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Posted on: 05-05-2009

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>>caption:  THOMAS' TRIPLE WAS


    Rookie Rick Porcello had lots
of help as he mowed down the
Minnesota Twins in a 9-0 Tuesday
night decision.
    Porcello earned the first home victory (2-3) of his month-long MLB career.
    The Detroit win gave the Tigers a 2-game split in their short series vs
Minnesota and a 4-4 split on the just-concluded homestand.
    A line-up shake-up by Tiger MGR Jim Leyland contributed to waking-up
the Detroit offense. Part-time rookie OF Josh Anderson was inserted into
the lead-off spot, usual lead-off man Curtis Granderson was dropped to
the #5 hole, minor league call-up Clete Thomas was inserted into the third
spot in the order and Magglio Ordonez was dropped from #3 to sixth position
for the first time since 1998. All except Maggs (0-for-4 produced).
    Just up from Toledo, Thomas fell a homer shy of the cycle in going
3-for-4 plus a walk. Clean-up man Miguel Cabrera drove in four runs in a
3-for-4 effort that included a massive 440-foot 2rHR (#7) Miggy also just
missed the cycle lacking a triple to turn the trick. Granderson homered (#9)
back-to-back with Cabrera in a 3-R/B-4th that chased Minny starter Nick
Blackburn (L, 2-2).
    Porcello had great command of his fastball, changeup and breaking ball
to allow just 4-H & 3-W with 3-K in his seven shutout innings. Porcello's
sinker induced a trio of double plays, all started by SStop Ramon Santiago in
6-4-3 fashion. Two of Porcello's K's came in the opening inning as the Tiger
RHander set the tone. Porcello tired in his final frame, giving up 2-H & 2-W
when Minnesota loaded the baees with 2-out. Porcello threw 52 of his
87-pitches for strikes.
    The Twins also loaded the bases with 2-out in the T-8th off first Detroit
reliever Nate Robertson without benefit of a basehit on a Santiago throwing
error and a pair of walks. Juan Rincon pitched the T-9th, allowing only a 2-out
single before striking-out Delmon Young to end the ballgame.
    Cabrera's RBI-G'out, initially bobbled by Twins 3Bman Joe Crede, put Detroit
on top to stay 1-0/B-1st. The play foretold the evening for the usually slick-
feeling Twins, who made three errors and two more mis-plays.
    Two of the Twin E's came in a 5-R/B-2nd for Detroit where three of the runs
were unearned. Santiago had an RBI-2B to the RField corner, Anderson an RBI-1B,
Thomas a 2r3B that Minnesota RFielder Michael Cuddyer dove for and missed and
Cabrera added an RBI-1B to plate Thomas.
    Thomas, who doubled in the B-1st to set up Detroit's first run, singled in the
B-4th and scored on Cabrera's blast which hit the facing of the LField upper bowl.
Granderson followed with his 364-foot solo shot to the front row of the RField seats
which went right through the hands of a fan poised to make the souvenir catch.
    Thomas' first chance for the cycle came in the B-6th off first Twins reliever R.A.
Dickey, but Thomas grounded-out to 2Base. Thomas's second shot at history was
in the B-8th when he walked on a 3-2 pitch from fourth Minnesota hurler Craig Breslow.
    Cabrera's two-bagger in the B-6th gave him a chance at the cycle too. However,
after consulting with Cabrera, Leyland chose to lift Miggy in the B-8th for just recalled
pinch-hitter Jeff Larish (who promptly struck-out).
    Anderson went 2-for-5 to compliment Thomas' and Cabrera's 3-for-4 performances.
    Minnesota DH Jason Kubel went 3-for-3, all singles, for most of Minnesota's hits.
    The third shutout of the young season by the Tiger pitching staff marked the third
time this year the Twins batters have been blanked.

      MINN     0-5-3, 8-LOB      (L) Blackburn, 2-2
      DET       9-11-1, 8-LOB     (W) Porcello, 2-3  


TIGERS MGR JIM LEYLAND:   "(Porcello) threw strikes with his sinker. 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...This is a nice little (offensive) change, and probably
came at the right time. But this is one night. I'm not going to get too excited."    

TIGERS SP RICK PORCELLO:   "It makes it a lot easier (to pitch with a big lead), when
you can go after guys with fastballs and not worry about pitching around them or
giving up a run."

TIGERS RF CLETE THOMAS:   "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...It's awesome."

TWINS 2B ALEXI CASILLA:   "(Porcello) was really tough to pick up. He was hitting both
corners, and we didn't know where he was going to put the ball."
TWINS MGR RON GARDENHIRE:   "We played terribly behind Blackie. But he's still got to
go out there and pitch and get through the innings...You come out like that, and you
wonder if you even prepared for the game. To play as good as we did (Monday) and as
bad as we did tonight -- that's not what you are looking for. You need some consistency.
This wasn't acceptable. This is not the way we play baseball."


    The Tigers announced a pair of roster moves before the game, optioning LHP Clay Rapada
to the 3A Toledo Mud Hens and placing LF Carlos Guillen on the 15-day DL with right shoulder
inflammation. Recalled from Toledo were Larish and Thomas. Larish had opened the season
with Detroit and hit .368 (7x19) with 2-2B, 2-HR & 5-RBI in five games with Toledo after being
sent down just last week. Thomas saw action for both the Tigers and Mud Hens in 2008. Rapada
allowed 2-R in 2-GP & 2.1-IP after he took Larish's spot on the Detroit roster on APR 28TH.
    Thomas not only took Ordonez' third spot in the batting order, but also his place in RF.
With Guillen hurt, Ordonez served as Detroit's DH.
    Cabrera's 3-for-4 game gave him the MLB lead with a .406-BA. Granderson's 9th homer tied
him for second in the majors behind former Tiger Carlos Pena of Tampa Bay, who has 11.
    Cabrera's 9-game hitting streak includes a 14-for-31 (.452-BA) surge.
    Poecello's 7-IP matched his big league high.
    Tiger pitching held Minnesota's M&M Boys, Joe Mauer & Justin Morneau, to a combined
1-for-13 in the series. Both were pinch-hit for in the T-7th with Detroit ahead 9-Zip. Their
replacements Mike Redmond & Brian Buscher each went 0-for-1 plus a walk each. That made
Minnesota's 3-4 hitters 1-for-15 in the series.
    Blackburn gave up a career-high 9-R in his 3.1-IP.
    The Tigers open an 8-game road trip with another 2-game series at Chicago Wednesday
night. Detroit probables in the South Side set are Armando Galarraga (3-1) and Zach Miner
(2-1). The White Sox have listed Mark Buehrle (4-0) and Jose Contreras (0-4) as their
projected starters.   



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