Rick Porcello hasn’t won any Cy Young Awards like three of his teammates, but he has pitched some of the better games of the season for the Detroit Tigers.
One of them came Wednesday night when Porcello pitched a three-hitter for his AL-leading third shutout, a 6-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
”Nine shutout innings. You literally can’t ask for anything more,” said Tiger manager Brad Ausmus.
Victor Martinez hit a grand slam and drove in five runs for the Tigers, who handed the Rays their fourth loss in a row.
Porcello (14-8) moved into a tie for the league lead in wins, retiring 20 straight batters after Ben Zobrist’s double in the first.
”I felt pretty good from the get-go really,” he said. ”Even the hit I gave up to Zobrist was a good pitch, and I felt pretty confident that if I kept making pitches like that I was going to get guys out and pitch deep into the game.”
Porcello walked none and struck out four in his first win since Aug. 2. He matched Miami’s Henderson Alvarez for the major-league lead in shutouts and became the first Tiger with three in a season since Jeff Weaver in 2002.
”I think the biggest thing, when you get a game going like that, is to get the first guy out,” Porcello said. ”If you can get the first guy out, especially for me, or keep the double play intact when somebody does get on base, that makes the game a lot quicker.”
The Rays were shut out for the 15th time, most of any American League team. They didn’t get a leadoff man on base until the eighth.
”From the side it looked like a wiffle ball, like playing in your back yard and the ball is just doing all kinds of weird things,” said Rays manager Joe Maddon. ”For the most part (Porcello got) a lot of groundball outs. That’s what he is.”
Martinez hit his fourth career slam, connecting off Kirby Yates in the seventh inning, completing a five-run burst started by Rajai Davis’ two-out double. It was the 24th homer of the season for Martinez.
Martinez drove in the Tigers’ first run with a two-out double in the first after Miguel Cabrera’s single. Cabrera also walked twice and scored two runs.
Wil Myers, the reigning AL Rookie of the Year, went 0 for 3 as the designated hitter in his return to the Rays lineup after missing 70 games because of a broken right wrist.
”Really didn’t get a pitch over the plate to hit. It’s just one of those games,” Myers said. ”I could have been coming into this game and been really hot, but the way he pitched I think the results would have been the same.”
Rays starter Jake Odorizzi (9-10) gave up three runs while striking out seven in 6 2/3 innings.
Tigers: RHP Justin Verlander (sore right shoulder) could rejoin the rotation Saturday after missing one start.
Rays: OF David DeJesus (broken left hand) resumed a rehab assignment with Class-A Charlotte. He had taken three days off due to soreness in the hand.
Former Rays ace David Price (12-8) will face his old team Thursday for the first time since being dealt to Detroit on July 31. Tampa Bay will counter with RHP Alex Cobb (8-6). ”It’s still weird, but once the game starts, it’s me vs. the Tigers lineup,” Cobb said. ”It’s going to be more weird for him, I think, facing the Rays.”
HIT IT HARD
PGA Tour golfer John Daly threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Daly, who has a hit song called ”Hit it Hard” on The Highway Sirius Channel 56, lives in Clearwater, Fla.