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Notes, Quotes

The Sports Xchange
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--CF Austin Jackson made his first start since July 7, his first appearance since July 10, and sparked two of Detroit's scoring innings. After a three-pitch strikeout in the first, Jackson, dealing with an inflamed tendon in his left wrist, flied out to deep right field in the third then singled as Detroit answered a three-run Oakland fifth with six runs in the bottom of the inning. He lined a single to left in the sixth and scored on LF Brennan Boesch's second straight double. His last at-bat was another line shot, caught in deep left center. "It's definitely feeling better," Jackson said of his wrist. "I'm getting work on it each and every day. It feels good to be back out there. We did a different tape job on it and it seems to be working well."

"I was ragging him all week," RHP Rick Porcello said, "to come on, make sure he's ready for Tuesday. It's nice to see him back out there."

--1B Miguel Cabrera turned a mistake by RHP Guillermo Moscoso into a 4-3 Detroit lead. Moscoso was trying to get a 2-2 fastball down and away with a runner on second in the fifth but the pitch was up and a little bit inside. Cabrera crushed it 420 feet to left center for a two-run home run. It was the 600th extra base hit of his career. He got the 1,500th hit of his career last weekend.

--DH Victor Martinez did a nice salsa to score Detroit's first run of the game. He blooped a one-out single to center and one out later was waved around third when 1B Connor Jackson's fielding error on 2B Carlos Guillen's sharp grounder wound up in the right field corner. The throw to the plate beat Martinez but snagging the off-line throw didn't allow C Kurt Suzuki to block the plate. "I think when I went past home plate he was still with his glove laid on the plate," Martinez said. "I think, like, 'I got some chance to squeeze my hand in here.' Sometimes you just need a little thing like that to get a team going." While Suzuki's glove was on the plate, Martinez, who had avoided the plate altogether, leaned back toward third and darted his hand between the glove and Suzuki's right hand without being tagged. "It was very acrobatic to say the least," manager Jim Leyland said. "But he did get in there and he was safe. It was a big play for us."

--2B Carlos Guillen put the capper on Detroit's six-run fifth inning with a two-run home run that hit off a customer in the first row above the scoreboard in deep right center field. Guillen has hit safely in all three games he's played since being activated and his base hit Sunday scored the winning run. "He's given us a little punch, obviously," manager Jim Leyland said. "That's nice to see; it stretches out your lineup any time you get another hitter going in there, especially a switch-hitter like Carlos and a proven hitter." "He's got a lot of experience," DH/C Victor Martinez added. "I think that was a guy that we were missing the whole year. Finally we got a chance to get him, I think he's going to be a big help."

--RHP Rick Porcello struggled some with his control, perhaps the result of not having pitched since July 8, but did well enough to win his ninth game of the season. "His control wasn't real good to start," manager Jim Leyland said. "He was behind too many hitters. But he made some good pitches, got the double play ball when he needed it." Indeed, Porcello wriggled out of a bases-loaded, none out jam in the fourth on a force-out at the plate and a double play grounder. "It was just one of those things where you just try to make it pitch by pitch," Porcello said. "Basically I was just conceding the run at third, just trying to get outs and keep us in the game; make sure it didn't get out of hand. Miggy (Cabrera) made a great play throwing home and then we got a big double play." That loomed large when he gave up three runs in the fifth on a pair of singles plus two doubles. He's throwing more offspeed pitches early in the game but maybe the biggest thing Porcello is doing is pitching inside. He's hit six batters this season, five of them in his last three starts, all wins.

--LHP Duane Below will be promoted Wednesday to fill the fifth slot in Detroit's rotation for at least one start. Manager Jim Leyland made no commitment to the rookie beyond his major league debut as the Tigers search for veteran help for the rotation. Below, 25, was drafted out of Lake Michigan CC in the 19th round of the 2006 draft and moved steadily through the farm system. He was 9-4 with a 3.13 ERA for Class AAA Toledo. Below is a native of tiny Britton, MI, in Southeast Michigan.

--LHP Charlie Furbush is returning to the Tigers, but back in his bullpen role rather than making his third start of the season. Furbush was optioned to Class AAA Toledo July 9 so he could start in turn and possibly come back and do the same Wednesday for Detroit. However the club ordered him to work an inning of relief Sunday, which as it turned out was because it wanted him to pitch out of the bullpen again. His first 12 appearances for Detroit were as a reliever.

--OF Casper Wells was returned to the minors after the game as Detroit needed to trim a position player to make roster room for LHP Duane Below, who makes his major league debut Wednesday. Wells appeared in the 100th game of his short career, subbing in as the defensive replacement for RF Magglio Ordonez, with 64 of those this season. He was hitting .257 with four home runs and 12 RBI. Wells was sent down rather than OF Andy Dirks chiefly because the rookie hits left-handed. "It's a shame because he doesn't deserve to go down," manager Jim Leyland said. "He's played well. He's done a good job. We felt if we rest (RF) Magglio (Ordonez) against a righty, then we have Dirks in the outfield."

--LHP Adam Wilk was optioned to Toledo after the game, with LHP Charlie Furbush coming up to replace him in Detroit's bullpen. Wilk was brought up July 2 but had only pitched once since then, a week later.

--RHP Justin Verlander will get an extra day of rest, as scheduled, before making his next start. Were Verlander to pitch in turn he would be starting Wednesday against Oakland but manager Jim Leyland said before the All-Star break his ace would either get an extra day between starts prior to his first or second outing after the break. Not by accident, either way meant he was going to open Detroit's four-game series Thursday at Minnesota.

BY THE NUMBERS
600 -- Career extra base hits by 1B Miguel Cabrera after his 20th home run of the season, a two-run shot in the six-run fifth, put Detroit ahead for good, 4-3. Cabrera late last week got the 1,500th hit of his career.

QUOTE TO NOTE
"He's a lock to come back in September. But if something happens, he goes down and plays well, he comes back sooner. That doesn't do him any good tonight. I felt bad for the kid." -- Manager Jim Leyland on telling OF Casper Wells he was the one going back to the minors to make room for Wednesday night's starting pitcher, rookie LHP Duane Below.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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