we had a chance."

An inning later, Santiago had a chance to take the lead. He greeted reliever Santiago Casilla with a drive to the right-field seats for a go-ahead, three-run homer, his third homer on the year.

Casilla had retired seven straight Tigers before Santiago came back up again. His lined a single into right-center that was a little more shallow than his earlier hit. While he thought about trying for two, he stopped himself.

"We're up by only one run," Santiago said, "so I don't have to be stupid on baserunning."

After Everett doubled, Granderson rewarded him by taking Russ Springer deep to right for his team-leading 10th home run of the year.

Santiago's cycle wouldn't be complete -- he singled through the middle in his last at-bat -- but the Tigers' comeback was. And with that, they're back at four games over .500, the same high mark they reached before being swept at Minnesota last week.

"The main thing is to win the game," Santiago said.

Jason Beck is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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PostSubject: Re: 2009 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Tue May 19, 2009 11:16 pm

D-Train won't be denied in second start
Lefty allows just one hit, retires 17 in a row at one point

By Jason Beck /

05/19/09 9:30 PM ET
updated 05/19/09 11:50 PM ET

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DETROIT -- Flash back to the sight of Dontrelle Willis at his Spring Training locker in March, trying to answer questions regarding an anxiety disorder that he knew little about, and his chances of getting a victory in a Tigers uniform had to seem debatable.

Return to the image of Willis taking life off of his pitches to get the ball over the plate last June against the Indians, and his potential to dominate a Major League lineup had to seem at least questionable.

But of all the images to show what Willis' 6 1/3 scoreless innings signified, what Tuesday's 4-0 shutout of the Rangers meant, the sight of a Comerica Park crowd rising to its feet to cheer him as he walked to the dugout did it best. This was a young man who pitched in near-silence against Tigers Minor Leaguers during a Spring Training camp game in an empty ballpark.

The fact that Willis cooled off baseball's hottest team was one thing. The fact that it generated that sort of emotion, both from the 23,756 in attendance and from Willis in return, was another.

It gave manager Jim Leyland chills.

"I think everybody's pulling for this kid," Leyland said, "and I thought that was tremendous."

It gave Willis two separate emotions as he headed into the dugout in line for his first win since Sept. 25, 2007. He very much wants to get back to the routine of being a reliable starting pitcher every five days, but he couldn't deny that this day was special.

"I was upset," Willis said, "because I walked the last guy. But I appreciated it. I really appreciate the city. It's just a great city and a great sports town. I really appreciate everybody standing by me and giving me support."

Six days after Willis returned to the big leagues, he rejoined the ranks of stingy Major League pitchers. Though last week's no-decision at Minnesota showed some quality pitches and ample competitiveness, it was nothing like the show he put on Tuesday, when he sent down 17 consecutive batters and topped out at 93 mph on his fastball.

Michael Young's first-inning double and Andruw Jones' ensuing four-pitch walk were the only baserunners Texas had until Jones worked out of an 0-2 count to draw a one-out walk in the seventh, taking a high fastball on Willis' 100th pitch of the night. In between was a mix of fastballs, changeups, breaking balls and other pitches.

He threw just about everything he could at the Rangers. Most importantly, he threw it where he wanted, and with consistency.

"He was challenged in some ways," said catcher Gerald Laird. "He got some guys into three-ball counts, and he was able to make the pitch when he needed to, and throw strikes when he needed to. And that was huge."

Laird went to the mound to keep Willis' spirits up after his first-inning walk. Willis recovered to retire Marlon Byrd for the third out, then came back out for the second inning and struck out the side on three different pitches. He hit the outside corner against a left-handed hitter, spotting a fastball to David Murphy for a called third strike. He dove an offspeed pitch outside to send down Nelson Cruz swinging, then set up Chris Davis with fastballs up for a slider that sent him down swinging.

From there, Willis' building confidence and improving pitches made the Rangers look like a punchless team, rather than winners of seven in a row. Like the Twins, they came to the plate looking to wait out Willis early, and his first-pitch strikes to 15 of the 22 hitters he faced set himself up for his out pitches.

"I saw a lot of pitches that really had good life on them," Leyland said. "They mishit them."

The 17 straight outs is a season best for any Tigers pitcher. The mere five balls put in play that escaped the infield in that stretch allowed his infield defense to help him out with quality stops.

Beyond the defensive plays behind Willis, from a jumping catch by first baseman Miguel Cabrera in the fifth to Josh Anderson's full-stride running catch on the left-field warning track to deny Elvis Andrus an extra-base hit in the sixth, the Tigers supported their left-hander with one run in each of the first three innings. Jeff Larish and Laird hit sacrifice flies in the first and third, respectively. Ramon Santiago doubled and scored on Placido Polanco's single in the second.

Willis began the seventh by falling behind on a 3-0 count to Young, then recovered to run the count full and get a fly out to the warning track in right. Another walk to Jones, this one out of an 0-2 hole, brought out Leyland to end his outing while it was still a positive.

The ovation ended up being a nice bonus.

"I think you've got to remember," Leyland said, "this young man's been through a lot. You're tickled for him on a personal basis, and also obviously tickled for the team. I admire him for what he's gone through. He competes. Whether he's pitching or not, he comes to beat the other team."

Tuesday, for the first time as a member of the Tigers, he was able to do that.

Jason Beck is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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PostSubject: Re: 2009 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Wed May 20, 2009 11:09 pm

Ramirez helps lift Verlander, Tigers to win
Prospect homers in debut; right-hander strikes out eight

By Jason Beck /

05/20/09 9:47 PM ET
updated: 05/21/09 12:47 AM ET

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DETROIT -- Justin Verlander's best efforts seemingly involve little effort. Wednesday involved a big effort against the Rangers.

It wasn't just the 41 pitches in the fifth, but the extra work that went into his pitches early. He didn't get the double-digit strikeouts he racked up in his previous three starts, denying him a piece of history. But unlike his last start, when Verlander's six-plus innings and 13 strikeouts went for a no-decision, he got the victory when Wilkin Ramirez's first Major League home run and Brandon Inge's 11th homer of the season powered Detroit to a 5-3 win over Texas at Comerica Park.

"He was tremendous once again," manager Jim Leyland said of Verlander. "That's a tremendous hitting lineup. To hold them down like that, that's an accomplishment."

With 35 strikeouts over his previous three starts, Verlander certainly had reason to try for strikeouts. No Tigers pitcher had reached double-digit strikeouts in four straight starts since at least 1954, when records are available. Only Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez have reached the feat in the Majors during the past 15 years.

Verlander insisted it wasn't in his mind-set. Yet as he began the game, for whatever reason, he could tell there was a little too much effort in his arm.

"Especially after the first inning," Verlander said, "I told myself to settle down and kind of reset, and do what I've been doing the first inning of the last few games, which is just find that rhythm and throw quality strikes. I thought the first inning I was overthrowing just a hair, not too much, just a little bit, and didn't really find that rhythm."

It didn't show in the results. A first-inning walk to David Murphy was the lone baserunner Verlander allowed through four innings. The extra work reflected in the pitch counts -- four full counts to the first eight hitters. He went from an 0-2 hole to full against Chris Davis in the second inning before blowing him away with a 96-mph fastball.

That was when Verlander's fastball started to pick up life. It lingered in the low- to mid-90s in the opening inning before he settled in.

"I think he labored a little more tonight than he has in a few of his starts," Leyland said. "I don't know this, but he might've been a little more strikeout conscious, and it may have been subconscious. And I'm not making a big deal about it. He was very, very good again."

The one stretch where Verlander piled up his strikeouts, in fact, was the stretch where he mixed his pitches best. He struck out the 2-3-4 hitters in the Texas order -- Murphy, Michael Young and Hank Blalock -- with a mix of his speeds and a healthy breaking ball. He needed 13 pitches to fan the side, and just five were fastballs -- four of them to Young.

The one effort that nearly scuttled him, in fact, came from his offense. When Gerald Laird hit into a triple play with his line drive to second on a hit-and-run attempt, the abrupt halt to the inning also meant a quick return to the mound for Verlander.

"The funny thing is," Verlander said, "usually I sit down and just kind of watch the game on television and just gather my thoughts. Especially when you get to two outs, I really start to focus in and imagine the next hitters that are coming up. I was not prepared for that. I'm always prepared for a double play, but that I wasn't quite prepared for."

Rangers hitters, on the other hand, were ready for Verlander in the fifth. Three singles tied the game, and a two-out walk to Ian Kinsler -- who started the triple play -- loaded the bases for more. Verlander battled Murphy for eight pitches before a 99-mph fastball finally induced an inning-ending groundout to short.

The inning seemingly ruined any chance at a deep start, but it preserved the Tigers' chances to win.

"Obviously that was a big turning point to keep us in a tie game," Verlander said, "and we stepped it up there in the bottom of the sixth against a tough pitcher."

Once Verlander retired the side in order in the sixth, Ramirez put Detroit ahead with a 433-foot drive to left-center to give Detroit a 2-1 lead. Not since Reggie Sanders hit one over the fence at Tiger Stadium on Sept. 1, 1974 against Oakland had a Tigers player homered in his first big league game.

What had been a sputtering offense, stifled by a fourth-inning triple play and a fifth-inning runner stranded at third, suddenly came alive. Inge's homer stretched the lead to 4-0 before Ryan Raburn's single knocked Rangers starter Matt Harrison (4-3) out of the game. Josh Anderson's single and a Jason Jennings' wild pitch allowed Raburn to score another insurance tally.

Leyland said he would've brought out Verlander for the seventh, but the long sixth-inning rally convinced him otherwise. Instead, Detroit's bullpen finished off the Tigers' fifth straight victory.

Jason Beck is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Last edited by TigersForever on Thu May 21, 2009 10:27 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: 2009 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Thu May 21, 2009 12:16 am

Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tigers 5, Rangers 3
Verlander gem, home runs power Tigers
Tim Twentyman / The Detroit News

Detroit -- The Tigers are running on all cylinders.

Justin Verlander pitched his fifth-straight gem, the offense provided three monstrous home runs as the Tigers earned their fifth-straight victory Wednesday with a 5-3 win over the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park.

Verlander continued his torrid stretch, picking up his fourth victory in his last five starts. He allowed one run on three hits while striking out eight and walking two.

Verlander (4-2, 4.01) had all his stuff working. His fastball was lively, his breaking ball was biting. His fastball was so good it completely obliterated the bat of Rangers catcher Taylor Teagarden's on a lazy fly ball to shortstop in the third inning. Verlander followed that display of power by striking out the side, mostly on breaking pitches, in the fourth inning.

He entered the game looking for his fourth straight outing with 10-or-more strikeouts, but a 41-pitch fifth inning ended his night. According to Elias Sports Bureau, no pitcher in Tigers history had fanned 10-or-more batters in four straight outings.

Verlander improved his record to 3-0 in four starts at Comerica Park with a 1.08 ERA. He improved his American League-leading strikeout total to 77.

Verlander got all the run support he'd need with homeruns by Ryan Raburn, Brandon Inge and rookie Wilkin Ramirez, who was making his major league debut. Ramirez hit a towering 433-foot shot off Rangers starter Matt Harrison that broke a 1-1 score in the sixth inning. He became the first Tigers player to hit a home run in his debut since Reggie Sanders did it against the Oakland A's on Sept. 1, 1974.

Combined, the three home runs traveled 1,246 feet.

Fernando Rodney picked up his seventh save in as many attempts.
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PostSubject: Re: 2009 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Thu May 21, 2009 8:44 pm

Jackson rewarded for escaping jam
Cabrera comes through for righty with RBI single in eighth

By Kyle Austin /

05/21/09 6:15 PM ET

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DETROIT -- When Jim Leyland made a visit to the mound in the eighth inning on Thursday, starter Edwin Jackson had thrown 110 pitches and had just walked the Rangers' David Murphy on five pitches. It looked like a seemingly logical time to go to the bullpen.

Yet the Tigers manager had no intentions of pulling his starter. He simply calmed him down, and went back to his place in the dugout. He stayed there as Jackson gave up an RBI double that tied the game at three, and he didn't go to the bullpen when the go-ahead run moved to third base.

Leyland left Jackson on the mound until he struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia to end the eighth on his 132nd pitch of the day. His teammates paid him back in the bottom of the inning by manufacturing a run on a Miguel Cabrera RBI single, to win the game 4-3.
For Jackson, the 25-year-old Tigers newcomer who leads the team with 60 innings pitched and a 2.55 ERA, there was no intention of coming out. Jackson (4-2) told Leyland before the eighth inning that he felt fine to go, and Leyland sent him out.

"Every once in a while you get those games where you say, 'You know what, he deserves to be there,'" Leyland said. "'I just can't take him out. I can't in good faith take him out.'"

Jackson's win was sealed when, with men on first and third in the top of the ninth, closer Fernando Rodney induced Michael Young to hit into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play.

With that, Comerica Park erupted as the Tigers won their sixth consecutive game, Detroit's longest win streak in nearly a year, and its 11th consecutive home game over Texas.

After the game, Leyland went up to Jackson in the dugout and jokingly offered to give his workhorse the next start off. No way, Jackson responded, even though his 132 pitches were the most for a Tigers pitcher in the Leyland era, and the most since knuckleballer Steve Sparks threw the same amount on Aug. 21, 2003.

"There wasn't a chance," Leyland said of his starter leaving the game. "He was going to be out there until they were ahead. I felt that he deserved it, that's just the way it goes. If you don't do it, you don't do it."

Jackson, who set a career high for pitches Thursday, said he's aware of his pitch count during a game, but he doesn't dwell on it. He goes more by feel. His pitches seemed to improve as the day went on -- his fastball touched 98 mph in the middle of the game, and his last pitch of the day was a 97-mph fastball.

When Leyland went out for his eighth-inning mound visit, Jackson noticed he didn't signal to the bullpen on his way out.

"It would have been easy to go to the 'pen and pull me out," Jackson said. "But to leave me out there definitely shows that he has confidence in me."

It might have been easy for that confidence to wane in the early innings, when Jackson gave up a home run to the Rangers' second hitter, David Murphy. Jackson put men on first and third in the second inning, but was saved when right fielder Clete Thomas gunned down Nelson Cruz as he tried to tag up on a fly ball. That ended the inning, and the Rangers' last real threat until the eighth.

Jackson said his fastball was running more than usual in the early innings, so he changed his release point and settled down. His teammates, meanwhile, took the lead when Curtis Granderson hit a two-run homer to right field.

That 3-1 count held until the top of the eighth, as Kevin Millwood had an impressive start of his own, going eight innings, giving up six hits and four runs.

But in the end, to Jackson, most numbers don't faze him. Not the .210 the Rangers were batting against him going into the game. Not the three-game win streak he's now on. And not the 132 pitches he threw Thursday.

"If you leave it to a guy who really wants to compete, he doesn't care what his pitch count is," third baseman Brandon Inge said. "He wants to go out there and try to be able to help his team win."

Kyle Austin 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: 2009 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Fri May 22, 2009 3:55 pm

Friday, May 22, 2009
Tigers 4, Rangers 3
Leyland's gamble works for Tigers; Jackson wins
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

Detroit -- Admit it.

Had it all backfired on the Tigers in the eighth inning on Thursday ...

Had Edwin Jackson ended up as the losing pitcher after being left in the game with a pitch count that reached 132, the most any Tigers pitcher has thrown since Jim Leyland became manager in 2006 ...

Had a winning streak that has now reached six in a row ended ...

Your blame was all locked and loaded.

Of course it was. And your finger would have been pointed directly at Leyland for leaving his starting pitcher in too long.

In a game against the Rangers the Tigers won 4-3 on Miguel Cabrera's two-out single in the eighth, not to mention Michael Young's double-play grounder with runners on first and third in the ninth, Leyland's neck was stretched about as far as a manager's neck can reach.

What the heck was he doing? Hank Blalock had just doubled in the eighth, putting runners at second and third, one out, and the Tigers leading 3-1. Get Jackson out of there was the conventional thought.

Nelson Cruz doubled both runners in one out later, tying the game. Get Jackson out of there.

Then came a walk and still Jackson was left in the game.

Crazy manager?
Not at all.

"Some things are more important than pitch counts," Brandon Inge said.

Jackson had struck out the side in the seventh, each out coming on a 98 mph fastball. He'd given up Cruz's double on a pitch of equal velocity. He'd lost nothing.

Leyland could see that. So he didn't budge.

He squirmed. That's allowed. It's not comfortable with your neck in that position.

Or as Tigers coach Lloyd McClendon could say from experience: "People don't know how agonizing it sometimes can be for a manager."

But darn it, Jackson had pitched too well not to decide his own fate, even with a stratospheric pitch count -- and Leyland in a fascinating moment of tension, with blame squarely on the line, let him decide it.

Jackson proved worthy.

"That's the thing," McClendon said. "He had a horse out there."

Pitch 132, the most any non-knuckleballer (meaning anyone but Steve Sparks) has thrown for the Tigers since Felipe Lira heaved 135 while getting pounded by the Yankees in 1996, was a 97 mph fastball on which Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out.

Make no mistake, this was another in a stretch of excellent games the Tigers have played lately. Clete Thomas' throw home on a double play in the second inning was outstanding.

But Leyland sticking his neck out for a pitcher who went to the proverbial wall for his team decided the game.

"That's a manager saying he doesn't care about blame, he cares about his guys and his team," Inge said. "I like it."

And when Cabrera had singled in the tie-breaking run, and the Tigers were back in front, slapping each other on the back, Leyland put his arm around his starter in the dugout and said what with a smile?

"We're skipping your next start."

"No way," Jackson said, knowing a camouflaged compliment when he hears one.

No way whatsoever.

"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: 2009 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Fri May 22, 2009 11:09 pm

Victory is seventh heaven for Tigers
Porcello helps win streak roll on to open series vs. Rockies

By Jason Beck /

05/22/09 9:34 PM ET
UPDATED: 05/22/09 11:22 PM ET

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DETROIT -- If the 40-game mark still means anything for evaluating a team, the Tigers have to like where they're at.

With its seventh straight victory in Friday's 4-3 win over Colorado, Detroit is now playing .600 ball behind the third-best ERA among Major League starting rotations. Besides the resurgence of Justin Verlander and the emergence of Edwin Jackson, the Tigers have five victories from 20-year-old Rick Porcello, who was expected to be in Double-A around this time.

And perhaps all too quietly, they're playing the kind of ball where their fundamental little plays are making a big difference. Friday's win proved as much about Porcello's poise as it did about Gerald Laird's baserunning, or Ramon Santiago's plate approach or Josh Anderson's defense.

Through 40 games, the Tigers are playing with awareness. With their lead in the American League Central now at four games, they're aware of the difference. On a night when Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez had dominant stuff, Detroit manufactured three of its four runs, prevented a couple in the field, then withstood Colorado's late charge to make it stick.

"I think basically, when it's all said and done, with the exception of [Armando] Galarraga's start, the pitching has held them and given us a chance to get some runs," manager Jim Leyland said. "The bullpen has done a good job, held them, given us a chance to add on a few runs from time and time."

A day after Jackson dueled the Rangers for six innings, the 20-year-old Porcello made relatively quick work of the Rockies early before hanging on late. Thirteen of Colorado's first 16 batters went down in order, and left fielder Josh Anderson threw out one of the exceptions at the plate, delivering a line drive home to retire the speedy Dexter Fowler for the final out of the third.

It was a play where Fowler's speed prompted the Rockies to force the Tigers' defense to make a play. Because the ball was hit harder than expected, Anderson was not only able to charge it, but had the extra split second to make an accurate throw.

"The ball was hit pretty good on the ground, and all I had to do was come straight in for it," Anderson said. "With him, all I had to do was get rid of it quick, but I couldn't let that rush me. The key to that throw was getting it quick, and then getting your composure together."

Porcello finished with six hits allowed in as many innings with two walks and three strikeouts. He has allowed three runs total on 18 hits in 24 innings during this four-game winning streak, but he credited his defense for this one.

"Defense was spectacular today," Porcello said. "They picked me up just about every inning."

The Tigers were able to run their way into two runs in the bottom half of the inning after Anderson's out. After Laird's one-out single through the middle, he was ready to test Colorado's outfielders if he felt he had a chance to go from first to third on a single.

"I can tell right off the bat if I'm going to make it," Laird said. "I know my own speed, and I know what it takes. If I can get to third, there's so many more ways to score."

Santiago, meanwhile, was thinking of ways to get him there. With Jimenez showing a nasty two-seam fastball inside to jam left-handed hitters, Santiago was looking to the opposite field. He didn't look to power Jimenez's first-pitch fastball around the middle of the plate, simply get it through.

His ground ball through the middle got Laird to third, where he took off again to score on Jimenez's two-out wild pitch. Placido Polanco's two-out bloop single plated Santiago for a 2-0 lead.

"Tremendous baserunning," Leyland said.

After Brandon Inge's 12th homer of the year extended the lead in the fourth, a leadoff single and walk in the eighth set up what ended up being a critical insurance. Jeff Larish reached base on a one-out walk, then slid hard into second base to take out second baseman Clint Barmes and prevent a potential inning-ending double play as Clete Thomas came home.

"Look how huge that run was," Leyland said. "When Larish breaks up that double play, that ended up being the difference in the ballgame."

The extra run proved huge once Seth Smith's two-run homer in the ninth drew the Rockies within a run against Joel Zumaya, who became closer for a night with Fernando Rodney on rest following his three straight outings.

Zumaya admitted to a case of butterflies for his save chance, but he was able to strand the tying run on third by striking out Fowler on a 99-mph fastball to end the game. With that, the Tigers won a game with one extra-base hit and one solid all-around performance.

Jason Beck is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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PostSubject: Re: 2009 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sat May 23, 2009 10:00 am

Saturday, May 23, 2009
Tigers 4, Rockies 3
At 40 games, Tigers look legitimate
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

Detroit -- Well, that's 40 games -- and, of course, you remember what Sparky Anderson used to say.

But if you don't, this is what he used to say: "You don't know nothin' about a team until it's played 40 games."

With that in mind, it's safe to say the first-place Tigers are looking strong at the Sparky mark with a 24-16 record.

Parlaying pitching, defense, and sufficient offense, they beat the Rockies, 4-3, on Friday night for their seventh victory in the first seven games of their home stand -- and their eighth in a row at home.

"We're playing the way we should," Gerald Laird said "We're playing to our expectations. We didn't leave spring training to finish third."

What the Tigers are doing, to put it simply, is playing excellent baseball. In most games, although the A's wouldn't agree, they don't pummel anyone. In their sweep of the Rangers, for instance, they scored 13 runs in three games.

This was no slugfest, either.

"A chore," manager Jim Leyland called it.

But once again, it was a winning recipe of mixed ingredients -- a pinch of pitching, a dab of defense, and enough offense to overcome a two-run home run off Joel Zumaya in the ninth.

Rick Porcello (5-3) provided more than a pinch, actually, while winning his fourth in a row. He held the Rockies to a run on six hits in six innings, but owed his defense substantial gratitude.

Had it not been for Josh Anderson's strike of a throw in the third to nail Dexter Fowler at the plate, the Rockies would have scored another run.

And had it not been for a grab down the line at first that Miguel Cabrera turned into a 3-to-2 double play in the sixth, who knows what gates might have opened?

The gates didn't open, though. They rarely have opened against the Tigers on this home stand, which means it doesn't take much running around to win.

What helped this time was a wild pitch. The Tigers mustered more than that, but the wild pitch that Ubaldo Jimenez threw in the third inning played a pivotal role.

"But that's one of the better pitchers I've seen since I've been here," Leyland said of Jimenez.

With runners on first and third and two outs, a pitch bounced far enough from the plate for Laird to score -- after he went from first to third on a single to center that would have advanced many runners one base.

But there was Laird at third, in position to score on the wild pitch.

"Tremendous base running," Leyland said "That's the kind of thing which wins games."

Ramon Santiago moved up to second and scored on Placido Polanco's two-out single.

Brandon Inge knocked in the Tigers' last two runs with a fielder's choice in the eighth -- a difference-maker charged to former teammate Jason Grilli -- and a home run the fourth.

That's 12 home runs in 40 games for Inge. Do the math. It projects to 48.6 over 162 games.

An impressive Sparky mark in more ways than one.

"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: 2009 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun May 24, 2009 12:38 am

Seven stands: Tigers' streak snapped
Cabrera's blast, two-run fifth unable to lift Detroit to victory

By Jason Beck /

05/23/09 9:39 PM ET

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DETROIT -- Once again, the Tigers worked their way back into a game after Armando Galarraga gave up early runs. Unlike last time, however, they couldn't hold on.

Todd Helton's home run leading off the sixth inning put the Rockies ahead for good, ending Detroit's seven-game winning streak with a 4-3 loss Saturday night at Comerica Park.

A fifth-inning double-steal with Magglio Ordonez and Ryan Raburn set up both to score -- Ordonez on catcher Chris Iannetta's errant throw to third, Raburn on Gerald Laird's ensuing single -- to bring the Tigers back from a 3-1 deficit. It also brought Galarraga back to an even game after he had settled down from allowing a run in each of the first three innings.

Once Galarraga fell behind on a 3-0 count to Helton, however, the longtime Rockie was waiting when Galarraga threw a fastball up and over the plate. Helton pulled it into the right-field seats for his sixth home run of the year, making Comerica Park the 31st Major League stadium in which he has homered.

Iannetta also homered off Galarraga (3-4), who left after 5 1/3 innings with four runs allowed on six hits -- four for extra bases -- to go with a walk and two strikeouts. He has allowed 25 earned runs on 30 hits over 22 2 2/3 innings in five May starts, losing four of them.

Aside from the fifth-inning flurry and Miguel Cabrera's second-inning solo homer, his ninth home run of the season, Rockies starter Jason Marquis (6-3) kept Detroit's offense contained. He lasted 7 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts.

Jason Beck is a 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: 2009 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun May 24, 2009 8:55 pm

D-Train derailed by late rally in finale
Offense unable to back Willis' quality start against Rockies

By Jason Beck /

05/24/09 5:50 PM ET

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DETROIT -- Once again, Dontrelle Willis gave the Tigers a chance to win. All he could do in defeat is tip his cap to Todd Helton.

The offense behind him -- or lack of it -- left others scratching their heads.

"We've got a good ballclub, but we've got to get our offense going," manager Jim Leyland said after Helton's second go-ahead hit in as many days, this one an RBI single in a two-run seventh that sent Colorado past Detroit in a 3-1 decision Sunday at Comerica Park.

The Tigers' second straight defeat earned them their first home series loss in Interleague Play since dropping two of three to the Brewers on June 12-14, 2007. Detroit entered this series with a 42-12 Interleague record since '06, which stood atop the Majors.

But the Interleague stretch is over for a few weeks. What has to concern the Tigers going forward is an offense that managed eight runs for the series and scored more than four runs only once over Detroit's past six games since a 33-run onslaught over three games against the A's here last weekend.

The starting pitching continues to keep the Tigers in game, and Willis backed up the notion that he can give Detroit a chance to win when he takes the mound every five games. It's now up to the offense to build a lead.

It wasn't the same dominance for Willis (1-1) that he built over his 6 1/3 innings of one-hit ball Tuesday against Texas, but it would have been unfair to expect that. What was encouraging for Tigers officials was the way he responded when he didn't have his best stuff.

Willis struggled at times to find the outside corner, leading to four walks over his 6 2/3 innings. And unlike the previous couple outings, the Rockies showed a willingness to swing at the first pitch rather than allow Willis to get ahead.

Only one of those walks, however, came around to score. None of those first pitches put in play, meanwhile, resulted in base hits. And none of the rallies caused the kind of reaction from Willis that would've gotten him off the game and led to the big innings he suffered last year.

"I thought he pitched very well," Leyland said. "He did a great job changing speeds."

One of those big outs came against Helton early. Willis started the third inning by striking out Clint Barmes and Ian Stewart, but after Dexter Fowler poked a ball inside the third-base line for a two-out double, Willis walked Troy Tulowitzki on four pitches to extend the inning. A first-pitch ball to Helton and a double steal, putting runners at second and third, brought pitching coach Rick Knapp out of the dugout for a meeting at the mound.

Willis continued to work Helton outside with fastballs, spotting three of them on the corner. The last, a 92 mph heater, drew a called third strike to end the threat.

"I felt like I threw the ball well," Willis said. "I fell behind some guys."

Helton didn't have to wait long for redemption. After Willis stranded a runner in the fourth and retired the first two batters of the fifth, Fowler walked his way back on base, and Tulowitzki waited on an outside pitch to knock a ground ball through the right side. Willis tried to pitch Helton outside, but he left a fastball far enough up for Helton to turn and pull it to the right-field fence for an RBI double, ending Willis' streak of 11 scoreless innings -- dating back to Willis' first start a week and a half ago at Minnesota.

Once Helton came back up with two outs and Stewart on second in the seventh inning, Willis tried to get him to bite back outside. Once he didn't, Willis left him a pitch just far enough in for him to reach, grounding a ball up the middle. With Detroit's defense playing him to pull, the ball went just out of reach of second baseman Ramon Santiago for the decisive RBI.

"Hats off to him," Willis said of Helton, who was 1-for-9 off Willis in his National League days. "That's Todd Helton. I've faced that guy a bunch of times."

Willis still finished with a quality start, his first set of consecutive such outings since Sept. 20-25, 2007. Helton and Rockies starter Jason Hammel ensured he didn't get the win.

Detroit's lone RBI came on Dane Sardinha's second hit of the year, an RBI blooper into center that scored Magglio Ordonez after two walks and a Brandon Inge single had loaded the bases with one out. Hammel (1-3) escaped anything worse with a double play from Josh Anderson, and he went on to retire 11 of 12 batters before allowing a pair of singles in the sixth.

Anderson batted leadoff Sunday, with Curtis Granderson hitting fifth, and Ramon Santiago hit second in place of Ramon Santiago. Nonetheless, the top third of the Tigers' order struggled for the second straight day, going 0-for-11 with a walk and five strikeouts after Saturday's 0-for-12 woes.

"Everybody worries so much about who's hitting behind [Miguel] Cabrera," Leyland said. "Who's hitting in front of him?"

Jason Beck is a 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: 2009 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Mon May 25, 2009 6:36 pm

Verlander dominates the Royals

Tigers cruise in KC behind Verlander
Detroit hitters pound out 19 hits in series-opening win

By Jason Beck /
05/25/09 5:10 PM ET
updated 7:10 PM ET

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KANSAS CITY -- Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander doesn't pitch to the score. He just makes it look worse for his opponent.

And as Verlander took the mound for the fifth inning with a touchdown-sized lead over the Royals on a day when it looked like it could rain at any time -- and eventually poured -- it had to have looked miserable.

"You can tell when he gets a lead, he gets stronger," catcher Gerald Laird said after Monday's 13-1 Detroit victory. "When you're a team facing a guy like that and you've fallen behind three, four, five runs, that makes your at-bats that much tougher to get back into the game."

If Monday's 13-1 Tigers victory was a statement score in their clash against their closest competitor in the American League Central, Verlander provided everything but the exclamation mark. As great as Kansas City's Zack Greinke has been this season, Verlander is taking on that kind of presence every time he takes the mound for Detroit.

His 0.85 ERA in his last six starts still can't match Greinke's 0.82 ERA for the season, but his 5-0 record and 60 strikeouts over 42 1/3 innings in that span means plenty. Not only has he not allowed a home run since April 22 against the Angels, he has allowed just three extra-base hits of any sort in that span.

Verlander allowed one runner into scoring position Monday, and after a visit from pitching coach Rick Knapp, he set up Mike Jacobs for an inning-ending strikeout, mixing breaking balls and changeups for three pitches before firing three straight fastballs at 97 mph or higher. Jacobs watched the first two trail off the outside corner before he tried in vain to catch up with the 98-mph pitch over the plate.

That was the Royals' lone scoring chance against Verlander before Coco Crisp tripled and scored off Zach Miner in the eighth. Once Clete Thomas' two-run single fueled a three-run fifth to extend Detroit's lead, Verlander retired eight of the final 10 batters he faced. About the only thing that stood between Verlander and a complete-game shutout was his pitch count, and it had more to do with his totals from his past few times out than the 96 pitches he threw Monday.

"One thing that strikes me in his last few games is when we take a lead, he goes out and shuts them down immediately," bullpen coach Jeff Jones said. "And that's huge. It seems like every time we take a lead and he's on the mound, he has a very quick inning the next time. It really helps break their spirit and helps you get back in the dugout."

Verlander insists his mentality doesn't change to the situation. Whether he's up a bunch of runs and cruising, or trying to strand a couple runners, his mentality to keep going after hitters remains. It changed once his roll began, he said, and he has kept it up.

"I would say I'm more aggressive -- not necessarily in my pitch selection, just my mentality," Verlander said. "I don't know how to explain it. That's just how I feel."

Verlander (5-2) used back-to-back curveballs to strike out Jacobs in the second inning, then fired four straight fastballs past Mark Teahen. He struck out Teahen on a curveball his next time up in the fifth before two breaking balls and a slider sent down Willie Bloomquist two batters later.

"[Verlander] had guys out today on changeups," Laird said. "He had guys out on curveballs. He had guys out on fastballs. You can't go up there guessing with him. He knows what he wants to do, and obviously, he's doing it right."

With that, Verlander improved to 8-1 in 12 career starts against the Royals.

Meanwhile, Detroit's offense erupted after manager Jim Leyland made a point to say that his team's veteran hitters have to produce for this team to succeed. Miguel Cabrera rebounded from his 2-for-11 series over the weekend with three hits, two runs and an RBI. He started a string of four straight singles in a three-run fifth that put Detroit clearly in command.

Not since 1995 had these two teams met this far into the season with .500 records or better, but the Tigers' victory sent Kansas City back under the break-even mark and restored Detroit's lead in the division standings to four games.

This extra game in the standings was all about Verlander.

Jason Beck is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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PostSubject: Re: 2009 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Wed May 27, 2009 12:02 am

Miscue helps Jackson's gem fall apart
Royals strike for three in sixth, Greinke does the rest

By Jason Beck /

05/26/09 8:42 PM ET
UPDATED: 05/27/09 12:42 AM ET

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KANSAS CITY -- Edwin Jackson actually outpitched the great Zack Greinke for five innings, but he threw his way towards a defeat.

Not since the 2006 World Series has pitchers' fielding really taken focus in a Detroit loss. But the way Jackson pitched the Royals for most of Tuesday night, the Jackson-Greinke matchup was that close heading into the sixth. And realistically, the error that set up Kansas City's three-run rally for a 6-1 Tigers defeat was a play most pitchers don't get to even try.

The fact that Jackson chased down Luis Hernandez's sacrifice bunt was a highly athletic play. The throw that followed was simply wide.

"Jackson's such a great athlete, it worked against him tonight," manager Jim Leyland said.

Not only did Jackson retire 15 of the 16 batters he faced through five innings, he did it with a slew of ground balls. Normally an extreme fly-ball pitcher, he had two different stretches where three consecutive Royals grounded out to second, including the side in order in the fifth.

Jackson wasn't looking at this as a showdown with Greinke, and he made that point more than once afterward. Still, indirectly or not, Jackson was beating Greinke nonetheless.

"This game is no special game for me by any means, just because of the pitching matchup," Jackson insisted. "I want to get that understood. I mean, every game is just as important, regardless of who the pitchers are. But any lead you have, you never want to give it up."

Miguel Olivo's leadoff single in the sixth broke up Jackson's stretch of 10 straight batters retired. Hernandez tried to bunt him over to second with a ground ball in front of the mound and toward the third-base side, bringing Jackson charging off the mound to chase it down.

Though Jackson's footwork looked uncertain, that wasn't an issue. It was Jackson's grip on the ball that hurt him, and Leyland could see it unfold.

"He had it, but he didn't get a grip on it, and I could tell," Leyland said. "When I saw he didn't get a grip on it, I said, 'Oh, no.' He bobbled it, kind of. I was concerned before he threw it. But you're certainly not going to tell somebody not to go for a ball."

Indeed, though third baseman Brandon Inge might've been able to charge the ball, he knew Jackson could get to it. He's that good of an athlete and a fielder. The surprise was the miscue itself.

"I couldn't get it out of the glove," Jackson said. "I mean, that's a play that I make all day. I made the same play [two batters later]. Unfortunately, I didn't make it that time.

"That's a play that nine out of 10 times, I make. That was that 10th time."

The ball carried into foul territory in short right field, moving Olivo to third and Hernandez to second for the top of the Royals order.

The ensuing hits that beat him were on ground balls. Mitch Maier fouled off his first-pitch bunt attempt, then slapped a slider through the middle to score both runners and put Kansas City in front. A David DeJesus sacrifice and back-to-back singles -- Billy Butler through the right side, Jose Guillen to the left -- added an insurance run.

Once a single and an errant pickoff helped bring Alberto Callaspo around to beat Miguel Cabrera's throw home in the seventh, that was it for Jackson. He threw 132 pitches in his previous start, so Leyland saw an opportunity to get him out after 89 pitches this time. It marked just the third time this season that Jackson entered the seventh inning with more than a run allowed.

Those runs proved plenty for Greinke (8-1), who recovered from a shaky opening inning to beat Detroit for the second time this season and the 10th time in his career. Placido Polanco doubled and scored on a Magglio Ordonez single to move the Tigers in front three batters into the game, giving Detroit its first earned run off Greinke in 19 innings and putting another runner on base for cleanup hitter Cabrera.

Greinke fell behind on Cabrera on outside pitches, then jammed Cabrera on a 2-1 fastball.

"He hit the ball good," Leyland said. "He happened to hit it right at the shortstop for a double play."

Cabrera's single his next at-bat put two on with one out in the fourth, but Jeff Larish's comebacker turned into another inning-ending twin-killing. That was basically the Tigers' last shot against Greinke, who went on for a complete-game six-hitter to improve to 10-4 lifetime against Detroit.

"He's so good, you've just got to fight," Leyland said. "And we fought. I thought we battled our fannies off against Greinke."

They nearly won the battle, whether or not Jackson saw it as such. They at least raised Greinke's ERA from 0.82 to 0.84. But the unearned runs off Jackson made the difference.

Jason Beck is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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PostSubject: Re: 2009 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Wed May 27, 2009 7:01 pm

Porcello's historic run continues
Rookie wins fifth consecutive start as Tigers beat KC

By Jason Beck /

05/27/09 4:50 PM ET
updated: 05/27/09 7:51 PM ET

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KANSAS CITY -- Rick Porcello wasn't born yet when Dwight Gooden dominated as a teenager. For history's sake, that's good; if he was around then, he'd be too old to set the kind of standards he's reaching right now.

Gooden was so young when he broke into the big leagues that he won seven straight starts twice -- both in 1984 and '85 -- before he turned 21. Not once since then had anyone that age won more than four straight starts. Porcello's six solid innings in Wednesday's 8-3 Tigers win over the Royals got him to five after he lost three of his first four decisions to start the season.

The way Porcello's going, he could threaten Gooden's standard, though his next scheduled start comes next Tuesday against the Red Sox. Fernando Valenzuela's eight-game streak in 1981 isn't far off from there.

"I don't know about comparing him to anybody," shortstop Adam Everett said. "The biggest thing is whenever a guy comes out at second base, like Billy Butler, and says, 'Man, we really have to make this guy [pitch] up. He's nasty.' When you hear that, when you hear other guys say that, you know he's got something special. What I see, the way he makes guys miss, you know he can be something special if he stays healthy."

When the Royals hit Porcello, it was generally on the ground, allowing the defense behind him to make plays. When Jose Guillen swung and missed at a sinker with a runner on second and one out in the opening inning, everybody had to take a split-second and marvel.

"That was nasty," Everett said.

Butler's line-drive single to left off a Porcello sinker a hitter earlier put the Royals ahead early. Mark Teahen's fourth-inning homer off the left-field foul pole was the only other run off of him, and it came on a tough sinker that was heading off the outside corner.

It was the only hit Porcello allowed out of his final 11 batters. Eight of those other 10 grounded out.

"He's got that dominating, sinking fastball," Royals bench coach John Gibbons said, "and sometimes it's hard to do anything with that."

Porcello said the main adjustment he made after his first-inning jam was to get ahead in the count more. He didn't have as much success in doing that as in previous starts -- he threw first-pitch strikes to half of the 22 batters he faced, and Teahen's homer came on a 3-0 pitch -- but Porcello succeeded in getting quick outs.

Porcello (6-3) worked quickly and efficiently, and he got the ground balls that kept his infield involved. The Detroit infield, in turn, made the plays behind Porcello that kept him rolling, from Everett's diving stop up the middle to start a double play to end the third inning to Polanco's barehanded grab and throw to retire David DeJesus to lead off the sixth.

"You stay on your toes," Polanco said. "You're ready on every pitch. It really helps when you come out to hit. You're in the game. You never turn it off. Same with [Justin] Verlander. When he's in the zone, he just works fast and gets you in the game."

Said Porcello: "It's huge, especially for me, being a ground-ball type of guy. They've been great all year, making diving plays and turning double plays. As a pitcher, it makes it easy for you go up there and get a ground ball. They're going to hit it and somebody's going to get it. It puts you at ease a little bit on the mound, knowing that they're going to make plays behind you."

Teahen's home run was the first off Porcello since April 27 against the Yankees, which was also Porcello's last loss. That homer also kept Porcello from becoming only the second pitcher age 20 or younger since 1954 to win at least five straight starts while allowing one run or none in each, joining Valenzuela's company.

These last five starts haven't been a sudden emergence, Porcello said, but an adjustment.

"I think I'm doing a better job of getting my breaking ball over for strikes and giving hitters a different look that way, keeping them off my fastball a little bit," Porcello said. "I think that's the biggest thing so far. I'm just going to try to keep working on it."

Of more immediate concern to the Tigers was the fact that Teahen's homer tied the game. Back-to-back three-run Tiger rallies in the next two innings took care of that. Josh Anderson put Detroit back in front with an RBI single in the fifth, one of four Anderson hits on the day from the leadoff spot, before Placido Polanco lofted a drive into the left-field bullpen for his first home run of the year, a two-run shot.

RBI singles from Polanco and Everett plus Gerald Laird's run-scoring ground ball through Teahen's legs at third put the Tigers in command in the sixth.

All eight runs, five of them earned, came off Royals starter Kyle Davies (2-4), who yielded 10 hits over 5 2/3 innings.

Jason Beck is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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PostSubject: Re: 2009 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Thu May 28, 2009 10:54 am

Thursday, May 28, 2009
Tigers 8, Royals 3 (analysis)
Tigers starting to pull away
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

Kansas City, Mo. -- Are you there yet?

Have you reached the point where you're beginning to wonder where, if anywhere, the Tigers' challenge from within the American League Central will emerge?

Is everyone else under-achieving -- or are the Tigers, at seven games above .500 and with a 3 1/2 -game lead after Wednesday's 8-3 victory over the Royals, simply the quality team of the division?

The answers could be "yes" and "yes" -- although manager Jim Leyland dismisses such talk.

"I don't put much stock in where we're at or what place we're in," he said. "All I want us to do is to play the game the way we're capable of playing. As long as we do that, wherever it takes us, I'll be satisfied."

It's still early, no one disputes that. But with June approaching, it's not that early. And other teams aren't stepping up.

The Indians continue to flounder. They're not even above .500 at home. The White Sox haven't gotten it together. The streaky Twins followed their three-game sweep of the Tigers in Minnesota by losing six in a row -- before winning another four in a row.

And the Royals? Zack Greinke is outstanding, of course. But he can't pitch every game.

The Tigers lost 6-1 to Greinke, but won the other two games of this series by a combined score of 21-4. With Wednesday's loss, the Royals sank back under .500 despite Greinke's 8-1 record.

So you know they have problems, too.

The Tigers, however, continue to pitch well -- Rick Porcello winning his fifth consecutive start, for instance -- and to play a high caliber brand of baseball. They occasionally get derailed by a lack of runs, but their starting pitching has prevented losing streaks from growing.

Not only that but the Tigers continue to benefit from interchangeable parts.

Consider their get-away victory in Kansas City. Porcello (6-3) allowed two runs on four hits in six innings. While winning his last five starts, he has a 1.50 ERA.

He's been nothing short of excellent.

In fact, he's the first Tigers rookie to win five games in May since at least 1954. That doesn't mean it was done in 1954; it just means the Tigers' ability to research stops with 1954.

But this game wasn't entirely about Porcello. It was about an outstanding double-play started by shortstop Adam Everett in the third when the game was still close.

It was about Jeff Larish and Clete Thomas not playing, but Josh Anderson and Ryan Raburn getting four and two hits, respectively.

And about the Tigers' ability to demoralize an opponent by trumping runs. They scored two in the second after the Royals took a 1-0 lead and three in the fifth after K.C. had just tied it.

Miguel Cabrera's 10th home run was part of what the Tigers did in the second. Placido Polanco's first accounted for two of the three runs in the fifth.

"I knew this was a good team, but didn't know how good," said Anderson, acquired from Atlanta during spring training. "I don't see why this team can't go a long ways this year.

"Obviously you can't think about the end right now, but this team is talented enough to play maybe on into the fall. The talent is here."

That much is clear.

What isn't clear is how soon a challenger will be identified.

"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: 2009 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Thu May 28, 2009 11:49 pm

Galarraga pitches well in losing effort
Tigers unable to get big hit vs. O's rookie Hernandez

By Pete Kerzel / Special to

05/28/09 9:50 PM ET
updated: 05/28/09 11:45 PM ET

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BALTIMORE -- A winless May will stretch into June for Tigers right-hander Armando Galarraga, but a hopeful outing in Thursday's 5-1 loss may hint of better things to come.

"I'm looking for a win, but I feel my confidence coming back," said Galarraga after dropping his fifth straight decision despite keeping the Tigers in the game.

Had the Tigers not left 10 runners on base -- four times leaving a man on third, including the potential tying run in the sixth and seventh innings -- or finished 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, the outcome may have been different.

Detroit, which lost for only the fourth time in 13 games, couldn't blame Galarraga, despite the solo homers he served up to Luke Scott and Nolan Reimold.

"We didn't do a very good job of executing tonight, defensively or offensively," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said, "and we paid for it. ... You can't do that and win games."

The Tigers couldn't figure out Orioles rookie David Hernandez early, but Galarraga (3-5) -- coming off an 0-4 May after opening the season 3-0 in his first four starts -- pitched better. It was his best outing since April 26, when he allowed a run on three hits over six innings in his third victory. Since then, Galarraga had given up five or more runs in four of five starts and gotten to the sixth inning only once.

"I thought his slider was better, with the exception of a couple [pitches]," Leyland said. "He threw the ball over the plate better. He gave us a chance to win, but he threw a couple of bad pitches and that's certainly excusable."

Galarraga agreed that his slider has started to come around, but bemoaned two pitches he made that were rocketed over the wall in hitter-friendly Camden Yards. Scott sent a decent sinker to center with two down in the second and Reimold crushed a slider into the left-field seats leading off the fifth, breaking a 1-1 tie for good.

"The first one, I think I made a good pitch," Galarraga said. "The second one, I give credit to [Reimold].

Whether Galarraga saved his spot in the rotation, however, remains to be seen. Right-hander Jeremy Bonderman, who has been out for the entire season with a circulatory problem, is close to returning and is pitching on a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Toledo. When he returns, Galarraga could be the odd man out.

When pressed about Galarraga's status, Leyland chased reporters out of his office.

"You guys are worried about Bonderman taking somebody's place," Leyland said. "I'm not going to talk about that. Galarraga pitched a great game, and I'm not getting into all of that."

The Tigers had Hernandez (1-0), who was making his Major League debut, on the ropes in the first and fifth innings. But all they could come away with was one run, a Clete Thomas RBI single that tied it at 1-1 in the fifth.

"You don't quit after the first inning, but it would have been nice to put a little something on [Hernandez]," Leyland lamented. "He was very good."

In the first, Detroit exploited Hernandez's jitters to load the bases with two outs, sandwiching walks to Thomas and Curtis Granderson around a Magglio Ordonez single. But Brandon Inge flew out to left to end the threat.

"Less than two outs, runner in scoring position, I need to get him in," said Miguel Cabrera, who fanned for the inning's second out. "We couldn't hit [Hernandez]."

In the fifth, Jeff Larish led off with a double and Gerald Laird walked before Ramon Santiago -- trying to bunt the runners up -- grounded into a fielder's choice with Larish out at third. Thomas followed with an RBI single up the middle, but Hernandez escaped the jam by getting Placido Polanco to foul out and Ordonez to sky to center.

Hernandez exited with runners on the corners and two outs in the sixth. Reliever Matt Albers loaded the bases by walking Laird, then caught Santiago looking at a third strike to end the inning. Hernandez allowed a run on five hits, walked four and struck out three.

"That's why I'm here -- to drive in runs," said Larish, who fouled out to third for the second out in the sixth. "I've got to come through in those situations. I didn't, and that's frustrating."

Equally maddening to Larish was wasting a good effort by Galarraga. After watching Galarraga struggle for a month, Larish wanted to reward a gutsy effort with a victory. Instead, the Orioles extended their winning streak to a season-high four games.

"He gave up hits, but that's all right if you shut them down," Larish said of Galarraga. "You can look at the hits allowed, but he pitched a good game tonight."

Scott hit a three-run homer off reliever Ryan Perry in the eighth for a 5-1 lead. The game was stopped briefly earlier in the inning after Perry lost a contact lens.

Pete Kerzel is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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PostSubject: Re: 2009 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sat May 30, 2009 12:21 am

Willis roughed up as Tigers fall to O's
Lefty yields seven runs over five frames; offense struggles

By Pete Kerzel / Special to

05/29/09 9:45 PM ET
updated: 05/29/09 11:20 PM ET

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BALTIMORE -- The Tigers' second successive defeat against a rookie Orioles pitcher boiled down to location, or lack thereof.

Dontrelle Willis didn't have it, and he paid for it. Baltimore slugger Luke Scott continued to manhandle his zone in the middle of the plate. And Camden Yards is fast turning into an unfriendly environment for the suddenly silent Tigers bats.

Willis' resurgence hit a roadblock Friday night in a 7-2 loss to the Orioles. The left-hander served up a pair of Scott homers, including a grand slam in a five-run third inning, and manager Jim Leyland watched his batters struggle against first-year right-hander Brad Bergesen.

"I think you don't know somebody and a lot of times they get ahead of us with strikes. You're not quite sure what to expect, and we swung at some balls," Leyland said. "When you take strikes and swing at balls, that usually spells disaster, and that's what happened to us."

Willis (1-2) had no trouble handling another rookie, Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters, in his Major League debut, inducing a double-play flyout in the second, a comebacker to the mound in the third and a grounder to third in the fifth. Wieters finished 0-for-4, but he made a positive impression on Leyland, particularly with his approach at the plate.

"[Wieters] looked comfortable at the plate," Leyland said. "Obviously, he didn't get any hits tonight, but he's a top-notch prospect and I'm sure he'll get acclimated. I'm sure he'll do well."

But the rest of the Baltimore lineup battered Willis for seven runs on 10 hits in five innings. The left-hander, making his fourth start since coming off the disabled list following treatment of an anxiety disorder, walked two and struck out one.

"Early, I didn't have really good rhythm," Willis said. "I started to feel good at the end, but the damage was done by that point. You have to continue to battle, continue to make good pitches. But all in all, I just didn't play a good game today."

That was especially evident in the third, when the Orioles took a 5-0 lead. While Willis had fought his command from the outset -- allowing five baserunners over the first two innings -- it was still a scoreless game when a harmless one-out infield single by Brian Roberts opened the floodgates.

Adam Jones' single sent Roberts to third, and Nick Markakis followed with an RBI single for a 1-0 Orioles lead. Jones advanced to third on Markakis' hit, but was erased at home on Aubrey Huff's fielder's-choice grounder to third baseman Brandon Inge. One out from escaping a jam for a third straight inning, Willis imploded.

Melvin Mora's single to right loaded the bases, and Scott slammed a 2-2 slider over the wall in right for a grand slam and a 5-0 lead.

"My rhythm was still off, but you've got to make good pitches," Willis said. "Like [Leyland] said, I didn't have my good stuff, but you still got to battle. It's just one pitch that got away and he hit the ball good. That's what happens. When you're feeling good, you find a way to get the guy out."

So far this series, Detroit pitchers have struggled to do that against Scott, who added a solo homer, his 10th of the season, off Willis in the fifth. In three games since coming off the 15-day disabled list with a shoulder injury, Scott has homered five times and driven in 12 runs. In the first two games of a four-game series, Scott has four homers and nine RBIs against Detroit pitching.

"He's hot, he's feeling comfortable," Willis said of Scott. "I've yet to find a way to make the guy feel uncomfortable."

Leyland sensed Willis was fighting himself from the get-go, but hoped the lefty could take corrective action.

"I wouldn't say [Willis'] command was great, but his control wasn't bad," Leyland said. "He just didn't have good stuff. They whacked some balls pretty hard. His stuff wasn't there; it wasn't [a control issue]. ... He left more pitches up over the middle of the plate that were hittable."

While the Orioles were hitting Willis hard, the Tigers had trouble manufacturing offense against Bergesen, the second successive night they were thwarted by a rookie pitcher. Bergesen (2-2) tossed eight-plus innings, allowing just seven hits, as Baltimore won a season-high fifth consecutive game.

Magglio Ordonez singled in the first to extend his hitting streak to 15 games, but Bergesen retired the next 12 Tigers in order before Clete Thomas lined a single up the middle with two down in the fifth.

"It's a little different when you haven't seen guys. But we don't make excuses. We just didn't do good," Leyland said. "I was impressed with [Bergesen]. ... Good stuff, not overpowering. Good stuff, good life. He just went right at us."

Bergesen lost his shutout in the seventh, when Ordonez singled, Miguel Cabrera doubled and Curtis Granderson hit a run-scoring single to left. Inge followed with a 6-4-3 double-play grounder, scoring Cabrera. Bergesen exited in the ninth after Placido Polanco hit a leadoff double, and Ordonez followed with his third hit of the night.

But Jim Johnson came on in relief and got the next three hitters.

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

Last edited by TigersForever on Sat May 30, 2009 8:32 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: 2009 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sat May 30, 2009 12:46 am

Friday, May 29, 2009
Orioles 7, Tigers 2
Great Scott! Orioles DH plasters Tigers again
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

Baltimore -- Unfortunately for the Tigers, it was a truth sandwich.

Between the two home runs Luke Scott hit Thursday night and the two he hit off Dontrelle Willis on Friday night, manager Jim Leyland said it best.

"We continue to throw the ball in an area he likes," Leyland remarked before the Orioles made it two in a row over the Tigers with a 7-2 victory.

If anything, it was an understatement.

The Tigers are throwing the ball in an area Scott likes a lot.

Consequently, he's hitting the ball in an area the Tigers don't like at all.

Out of the park.

Collecting home runs since he came off the disabled list (five in three games), Scott's grand slam off Willis in the third was the blow from which the Tigers could not recover -- as was his three-run shot off Ryan Perry in the series opener a night earlier.

Scott also has hit a couple of solo shots, including one off Willis in the fifth inning of this particular loss.

By now, you've probably deduced that Willis did not pitch one of his better games. That would be correct.

Willis waded out of trouble in the second inning, but back into it in the third -- not with control problems (he walked just two) but with inconsistent velocity on his fastball if the radar gun at Camden Yards is to be believed.

Yet it was a curveball that Scott hit over the wall in right for his grand slam, followed by a tip of his cap to the crowd chanting his name.

It was a big crowd, but not because Scott is a draw. After the Orioles announced earlier than a week that vaunted prospect Matt Wieters would be making his major league debut as the starting catcher in this game, ticket sales for this game rose 15,000.

With that boost, a crowd of 42,704 was on hand, watching Wieters go 0-for-4 but going away happy all the same because of Scott.

Willis lasted five innings after two good starts, allowing five runs on 10 hits. His counterpart, Brad Bergesen (2-2), wasn't the overpowering type by any means, but kept the Tigers scoreless until the seventh.

Curtis Granderson singled in the first run after a single-double combination from Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera. The second run scored on Brandon Inge's double-play grounder to short.

By the seventh, Ordonez already had stretched his hitting streak to 15 games with a first-inning single.

Unlike their series-opening loss that incensed Leyland because of the Tigers' lack of execution -- they stranded a runner at third three times with less than two outs -- they had no scoring chances in this game before their runs in the seventh.

The Orioles got their big inning started with a one-out infield single. Three of the next four hitters also singled, giving them a 1-0 lead.

Willis was one strike away from getting out of the inning with minimal damage when Scott connected on a 2-2 curve for his slam.

"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: 2009 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun May 31, 2009 12:32 am

Thomas powers Tigers past Orioles
Verlander wins sixth straight decision; Granderson also homers

By Pete Kerzel / Special to

05/30/09 10:00 PM ET
updated: 05/30/09 11:45 PM ET

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BALTIMORE -- Justin Verlander needed some backup on a night when he acknowledged throwing way too many fastballs to a team loaded with aggressive hitters because he couldn't command his curve. His savior was a guy not renowned for a power stroke who slugged two opposite-field solo homers to help the right-hander salvage a victory.

Clete Thomas homered twice and drove in three runs, Curtis Granderson connected on a solo shot and Verlander won his sixth straight decision, as the Tigers beat the Orioles, 6-3, on Saturday night.

"I don't think I've [homered twice] in professional ball. I've done it in amateur ball. [The power] is there. It's just a matter of getting it to show up. It showed up tonight," Thomas said.

Thomas' second solo shot, a leadoff blast to left-center off Matt Albers (0-2) in the seventh, negated a three-run Baltimore rally in the sixth and put the brakes on the Orioles' season-high five-game winning streak. After two nights of struggling against rookie Orioles pitchers, Detroit hitters found veteran Jeremy Guthrie's offerings more to their liking. Bases-empty homers off Guthrie by Granderson, leading off the second, and Thomas, with one down in the third, staked Verlander to a 2-0 lead.

"Not the way I would have drawn it up," Verlander said. "It wasn't easy out there for me tonight, but my guys picked me up. I gave [Thomas] a big, hard high-five. Obviously, that was the pivotal point in the game. It was huge for us. We were able to take the lead and able to hold on to it. I was just as excited as he was, I think."

Neither Verlander nor manager Jim Leyland seemed surprised by the power display from Thomas, who has three homers in 80 at-bats this season after going deep once in 116 at-bats as a rookie last year. Leyland praised Thomas' approach of going with the pitches and just trying to drive them.

"You can watch him in batting practice, and he's got a lot of pop," Verlander said. "He just doesn't show it in games yet. Tonight he showed it in a big way, and we really needed it. That's the story of this team, I think. It's not a singular effort, night in and night out. It's a group thing and you never know who the hero's going to be."

"In batting practice, he hits them as far as anybody and as hard. It's a matter of time, playing and more experience," Leyland added. "He'll hit some home runs as long as he's not trying to -- and you know he's not trying to because he hit them both to the opposite field. ... As long as he doesn't start getting home run conscious, he'll be fine."

The three clouts helped Verlander (6-2) prevail after running into trouble in the fifth and sixth innings. The right-hander allowed three runs on nine hits, walked one and struck out five.

Verlander allowed Matt Wieters' first Major League hit, a leadoff triple off the wall in center in the fifth, and Nolan Reimold followed with an RBI single. But after loading the bases, Verlander coaxed Adam Jones to bounce into a 1-2-3 double play and then struck out Nick Markakis on three pitches, the final one a 101-mph fastball.

"I put a little extra on it. I gave that pitch everything I had," Verlander said.

In the sixth, Verlander allowed a game-tying two-run homer by Luke Scott, his fifth blast of the series. Leyland has spent two days lamenting the fact that his pitchers keep putting pitches where Scott can drive them. He said it won't happen again Sunday, in the finale of the four-game series, if Scott comes up in an RBI situation with first base open.

"I won't pitch to him with an open base tomorrow, I can promise you that. I've seen enough. If a guy behind him does it, so be it," Leyland said.

Scott worked Verlander for a nine-pitch at-bat before crushing his 11th homer to right field. Wieters followed with a similar patient approach -- he doubled to center on the 10th pitch of the at-bat. But Wieters was stranded at third when Reimold grounded out to third and Cesar Izturis struck out.

"I was giving them an opportunity to key on one pitch. At this level, it doesn't matter how hard somebody's throwing. If you feed a bunch of fastballs in a row, eventually they're going to catch up to it," Verlander said. "That's what I did to [Scott and Wieters], put them in situations where they knew a fastball was coming and I knew a fastball was coming."

After Thomas put the Tigers back on top, Leyland used three relievers to get through the seventh inning, with Joel Zumaya getting Melvin Mora swinging with runners on second and third to end the threat.

Detroit got some insurance in the eighth when Orioles shortstop Izturis booted pinch-hitter Gerald Laird's grounder to score one run and Thomas doubled in another for a 6-3 cushion after botching a suicide squeeze. Fernando Rodney followed 1 1/3 flawless innings by Zumaya, working the ninth for his ninth save.

Guthrie matched a career high with 10 strikeouts, but exited after six innings with the game knotted at 3. He allowed three runs on seven hits and walked one.

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