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Good impression doesn't satisfy Porcello


Good impression doesn't satisfy Porcello
TORONTO - Rick Porcello lost his first major league start for the Detroit Tigers but didn't lose

his poise.

Solo home runs by Aaron Hill and Adam Lind tied the score and put the Toronto Blue Jays

ahead. But, with men on base, Porcello was focused and effective.

"First and foremost, I had a loss," said Porcello, 20, who allowed four earned runs in five-plus

innings of a 6-2 loss on Thursday.

He said he learned that it's not enough to have sharp focus on most pitches, adding, "You have

to be locked in on every pitch."

Detroit got him a 2-0 lead but couldn't add to it.

"We just didn't do much with the bats," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He wasn't the story

one way or another.

"For his first outing, he looked good. Overall, he did very well. He's got some work to do, but that

is something to work with."

Blue Jays center fielder Vernon Wells batted .364 in the first three games of the series. Porcello

got him to ground out, pop up and strike out swinging.

"He's got a lot of action on his fastball," Wells said. "That was moving a lot faster than the gun

said."

The Rogers Centre radar gun showed him between 92 and 94 mph.

"He kept his composure," Wells continued, "and made some mistakes where we were able to

put the barrel of the bat on the ball. But to be at this level at that age you need great maturity. I

think he's going to be OK."

Tigers catcher Matt Treanor said, "He did not have his best stuff, but he competed. He struggled

with his off-speed stuff, and that was why he was so successful in the spring. That kept them

off his fastball, and shows you just how good his fastball was (Thursday). And he focused real

well."

With two on and two out in the second and fourth innings, Porcello showed that ability to pick it

up a notch. He got ahead 0-2 to Michael Barrett in the second before striking him out with one of

his best curves and got ahead of Travis Snider 1-2 before striking him out swinging on a nasty

sinker.

"You tend to really zone in then," Porcello said. "The pressure is on you, and a hit can score

two. You have to focus on keeping the ball down."

Hill hit a fastball that caught too much of the plate and Lind, a left-handed hitter, nailed a hanging

curve.

"I have to get over my changeup to get left-handed hitters out," Porcello said. "I was throwing

them in the dirt, and they are not going to swing at them like the guys did in A-ball."

Porcello's last team was the Class A Lakeland Tigers, and he skipped Double-A and Triple-A,

which is something none of the 15 starters on the 2008 All-Star Game roster did.

Toronto had Ricky Romero on the mound in the first matchup of former first-round picks pitching

their debut games, and he got the win by allowing just two runs on seven hits in six innings.

Granderson broke up the shutout with a two-out solo homer in the third, and Marcus Thames

followed with his first triple in three years. Magglio Ordonez scored him with a single. Detroit

loaded the bases, but third baseman Jose Bautista made a diving stop in the hole to throw out

Brandon Inge by a step.

"We had a full count, everybody's running, and it's 4-0 if that gets through," Leyland said. "Who

knows what happens then. It was the play of the game."

Still, Porcello had the lead until Hill's homer in the fifth tied it. Lind led off the sixth with the go-

ahead homer.

"As soon as you let it go," Porcello said of the pitch to Lind, "you know you want it back. I was

just praying for him not to swing."


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 11, 2009

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