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Tampa Bay at Detroit

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Tampa Bay (3-1)001000100280
Detroit (4-0) «00100013x580

Tigers foil Rays, now AL's lone unbeaten

CBSSports.com wire reports
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DETROIT -- Now in his fourth season, Rick Porcello has a lot of experience for a 23-year-old.

Detroit hopes he's finally ready to become one of the game's elite pitchers.

Porcello threw seven solid innings on a snowy afternoon at Comerica Park, and Detroit's powerful offense finally broke through in the eighth Tuesday to give the Tigers a 5-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. Miguel Cabrera doubled and scored on Prince Fielder's single, part of a decisive three-run rally.

Porcello allowed two runs and seven hits, working at a comfortable pace in the chilly weather.

"I don't think I even realized how fast I was going," Porcello said. "I was throwing strikes and I guess wanted to keep that going."

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After Fielder's tiebreaking single, a light snow shower passed briefly over Comerica Park. Jhonny Peralta added a sacrifice fly and Gerald Laird followed with an RBI single for a three-run lead.

Phil Coke (1-0) pitched the eighth in relief of Porcello, and Jose Valverde finished for his first save of the season. Valverde blew a save chance for the first time since 2010 in Thursday's opener against Boston.

Austin Jackson homered for Detroit, the AL's last unbeaten team after handing the Rays their first defeat.

Porcello struck out four and walked one in a game that began amid snow flurries with the temperature in the 40s. Although the Tigers scored 26 runs in a three-game sweep of Boston, their starting pitching was already becoming a concern. Doug Fister went on the disabled list with a left side strain, and Max Scherzer couldn't make it out of the third inning in his start Sunday.

Porcello went 14-9 as a rookie in 2009, but he posted ERAs of 4.92 and 4.75 the last two years. On Tuesday, he settled into a nice rhythm in an encouraging effort.

"He commanded the fastball on both sides of the plate and when he does that, he pitches like he did today," said Laird, Detroit's catcher. "Running sinkers in on them and then sinkers away, they didn't know what to look for. Throwing his offspeed pitches off that, I definitely think it's a great building point for him."

Tampa Bay's Matt Moore allowed two runs and four hits in 6 2/3 innings. He walked five -- one intentionally -- and struck out four in his second career regular-season start. The 22-year-old also started a playoff game last year, not long after making his debut.

The Rays intentionally walked Cabrera in the fifth to load the bases for Fielder, and the move worked when he lifted a routine fly to left that ended the inning. With first base open in the eighth, Tampa Bay chose to pitch to Fielder. He singled up the middle off Jake McGee (0-1), and Cabrera lumbered around to score for a 3-2 lead.

"I liked the lefty-lefty matchup with Prince," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "Prince hit the ball in the perfect spot."

Tampa Bay had gone ahead 2-1 in the seventh on an RBI infield single by Desmond Jennings, but Jackson homered in the bottom half off Moore.

Detroit has won its first four games -- three in its final at-bat. The Rays lost for the first time after a three-game sweep of the New York Yankees. It was their first regular-season loss in nine games. They won their last five of 2011 to snatch a surprising playoff berth.

Tampa Bay opened the scoring in the third when Evan Longoria drew a bases-loaded walk. Detroit tied it in the bottom half when Moore's wild pitch enabled Jackson to score.

"I choked on a changeup and bounced it," Moore said. "That was just an awful pitch."

Notes

  • Tampa Bay OF Luke Scott missed the game and is day to day with a tight left hamstring.
  • Tigers manager Jim Leyland said INF Brandon Inge (strained left groin) was heading to Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday night for a rehabilitation assignment.
  • Leyland also said LHP Adam Wilk will pitch Saturday against the White Sox in Chicago. Detroit had a vacancy in its rotation after Fister went on the DL.
  • There also was a light snow shower in the fifth inning.
  • Tampa Bay used a starting pitcher age 30 or younger for a 900th consecutive game, a streak dating to 2006.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Prince Fielder hits a key single for Detroit, which has won its first four games -- three in its final at-bat. (Getty Images)
Prince Fielder hits a key single for Detroit, which has won its first four games -- three in its final at-bat. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Detroit

A. Jackson
AB 2
R 2
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
Detroit

R. Porcello
IP 7.0
H 7
ER 2
BB 1
K 4
 
Tampa Bay Rays
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Desmond Jennings, CF4021020 .294
Carlos Pena, 1B3010000 .467
Evan Longoria, 3B3011101 .538
Matt Joyce, LF4010015 .308
Ben Zobrist, RF4010012 .214
Jeff Keppinger, DH4000013 .308
Sean Rodriguez, 2B3000010 .111
   a- Jose Lobaton, PH1000010 .200
Jose Molina, C3110000 .111
   b- Stephen Vogt, PH1000000 .000
Reid Brignac, SS3110001 .143
Totals3328217  
a-struck out for S. Rodriguez in the 9th
b-flied out for Molina in the 9th
Batting
2B - Jose Molina (1, Porcello)
RBI - Desmond Jennings (2), Evan Longoria (2)
2-OUT RBI - Desmond Jennings (2), Evan Longoria (1)
CS - Desmond Jennings (1, 2nd base by Porcello/Laird)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Brignac-S. Rodriguez-Pena
Tampa Bay Rays
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Matt Moore 6.2422541 2.70
Jake McGee (L,0-1) 0.1222000 13.50
Burke Badenhop 1211000 5.40
IBB - Cabrera by Matt Moore
WP - Matt Moore (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Matt Moore 106-59, Jake McGee 12-8, Burke Badenhop 16-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Moore 2-13, Burke Badenhop 2-1
Batters Faced - Matt Moore 28, Jake McGee 3, Burke Badenhop 5
Detroit Tigers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Austin Jackson, CF2211210 .563
Brennan Boesch, RF4020000 .211
Miguel Cabrera, 3B2110201 .462
Prince Fielder, 1B3111104 .400
Delmon Young, LF4020011 .294
    Clete Thomas, PR-LF0100000 .000
Ryan Raburn, DH4000002 .125
Jhonny Peralta, SS3001002 .333
Gerald Laird, C4011010 .250
Danny Worth, 2B4000011 .200
Totals3058454  
Batting
2B - Miguel Cabrera (1, McGee)
HR - Austin Jackson (1, Moore)
SF - Jhonny Peralta (1)
RBI - Austin Jackson (3), Prince Fielder (4), Jhonny Peralta (4), Gerald Laird (1)
2-OUT RBI - Austin Jackson (1), Gerald Laird (1)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Austin Jackson 1
DP - Jackson-Fielder
Detroit Tigers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Rick Porcello 7722140 2.57
Phil Coke (W,1-0) 1100020 3.86
Jose Valverde (S,1) 1000010 9.00
HBP - Pena (by Rick Porcello)
Pitches-Strikes - Rick Porcello 91-59, Phil Coke 16-13, Jose Valverde 10-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rick Porcello 7-8
Batters Faced - Rick Porcello 28, Phil Coke 4, Jose Valverde 3
Game Information
Attendance - 22574
Game Time - 2:35
Temperature - 42
Umpires - Home - Ed Rapuano, First Base - Cory Blaser, Second Base - Mark Carlson, Third Base - Ed Hickox