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Winners: Porcello, new lineup


Winners: Porcello, new lineup
DETROIT -- The Detroit Tigers needed a laugher.

They got one.

A new-look lineup that erupted for 11 hits and an impressive outing by rookie pitcher Rick Porcello carried the Detroit Tigers to a 9-0 win Tuesday night against the Minnesota Twins.

The Tigers have been inconsistent at the plate throughout the season, and that trend continued Monday when Detroit got just four hits in a loss to the Twins.

But Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who made several changes to the batting order Tuesday, said Porcello's performance was the real story.

"That was the key to the game," Leyland said. "We got some offense, obviously, but the key was the pitching. Porcello pitched very well."

With the win well in hand, the only question in the late innings was whether Clete Thomas or Miguel Cabrera would hit for the cycle.

Thomas swung for the seats.

Cabrera took one.

"I said, 'You're not going to hit a triple, are you?' " Leyland said, recalling his conversation with Cabrera before replacing him with a pinch hitter. "He said, 'No.' I said, 'OK.' "

Thomas took massive swings in his final at-bat but settled for a walk to go with a single, double, triple, two RBIs and two runs scored.

Thomas, who caught a flight from Providence, R.I., early Tuesday after being called up from Toledo, was surprised to see himself batting third in the lineup.

"I just kind of laughed," Thomas said. "Me in the three spot in this lineup with all these guys? It's great. It shows (Leyland) has a lot of confidence in me. It felt good."

The addition of Thomas, who had never hit third in the majors before, was far from the only change in the lineup. A few of the highlights:

-- Josh Anderson led off and started in left field in place of Carlos Guillen, who was placed on the disabled list. Anderson had two hits and scored a run.

-- Curtis Granderson moved from first to fifth in the order. He homered in the fourth inning.

-- Magglio Ordonez, the designated hitter, was dropped from third to sixth in the batting order. Ordonez, hitting lower than fifth in the lineup for the first time since the 1998 season, he went 0-for-4 with four groundouts.

Only three Tigers -- Cabrera, Placido Polanco and Brandon Inge -- played the same positions and batted in the same spots in the order Tuesday as they did Monday.

"This was a nice little change for us," Leyland said. "It probably came at the right time. A little fresh. A little bit new. Everybody eager.

"I liked the way it looked."

The wholesale changes to the lineup could not overshadow an impressive start by Porcello. He allowed four hits and walked three while striking out three in seven innings.

Porcello (2-3) kept the ball down in the strike zone throughout the game. Of the 21 outs he recorded, four were on fly balls. Fourteen outs came on ground balls, including three double plays.

"He threw strikes with his sinker," Leyland said. "He got a couple double-play balls and kept the ball on the ground pretty good. He kept the ball out of the air all night."

The Tigers scored nine runs in the first four innings, which took a bit of pressure off Porcello.

"You never really change your game plan," Porcello said, "but it makes it a little bit easier to go after guys with fastballs and just attack them and not have to worry about pitching around a guy or giving up a run."

The Tigers scored a run in the first, five in the second and three in the fourth. The big hit in the second was a two-run triple by Thomas, while all three runs in the fourth came on back-to-back home runs by Cabrera and Granderson.

Cabrera's shot traveled halfway up the seats well over the wall in left field and was estimated at 440 feet. He also had a single and a double with four RBIs.

Cabrera has a nine-game hitting streak and has batted .452 (14-for-31) during that stretch.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 7, 2009

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