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Peralta making lefties pay

The Sports Xchange
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--SS Jhonny Peralta has given Detroit a much-need threat hitting behind 1B Prince Fielder against left-handed pitching and the Tigers are two games into a five-game stretch facing southpaw starters. Peralta drove in Detroit's only two runs Saturday night and added a three-run home run Sunday as part of a five-run first, the only runs the Tigers got. Peralta waited on a 2-0 fastball and drove it into the seats in right-center.

--RHP Doug Fister survived a four-run inning in his previous start, but not Sunday. Fister gave up four unearned runs at Minnesota on Aug. 14, creating a 4-4 tie in a game Detroit eventually won 8-4. Handed a five-run lead after the bottom of the first Sunday, Fister faltered and let Baltimore back in by giving up four runs in the second, then three in the fourth, which he did not survive. "My fastball location was very poor," Fister said. "I didn't get the ball down, that's what it comes down to." "He was out of whack," manager Jim Leyland noted. "He just didn't have it."

--2B Omar Infante got Detroit off to a 1-0 start as the second batter of the bottom of the first with a line drive home run over the left-field fence. Infante didn't get another hit but had good at-bats the whole game. He needs just 11 hits to reach 1,000 for his career. "He's running better than I can ever remember him running," manager Jim Leyland said. "He's beating out ground balls. I don't remember him being that fast. He's a much better player. He knows situations. He knows what he's doing." Infante played for Leyland in 2006-07, then was traded to the Chicago Cubs. He returned to Detroit in a trade with Miami last month.

--RHP Luke Putkonen fared a little better Sunday in his return to facing major league batters. Putkonen was 0-2 with an 8.59 ERA in a six-game stint earlier this season. He was brought back Aug. 13 and in his first appearance since then pitched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless but not perfect relief. Putkonen has a decent fastball with some late movement and a spotty slider that can be a strikeout pitch. Only 21 of his 40 pitches were strikes. A double play helped him out of a two-walk fifth inning and he got three straight outs after giving up a leadoff single in the sixth.

--RF Jeff Baker was acquired to give Detroit a threat from the right side of the plate. He did that Sunday, lining an RBI double to right-center as the finishing hit in a five-run first inning. He has three hits with Detroit (16 at-bats) and two are doubles. OF Andy Dirks pinch-hit for him in the sixth inning.

--C Gerald Laird started Sunday and gave C Alex Avila a partial day off. Laird worked the first eight innings defensively before Avila pinch-hit for him in the bottom of the eighth. Laird went hitless but lined out sharply twice to left.

--RHP Brayan Villarreal looks to be recovered from his sore elbow. Villarreal got five days off after complaining his elbow felt "weak" while he was giving up two runs on Aug. 12. He struck out two Saturday night in a one-inning appearance and looked sharp Sunday, fanning one in a three-batter inning. His slider was sharp, his control was good and he was overmatching the hitters, which was what he was doing before his two-appearance rough patch.

BY THE NUMBERS
117 -- Double plays grounded into by Detroit after 1B Prince Fielder hit into two Sunday. The Tigers entered the day tied with Minnesota for most in the majors.

QUOTE TO NOTE
"We hit into a lot of double plays because we hit the ball hard. And we don't run well, in some cases." -- Manager Jim Leyland on Detroit's double play propensity.

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

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