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Porcello Outduels Vazquez as Tigers Blank Yanks

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New York 0, Detroit 2 (box)

Both Rick Porcello and Javier Vazquez have struggled this season. In fact, Porcello’s 7.50 ERA coming into play today was the best of the two. So naturally, with two struggling pitchers and two powerful lineups, the Yankees and Tigers game today became a classic pitcher’s duel.

For Vazquez, who hadn’t survived the sixth inning in any one of his starts this year, this was a redemption. Skipped over in his last turn, Vazquez allowed just an infield hit through the first four innings today, and didn’t issue a walk until back-to-back free passes to the seven and eighth hitters with two outs in the fifth.

But the Tigers put together consecutive singles to start the sixth, scoring a run on a fielder’s choice ground ball from Magglio Ordonez. After another hit, Brennan Boesch gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead with an RBI single of his own.

Rick Porcello did the rest.

In not one of his six starts this year had Porcello allowed fewer hits than innings pitched. In each of his last four games he had allowed at least five runs. Today however, Porcello more closely resembled the kind of pitcher he was last year when he won 14 games as a 20 year old rookie.

Porcello ran into a bit of a snag in the second, suddenly losing command and facing a bases loaded situation, but he managed to wiggle off the hook and breezed from there. For the game, 15 of the 21 outs he recorded were on ground balls, including the last eight in a row.

For a team whose bullpen was so beaten up that they had added an extra arm this morning, this was the kind of effort the Tigers had needed for some time. That it comes from Porcello, who had been such a disappointment this year, is all the better.

So the Tigers have taken the first two games of this series from the Yankees with another coming tonight before the series wraps up tomorrow afternoon. Don’t look now, but Detroit has the best home record in the American League at 11-3.

Cheers and Jeers after the jump.

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Cheers for

  • Rick Porcello– Did I mention that it took only 90 pitches for Porcello to work seven full innings? This was the kind of game that the Yankees usually find a way to win. Today, just like Monday, the Tigers were the team that showed more mettle.
  • Jose Valverde– Papa Grande has saved both games versus the Yankees so far, and did so again in strong fashion, despite a two-out walk. This guy is flat-out fun to watch. Remember when everyone was all up-in-arms about losing a draft pick to sign him? Seems worth it to me.
  • Brennan Boesch– I still think he’s headed south when Guillen returns, but Jason Beck thinks that’s further away than anticipated. Boesch drove in his 15th run already this year, and that is in 50 at bats.

Jeers for

  • Brandon Inge– Inge dropped a pop up in fould ground with one out in the fourth. On the next pitch, Jorge Posada lined a double into the gap. Posada didn’t score (obviously), but Inge’s error could have proven costly in a scoreless game at the time. Couple that with yet another 0 for 3 and Inge is clearly struggling.

What’s on tap?

The Tigers will look to Jeremy Bonderman as they try to secure a series win tonight in game two of this double header. New York’s Phil Hughes will counter. Hughes (4-0, 1.69) has been fantastic this year and has pitched well against the Tigers in the past, so winning tonight may prove a tall order.

Bonderman (1-1, 5.74) hasn’t faced the Yankees since allowing five runs in four innings on May 10, 2008. For his career, Bondo has faced the Yankees 12 times and has a 3-7 record.