DETROIT — Sure, you could argue that Jacob Turner had nowhere to go but up after his last start.
To recap, against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Tuesday, Turner allowed seven runs on six hits while walking two and striking out one — in two innings. His ERA jumped from 1.80 in one start to 10.29 in two.
“I was excited,” Turner said. “Any time you don’t throw the ball well, you want to get back out there as soon as you can, so I was real happy they gave me another chance.”
Considering Turner was 4-2 with a 3.16 ERA in 10 starts with Triple-A Toledo, the Angels outing was a bit out of character.
It might have helped that Alejandro De Aza, the first batter of the game, hit a ball to deep center that Austin Jackson tracked down.
“I had to get on my horse right there real quick,” Jackson said. “I wasn’t sure if it was hit that hard. Kind of hesitated for a quick second but took a good route to it and was able to get back there to it.”
Turner allowed a run in the first inning on three straight singles by Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko and Alex Rios. After his teammates scored three runs to quickly take the lead back in the bottom of the first, Turner responded by retiring 11 straight.
After giving up a two-run home run to Rios in the sixth inning, manager Jim Leyland took Turner out in favor of Brayan Villarreal.
Turner’s final line of the Tigers’ 6-4 win was not bad. He allowed three runs on seven hits while striking out three. He threw 81 pitches, 57 for strikes. He also did not walk a batter in his first major league victory.
“He did everything and more today than we could ask,” manager Jim Leyland said. “I thought he did a terrific job. I was trying to get that last inning out of him. He struck out (Adam) Dunn, I felt pretty good. Then he got the bad-hop single by (Paul) Konerko and of course the home run. He was really good.”
White Sox manager Robin Ventura thought his team could have scored more had Leyland not taken Turner out when he did.
“I think Jimmy pulled him at the right time, because we were getting ready to make a run against him, but he’s a good young talent with a nice arm,” Ventura said.
Catcher Alex Avila said Turner wasn’t all that different, he was just working ahead more and wasn’t facing a red-hot Angels team.
“Probably the biggest difference was being able to throw some of his breaking pitches and off-speed stuff for strikes, just to catch them a little off-balance,” Avila said. “Other than that, the Angels were as hot as anything in his last start, at least for that game.
“He did a great job just coming back and pitching a good game.”
No Papa Grande
Jose Valverde did not pitch in Sunday’s save situation. Instead it was Joaquin Benoit.
“His back was a little sore yesterday,” Leyland said. “It didn’t feel just right. It’s nothing bad. But we didn’t use him yesterday. We felt like it just wasn’t in our best interests yet to use him today. We have the day off tomorrow. He should be fine for Tuesday night but I didn’t want to take any chances.”
Benoit pitched a perfect ninth for his second save of the season.
Coke back with team
Phil Coke returned to the team after missing two days to be with his wife, Bobbie, for the birth of their first child, a daughter named Mickensie LouAnn.
Coke pitched a third of an inning, allowing a home run to Kevin Youkilis.
Smyly getting closer
Rookie Drew Smyly, who has been on the disabled list with a right intercostal strain, is getting even closer to being able to pitch.
“I played catch the last two days,” Smyly said. “It felt good. It’s feeling really well. It’s getting better every day. It hasn’t bothered me since I started playing catch. I think Tuesday we’re going to try to throw a bullpen and see how that goes.”
Smyly said he thought the biggest hurdle was going to be playing catch for the first time.
“I went to 120 feet today and it was fine,” Smyly said. “That’s almost long-tossing so tomorrow’s an off-day, throw a bullpen Tuesday. Hopefully that goes well and then the next step is a rehab start or something.”
Dirks in Mud Hens lineup
Andy Dirks, in the first game of his rehabilitation start Sunday night with the Toledo Mud Hens, was batting third and playing center field.