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Tigers are well armed


Tigers are well armed
CLEVELAND -- Progressive Field has been a Baseball version of "Masterpiece Theatre" in the first two games between the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians.

Tigers starter Edwin Jackson and Fausto Carmona of the Indians hooked up in another pitching duel Saturday night, one evening after Detroit's Justin Verlander beat Cliff Lee in a game that had only one run.

Carmona and Jackson matched each other with six scoreless innings, but the Tigers and Jackson came out on top, 4-0, for the team's second consecutive shutout. Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney each had a scoreless inning in relief to finish it off.

Detroit's last back-to-back shutouts came in 2006 against the Houston Astros.

"Jackson went after them and had tremendous stuff," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said.

Jackson allowed five hits and one walk over seven scoreless innings. He has allowed 11 walks over 45 innings, a significant improvement over previous seasons. It's nearly half as many fewer free passes as he allowed per inning last season, when he was 14-11 for the Tampa Bay Rays.

How much has good control meant to the success of Jackson (2-2), whose 2.60 ERA is fourth in the American League?

"That's all of it," Leyland said. "He's got a great arm, but he pounds the strike zone with a nasty curve and had a good change-up."

Carmona, just as nasty as Jackson, lost because he walked six Tigers .

Detroit took advantage of Carmona walking the first two batters in the seventh, Curtis Granderson and Jeff Larish, to score twice and take the lead.

Brandon Inge laid down a sacrifice bunt to put both into scoring position with one out, and Gerald Laird did his job by scoring Granderson with a grounder to short.

Laird is in a 1-for-29 slump, but found a way to help.

"I know I've been struggling," Laird said, "but you have to continue to grind it out and bear down. I was able to muscle it to short to score a run."

Ramon Santiago singled to make it 2-0.

That actually gave Jackson more run support than he usually gets from his new Detroit teammates. He entered the game with 1.89 runs per nine innings pitched for the worst support of any American League pitcher.

Leyland talked prior to the game about the odd phenomenon of non-support occasionally following talented pitchers. Lee, for example, is 1-5 with a 3.45 ERA for Cleveland.

"With a good pitcher going, psychologically do you think, 'We don't have to score as much tonight?' I've thought about that."

Jackson opened the seventh by walking Shin-Soo Choo, who reached base three times and also doubled and singled. Then Mark DeRosa singled to put runners on first and second.

He found himself in the same predicament Carmona had in the top half of the inning, but wiggled out of it.

Designated hitter David Dellucci came up with two on and nobody out, and had the at-bat that changed the whole inning.

He popped up his first bunt attempt, on which catcher Laird nearly made a spectacular diving catch. Then he bunted foul to draw boos from many of the 33,640 fans. Dellucci eventually slapped a ball the other way right at third baseman Inge, who caught it and fired to double off Choo at second.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 12, 2009

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