Eleven-oh-eight. It's the right time for your 16-year-old to arrive home after a date. It's what the grocery cashier might announce as your charge for the lettuce, eggs, milk, and bread you just grabbed on the way home. But as an earned-run average, 11.08 is testament to a mishap. Rick Porcello's catastrophe came during a single inning last weekend in Anaheim, Calif., where he was bludgeoned for nine runs in a game that, for him, ended two outs into the first inning. The trauma was still sticking to him, like duct tape, Saturday when he made nice amends with a deft effort that helped the Tigers to a second straight dusting of the Braves, 7-4. It came on a glorious spring day when 42,881 packed Comerica Park, maybe as much to enjoy 63 degrees and sunshine as to take in the Tigers and Braves. "You couldn't have asked for a better setting than today," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland, after his team moved to 12-10, thanks not only to Porcello, but to Omar Infante, who had a home run, double, and single, good for three RBIs and three runs scored. Jhonny Peralta had a neat game, as well, slamming a two-run home run, and making a sweet play in throwing out Andrelton Simmons to get the Braves' leadoff batter in the sixth. Porcello, though, was the man dealing with heat Saturday. He handled it by doing what he did during a sterling spring camp. He threw strikes, sunk his sinker, and mixed in a wicked blend of sliders and curves, almost all of which hugged the strike zone's southern hemisphere. "I really felt after the Anaheim start that my stuff was good, but today it was better," said Porcello, whose ERA dropped to 8.84 as his record moved to 1-2. "That's an outstanding fastball-hitting team. I just stayed down in the zone." He could even manage a quip, courtesy of his Anaheim ordeal, when he talked Saturday about the curveball and change-up with which he subdued the Braves "I just think," he said, in Porcello's uniquely droll fashion, "that I stayed in the game long enough to get a feel for it." Porcello tried, he said, "to follow a similar path" to his cohort Anibal Sanchez, who Friday night had made the Braves dizzy with his witch's brew of pitches that led to 17 strikeouts that eclipsed Mickey Lolich's old Tigers record of 16 strikeouts in a game.
Rick Porcello endures, Infante, Peralta homer as Tigers beat Braves
Detroit News | Apr 28