Baseball / Sports

Tigers score early; bullpen stumbles late but holds off the Twins

MINNEAPOLIS -- There haven't been any stress-free games yet for first-year manager Brad Ausmus, no matter how far the Detroit Tigers get ahead.

Before Friday night, there had been three games this season where the Tigers had taken a lead of at least five runs by mid-game. The Tigers won all three games, but not before some part of the bullpen ruptured, twice to the extent that the other team was within one swing of tying the game.

Friday night, the bullpen took over an eight-run lead with none out in the sixth. With one out in the eighth, the Twins had come back far enough to have the potential tying run on deck. Joba Chamberlain entered and got the next two hitters, each on a 3-1 pitch, and the Tigers won, 10-6.

The Tigers scored seven runs in the third inning, and Rick Porcello cruised into the sixth with a nine-run lead. He never got another out. He exited two batters after Ausmus and athletic trainer Kevin Rand came to the mount to check on him, apparently having seen something amiss in his delivery.

Immediately after his removal, Porcello watched from the dugout railing as the Twins finished their four-run sixth. If something had been physically amiss, it would seem he would have gone to the clubhouse for treatment. The club didn't make any announcement that his removal was related to a physical ailment.

One inning before Porcello left, catcher Alex Avila exited with what the club termed a bruised left shin. His status was given as "day to day."

There were two notable things about the Tigers' third-inning rally against right-handed starter Kevin Correia and reliever Anthony Swarzak. The seven runs marked the most by the Tigers in an inning this season. And Miguel Cabrera accounted for all three outs. He grounded out for the first out, and after the next eight Tigers reached base, he grounded into an inning-ending double play.

The Tigers hit some balls hard off Correia in the first two innings, especially Nick Castellanos' opposite-field two-run homer to right for a 2-0 lead in the second.

The Twins got within 2-1 in the second and had runners on first and second with two out. Porcello got a called third strike on No. 9 hitter Pedro Florimon to preserve the lead.

When he next stepped on the mound, his lead was 9-1.

Torii Hunter doubled off the wall in right to open the third. He went to third on Cabrera's groundout and scored on Victor Martinez's single.

Austin Jackson doubled to send Martinez to third. Castellanos laced a single to center to score Martinez and make it 4-1.

Alex Avila's walk loaded the bases, and Andrew Romine's full-count walk forced in another run.

Correia departed for right-hander Swarzak, and the first four batters reached against him. Rajai Davis and Ian Kinsler each singled in a run, and then Hunter had his second hit of the inning, a two-run single. It was 9-1, and up came Cabrera, the only Tigers hitter to make an out in the inning.

Then he hit a grounder to third to begin an around-the-horn double play.

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