Rick Porcello Secures Series Win for Tigers


Chicago 3, Detroit 6 (box)

The Tigers dropped the first game of their four-game series with the visiting White Sox back on Monday. After winning the next two, Detroit turned to Rick Porcello to finish off the series. He didn’t disappoint.

The Tigers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first thanks to a lead-off walk to Austin Jackson. Singles by Will Rhymes and Johnny Damon brought Jackson home and Rhymes scored on a double play by Ryan Raburn.

Detroit tacked on two more in the third when again, the first two batters of the inning reach base. Another Raburn groundout resulted in a run and Jhonny Peralta singled home Damon to put Detroit up 4-0.

Porcello, meanwhile, sat down the first 10 batters of the ballgame, just as Jeremy Bonderman had done last night. It was the 11th batter, Omar Vizquel, who again got things going for Chicago this afternoon. Instead of a home run, Vizquel singled off Porcello and the next batter, Alex Rios, provided the long ball, cutting the lead to 4-2.

The Tigers would answer in their half of the fourth when three consecutive two-out singles plated another run. The last two of those three hits were of the infield variety. Porcello remained in control of the game, if not his pitches, into the seventh when Paul Kornerko singled to start the frame. He moved to second on a wild pitch, and eventually scored the final White Sox run on another wild pitch.

With a three-run cushion entering the ninth, thanks to a sacrifice fly by Peralta, and Porcello at 105 pitches, Jim Leyland turned to the bullpen for the save. Instead of Jose Valverde, who was apparently unavailable with some tenderness around his elbow, Leyland called upon Ryan Perry.

Perry, whom Jason beck referred to as the Platypus (apparently a Phineas and Ferb reference, I don’t know, my kids don’t watch that show), worked around a lead-off walk to pick up the successful save, the second of his career.

You know, if it weren’t for his long history of owning the Tigers, and the fact that he pitches for the White Sox, you’d almost have to feel a bit bad for Gavin Floyd. Tigers hitters touched him up for six runs on 13 hits over six plus innings, but all of those hits were singles and more than a couple of those singles never left the infield. Still, they all look like line drives in the box score, so screw it.

Apart from his lead-off walk, Jackson did almost literally nothing in this game, taking an 0-for-4 that included the Golden Sombrero with four punch outs. The next three in the order did most of the damage for Detroit as Rhymes, Damon, and Raburn combined to go 9-for-12 including a four-hit game by Damon.

The Tigers win pushes Chicago to six games behind the Twins with just 22 games left to play. If the Tigers can’t get to the playoffs, it’s nice to be able to dampen the chances of the White Sox instead.

Once again, as it has been for nearly a month, the Tigers starting pitching was the story. Porcello worked eight and allowed just four hits and three runs. He didn’t issue a walk and he struck out three. The win puts the Tigers back above .500 for the first time since July 31.

I know it does no good to look back and say “what if”, but imagine where the Tigers might be right now had Porcello and Scherzer pitched in April and May the way they have since August. Imagine in Armando Galarraga hadn’t been stuck in Toledo while the Tigers gave two months worth of starts to Dontrelle Willis. Let’s hope the end of the 2010 season serves as a launching pad for 2011.