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Berry remains a mystery for opposing pitchers

The Sports Xchange
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--LF Quintin Berry was hitting .364 as the No. 2 hitter in manager Jim Leyland's batting order -- and that was before he went 3-for-6 Wednesday night at Texas. Teams may be having a tough time figuring him out because he can look awful on one pitch and then rip the next one for a base hit, or he can strike out on a curveball one time and then the next at-bat he can slam one to right for a triple, as he did in the fifth inning. He singled on a curveball and a fastball Wednesday. He also struck out swinging twice.

--RHP Doug Fister gave up a career worst nine runs (eight earned) Wednesday night to forfeit a nine-run outburst by the often sluggish Detroit offense. "I wasn't very sharp," said Fister, an observation shared by his manager. "I did a poor job of executing. It's going to be a week of focusing on what I need to do, really focus on keeping the ball down." Fister was just too erratic, throwing too many pitches in the fat part of the plate. He gave up three home runs, equaling his career high, something he had not done since May 31, 2010, when he was with Seattle.

--3B Miguel Cabrera drove in his 60th run of the season with a single in the third inning Wednesday night, but he also made an error that contributed to a four-run Texas second inning. Cabrera came in for a grounder with runners on first and second and nobody out in the second and threw wildly to first on the run instead of getting set. One run scored on the play. The next batter, LF David Murphy, hammered a fat pitch for a three-run home run. Cabrera entered the night with the best fielding percentage of any third baseman in the league.

--2B Ryan Raburn got a rare start Wednesday night as much to give 2B Ramon Santiago a night off as to get the struggling Raburn a chance to get going. Raburn doubled and singled, scoring each time, but he also flubbed a wind-blown popup near second base, with the ball falling for a leadoff double in the eighth, when Texas scored twice to pad its lead to 13-9, the final score. Raburn later made an error on a routine grounder.

--SS Jhonny Peralta has been having good at-bats without much to show for them for the past week or so, but Wednesday night he collected three hits and drove in two runs. Peralta had singles his first two times up, then added a two-run double on an 0-2 fastball in the fifth. Early in the season, Peralta was trying to pull most pitches, but that's not how he was having success last season. Lately, Peralta has been hitting the ball to right and right-center a good deal of the time.

--C Alex Avila played a second consecutive game Wednesday instead of getting a night off as manager Jim Leyland thought he might. Avila produced better at-bats than he has in quite some time, ending up with three hits plus a walk. "I thought Alex really came back," Leyland said. "He said it's the best he's felt in a long, long time." It wasn't just the hits, it was the quality of the swings. Avila has been bothered by patellar tendinitis in his left knee, and his left leg is where he gets the drive and pivot in his swing. It was the first game in which Avila had three hits since May 4.

--LHP Duane Below had one of his rare so-so outings Wednesday night, coming in with two men on in the fifth and allowing both to score plus two more of his own in 2 1/3 innings. Below entered the game having allowed only two of 16 inherited runners to score all season. "There were two left-handers," manager Jim Leyland said, "and he didn't get them out. He left a ball out over the plate to (LF David) Murphy for the first one. Then left a breaking ball inside to (CF Leonys) Martin. If you get both those guys out, get out of that inning without letting those runs in, we might be in pretty good shape. He hadn't pitched for a while (since June 20), so that's a little excusable." He allowed four hits, walked one and hit a batter.

--DH Victor Martinez is scheduled to undergo an MRI on his left knee early Thursday with Dr. Richard Steadman in Vail, Colo., that will be another step along the road toward a possible return to action with Detroit in August or September. "This is not an earth-shattering MRI," trainer Kevin Rand said. "This is an MRI to assess where he is from a healing perspective. It's not one that will tell you when he's ready to go play. I'm hoping to get good news again and that everything is progressing along the lines that it should be." Martinez underwent left knee surgery in late January, but a second surgery, on his ACL, was scrubbed when the ligament was found not to be completely torn. A July MRI date was set but was moved up to Thursday when his progress reports continued to be good.

BY THE NUMBERS
.385 -- OF Quintin Berry's batting average as the No. 2 hitter. Berry went 3-for-6 Wednesday night and is 15-for-39 overall as the No. 2 hitter. He has six RBI from the second spot, including his RBI triple Wednesday.

QUOTE TO NOTE
"He's just going to tag along up here for a while, just take a look at some guys. We've had so many guys struggling, it's nice to have another helping hand. A lot of teams have gone to that now. This is really nothing new. I don't know how long Toby's gonna be there. I think he'll probably come and go a little bit. I know Tony La Russa did this with the Cardinals. When you get more than one or two guys struggling, it's a pretty big job for one guy." -- Manager Jim Leyland, on the Tigers bringing up minor league hitting coordinator Toby Harrah to help hitting coach Lloyd McClendon with the major league batters.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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