Tigers 7, Braves 4 (box score)
Last time out, Rick Porcello faced a disastrous sequence of events. He nine runs scored in the first inning and he was removed from the game before he could record even three outs. Saturday, however, he performed like the pitcher we hoped he could be.
The final line isn’t overly fantastic: three runs in 6.1 innings (a 4.26 game ERA), but his peripherals were pretty good: five strikeouts, two walks, and no home runs. Porcello isn’t — and probably never will be — a swing-and-miss guy, but he was able to mix his offerings enough on this afternoon to generate some whiffs and freeze some hitters for called third strikes. It was a good bounce-back outing for a guy that many fans — and probably some members of Tigers management — were questioning.
For the second straight day, the Tigers’ bats jumped all over a Braves’ starting pitcher. Today it was Kris Medlen that got hit around. He allowed five Detroit runs on ten hits (including two home runs) in his 5.1 innigns. After working a scoreless first, Detroit got on the board for two in the second. A Victor Martinez single and Jhonny Peralta home run made it 2-0 Tigers.
Atlanta got three of their runs in the top of the third. Two walks and three singles plated the runs to put Atlanta ahead 3-2. But the Tigers roared right back and immediately tied the game when Austin Jackson scored on an infield, um, hit I guess we’re calling it, off the bat of Miguel Cabrera.
Omar Infante blasted a two-out, two-run homer the very next inning to put Detroit on top for good. Two more insurance runs were added in the eighth.
Joaquin Benoit allowed a solo home run in the eighth inning, so Jose Valverde‘s appearance in the ninth was a save opportunity. After inducing a flyout off the bat of Evan Gattis to lead off the inning, Papa Grande fanned B.J. Upton and Juan Francisco on back-to-back swinging strikeouts to end the game. Valverde’s outing was, well, quite good and stress free. He threw 14 pitches, 12 of which went for strikes. He now has two saves in two appearances with an ERA of 0.00 in 2.0 innings. Just how they drew it up.