DETROIT – Dan Haren has been unstoppable in day starts as he heads into the only AL ballpark he has pitched in and never won.
He’ll try for his first win at Comerica Park on Saturday when the Los Angeles Angels and Detroit Tigers continue a four-game set.
Haren (10-6, 3.01 ERA) is 5-0 with a 1.65 ERA in nine day outings. That’s in direct contrast to his 0-3 mark and 6.41 ERA in three career starts at Comerica.
The right-hander has won at every other AL ballpark except the current Yankee Stadium, where he has yet to start.
Haren outdueled Justin Verlander by striking out nine in a two-hitter for his fourth career shutout in a 1-0 win over the Tigers on July 5 in Anaheim.
That outing was somewhat similar to his effort Monday. Haren matched a season high with 10 strikeouts and yielded one run over 7 2-3 innings before the bullpen blew his chance at an 11th victory in the Angels’ 3-2 loss at Cleveland.
Haren believes the back problems that plagued him when he surrendered 11 runs over 10 2-3 innings over his two outings before Monday have been resolved.
“It has been a little stiff the last two weeks,” Haren told the Angels’ official website. “I worked hard between starts to get the stiffness out, and today I got more extension with my pitches.”
Los Angeles (58-49) has received poor efforts from its starters to split the first two games of this series. Joel Pineiro gave up six runs over 3 1-3 innings in Thursday’s 12-7 victory while Tyler Chatwood allowed six in 5 1-3 in Friday’s 12-2 loss.
Detroit (56-50) had 15 hits Friday. Victor Martinez and Carlos Guillen each finished with four RBIs.
“Victor goes out there every day and shows you why he is a professional hitter – he’s never afraid to just take a base hit when that’s what there for him,” manager Jim Leyland said. “Carlos lets us stretch our lineup with another professional hitter, and also a switch-hitter. We had four switch-hitters out there tonight – that’s not something you see from the Tigers.”
Martinez is 9 for 21 against Haren while Guillen has three hits in 15 at-bats.
Detroit has 28 hits in this series. Brennan Boesch is 4 for 7 with three RBIs.
“That’s as good an offense as we’ve seen,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
The Angels were limited to five hits Friday after six starters had multihit efforts as part of a 17-hit attack in the series opener. The bottom third of their lineup went 1 for 9 after combining to go 7 for 14 with seven RBIs on Thursday.
Duane Below (0-1, 4.66) will make his third major league start for the Tigers. The left-hander, recalled from Triple-A Toledo on July 20, gave up four runs over 4 2-3 innings Monday in a 6-3 road loss to the White Sox for his first career decision.
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