–RHP Rick Porcello became Detroit’s third 10-game winner with six innings of two-run ball. Porcello moved his fastball around, mixed in some changeups against the lefty laden Minnesota lineup and got a double play to get out of a first-inning jam. “Porcello made pretty good pitches when he needed,” manager Jim Leyland said. “He still needs to get ahead a little better. (He gave up a) four-pitch walk to (1B Michael) Cuddyer and you can’t do that. He got the ground ball double play when he needed it. He threw some pretty good changeups.” The walk to Cuddyer led to both of Minnesota’s runs in the fourth. Porcello is the first Detroit pitcher to open his career with at least 10 victories in his first three seasons since Bernie Boland in 1915-17. Boland won 10 games or more his first five seasons, then pitched just 12 more times before his career was over.
–SS Jhonny Peralta got an RBI single in the third that drove in the first of three runs the Tigers got in the inning. He had eight RBI in the four-game series. His bloop hit in the third produced his 59th RBI of the season.
–3B Wilson Betemit drove in his first run with Detroit. Betemit grounded a 2-2 pitch to right for a single with the bases loaded in the third. He has started three games for the Tigers since being obtained in a trade with Kansas City and has one hit in each of them. “He’s struggled a little bit but he got a huge hit there,” manager Jim Leyland said.
–RHP Chance Ruffin was called up by Detroit after the Tigers defeated the Minnesota Twins. Ruffin takes the spot of RHP Lester Oliveros, optioned to Class AAA Toledo. “I know nothing about him,” manager Jim Leyland said. “He’s tough, he’s good and he’s from Texas.” Ruffin, 22, was taken 48th overall in the 2010 draft as the second of two supplemental round choices Detroit had. He began this season with Erie but was recently promoted to Toledo, where he saved seven games in eight appearances with a 2.00 ERA. Ruffin had 10 saves with a 3-3 record and 2.12 ERA in 31 games for Erie.
–RHP Al Alburquerque gave up a hit but had two strikeouts in holding Minnesota scoreless in the seventh. In five games since coming off the disabled list Alburquerque has not allowed a run but has struck out six. He’s been scored on just four times in 31 games this season. His slider remains his signature pitch but his fastball has reached 99 mph this season.
–RHP Joaquin Benoit recovered from a blown save in his last outing to work a perfect eighth inning in helping Detroit win three of four from Minnesota. Benoit protected a 5-2 lead. Since May 16 when he allowed three runs, Benoit has allowed just four runs in 26 appearances. He’s spotting his fastball much better and is getting some fade on it on occasion.
–RHP Jose Valverde made it 26-for-26 in saves with a four-batter ninth. Valverde continues to rely mostly on his fastball but says he’s cutting the ball and using both two-seam and four-seam fastballs now. Batters were laying off his split-finger in the second half of last season, he felt, and this is giving them more to think about.
–C Alex Avila got a game off against a left-handed starter but figures to be starting Monday against Chicago LHP Mark Buehrle. Two of three pitchers the White Sox throw at the Tigers are lefties but Avila caught Detroit’s recent series with Chicago and figures to catch all the games in this one as well. He has not hit well in July (.160, no home runs, no RBI) but manager Jim Leyland does not see that as cause for concern. “He’s hit some balls good that he doesn’t have a lot to show for, and he’s probably a little tired,” Leyland said. “I don’t think he’s struggling; he’s doing just fine.”
BY THE NUMBERS
.335 — Batting average by left-handed hitters against RHP Rick Porcello entering his start at Minnesota. The Twins sent six left-handed or switch-hitting batters at Porcello and he held them to 3-for-16 in winning his 10th game of the season.
QUOTE TO NOTE
“I know nothing about him. He’s tough, he’s good and he’s from Texas.” — Manager Jim Leyland in announcing the call-up of RHP Chance Ruffin, the second player Detroit took in the compensation round of the 2010 draft and the 48th overall selection. His father, Bruce, pitched in the majors.
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