--RHP Justin Verlander threw a career-high 132 pitches -- the last clocking 100 mph on the stadium radar gun -- but allowed Boston just four hits in doing his part to shut the Red Sox out. Verlander was close to 60 percent fastballs whereas in his last outing against Boston two starts ago, he was roughly 51-49 between fastballs and off-speed stuff. Verlander followed his recent pattern of throwing 92-95 mph in the opening inning, then slowly ratcheting up his velocity through the game, although he hit triple digits at the close of the third inning. He only had three strikeouts.
--1B Miguel Cabrera seems to be benefiting from the presence of DH Victor Martinez hitting behind him. Teams are more reluctant to walk Cabrera intentionally in recent weeks with Martinez hitting .300 and driving in runs behind him. He had a double and scored the tying run in the sixth inning of the first game, had an RBI single in the opening inning of the second and doubled in the eighth inning, scoring an insurance run in Detroit's 3-0 victory. Cabrera recently widened his stance a fraction so he could generate a little more power to right and right-center field.
--DH/RF Brennan Boesch has had a sinking batting average but manager Jim Leyland keeps playing him because of his run-producing potential. It paid off with a solo home run in the sixth inning of the first game, the first of two runs Detroit scored that tied the game at 3-3. Boesch ripped an RBI double down the right-field line to set up a two-run first in the second game. He hits very well when he gets ahead in the count; his problem is getting ahead in the count.
--LF Andy Dirks started both games in left field and hit second Sunday. He is trying to wedge his way into the lineup on a regular basis. Manager Jim Leyland thinks his talents suit a No. 2 hitter. He makes contact, can bunt, can move up runners, and shows occasional power. Dirks hit a pair of home runs during the week, both off changeups. His first-game home run gave Detroit its first run, coming in the fourth inning. Dirks walked in the opening inning of the second game and scored from first on a double by RF Brennan Boesch.
--LHP Andy Oliver survived a shaky beginning to his first major league start of 2011, giving up single runs in each of the first three frames but coming back with three scoreless innings. Three of the first four batters Oliver faced reached base but only one of them scored. He allowed solo home runs on off-speed pitches he didn't get down in the second and third, but gave up just two walks and a single the rest of the way. "He got his breaking ball better and that helped his fastball," manager Jim Leyland said. "He's a good-looking prospect. He's a keeper. He's still got some things to learn and to do."
--RF/3B Don Kelly played both games of a doubleheader, working right field in the opener and third base in the second game. Playing right let manager Jim Leyland use OF Brennan Boesch as the DH in the first game and shifting to the infield gave slumping Brandon Inge the second game off. He had a bunt single in the opener and an RBI single that drove in the last of the Tigers' three runs in the second game.
--LHP David Purcey worked a scoreless inning in the first game in his initial Detroit appearance. "It was a little bit of a surprise, but I think it is going to be a good change," Purcey said of the pre-weekend trade that brought him from Oakland to Detroit. "They've got a great team here in Detroit -- good offense, good pitching. It seems like they've got a good bunch of guys here." He went to a full count on the first batter he faced but threw nothing but strikes to the next two, mixing a nice slurve with his fastball. "My dad grew up in the Grand Rapids (MI) area," Purcey said. "I can tell he's excited I got traded here." He credited Oakland pitching coach Ron Romanick for helping him get things turned around. "We moved from the left side of the mound to the right side and then just kind of closed off my stance a little bit," Purcey said. "All those balls that were on the plate and then off I'm now throwing for strikes, so he did a great job helping me figure out a couple things."
--2B Ryan Raburn made his sixth start of the season at second base in the opener. However, he played more than 200 games at the position on his way through the Detroit farm system. He has started 49 games at second in his time with the Tigers. Raburn wasn't in the lineup for the second game after going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts that put his total at 57. He has only three hits in his last 49 at-bats. "Forget everything that's happened up to this point," Leyland said. "Start your season now. You're going to be the second baseman pretty much on an every-day basis, at least for a while. Hopefully we can get his bat going. It would be a big plus. My plan had been to play him there until Scotty (Sizemore) was doing so well at Toledo that we said, 'Bring him up.' That's the plan. We're going to put Raburn out there, turn him loose and see if we can get some more offense. We need it."
--RF Magglio Ordonez is getting closer to a possible return to Detroit but the Tigers are likely to want him to take part in some rehab games in the minors first. He was eligible to come off the disabled list last Thursday. He was fitted with a right show insert to help stabilize his right ankle, which was operated on last August to repair a fracture. "Magglio was outstanding again," manager Jim Leyland said of Ordonez's workout Saturday. "I had a brief talk with him. He felt great. He felt really good -- and drove the ball pretty good. We'll have to wait and see."
--LHP Adam Wilk was optioned back to Toledo on Saturday, clearing a roster space for LHP Andy Oliver, who was brought up to start against Boston. Wilk was brought up to bolster the bullpen on a short-term basis. He made his major league debut and worked 3 2/3 scoreless innings, positioning himself for a possible return if Detroit needs pitching help. Wilk will work as a starter for the Class AAA team.
BY THE NUMBERS
52 -- Games played by Detroit this season, each with at least one extra-base hit. It's the longest such streak from the start of the season by the Tigers since at least 1919 and bettered the previous best (51) set by the 1986 club.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"He's a great-looking prospect. He's a keeper. He's still got some things to learn and to do." -- Manager Jim Leyland, on rookie LHP Andy Oliver, who gave up single runs in each of the first three innings he pitched in his 2011 debut but steadied down to work scoreless ball over his next three.
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