Tigers 3, Reds 2
Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker had a touch choice. Would he let left-hander Sean Marshall pitch to right-handed Miguel Cabrera or left-handed Prince Fielder? It would make the difference in the game.
After Cabrera was walked intentionally, Fielder, who had already homered, drove in the tie-breaking run with a two-out single in the eighth inning to lift the Detroit Tigers to a 3-2 victory over the Reds on Saturday.
''Anytime you have Cabrera and Fielder back-to-back, you feel pretty good. Right-hander or left-hander, it doesn't make any difference,'' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. ''Prince had a huge hit.''
Brennan Boesch started Detroit's two-out rally against Marshall (1-3) with a double off the wall in center field. After Cabrera was walked, Fielder softly lined a single to center and Boesch slid across the plate just ahead of Chris Heisey's strong throw.
Boesch turned his ankle on the play and Leyland replaced him as a precaution.
''He probably could have gone out there but it's one of those deals that you hear, he can hit but he turned his ankle. I decided to get him out of the game,'' Leyland said.
Brayan Villareal (2-1) pitched a scoreless seventh inning to earn the win before a crowd of 42,443, the largest non-Opening Day, regular-season crowd in the 10-year history of Great American Ball Park.
Joaquin Benoit pitched a perfect eighth and Jose Valverde duplicated the effort in the ninth for his 11th save.
The Tigers took a 2-0 lead on two-out solo home runs to right. Ramon Santiago hit his second homer of the season on a 2-1 pitch in the second inning, and Fielder hit his 10th on the first pitch from Bronson Arroyo in the fourth.
''That's not an easy lineup to pitch to,'' Arroyo said. ''They have a lot of pop and since they are an American League team, you don't know how to pitch them.''
The Reds tied it in the fourth on Heisey's leadoff single, Joey Votto's drive to left that Delmon Young misplayed into a double and Todd Frazier's two-out single to right.
Votto extended his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games (29-for-53, .547), surpassing his 14-game streak in 2009. The streak is the longest by a Red since Brandon Phillips' 15-game streak from May 28 through June 12, 2010.
Neither starter was involved in the decision. Justin Verlander threw 127 pitches, his second-highest total of the season to the 131 he threw on April 16 in a 3-2, complete-game win at Kansas City. He allowed six hits and two runs with three walks and nine strikeouts in six innings. Verlander pitched at least six innings for the 55th straight start.
''If you're going to be a good team, you have to win games like this,'' Verlander said. ''They definitely didn't make it easy on me but we came through.''
With the lack of the designated hitter, Leyland had to watch Verlander more closely.
''It was one of those things we saw early in his career. He had to spend it too early. We decided he couldn't go any longer. He did a good job of keeping us in there.''
Verlander knew he was on a short leash after he struck out Jay Bruce with the bases loaded to end the fifth.
''I asked Skip for 15 more pitches,'' Verlander said. ''But I knew if my turn came up in the sixth, that I would be out of there.''
''We had him on the ropes a couple of times but couldn't come up with the big hit,'' Baker said.
Arroyo went seven innings, giving up five hits and two runs with four strikeouts.
NOTES: Both teams are 3-2 in interleague play. ... Cincinnati LHP Bill Bray was scheduled to pitch an inning for Single-A Dayton Saturday night and another on Monday during a rehab assignment. Bray has been out since April 24 with a groin injury. ... Detroit activated OF Austin Jackson from the 15-day DL and recalled IF Herman Perez from Single-A Lakeland. The Tigers placed SS Jhonny Peralta on paternity leave and optioned RHP Jose Ortega to Triple-A Toledo. Perez grounded out to third in the eighth inning in his major league debut. ... Reds OF Kristopher Negron drew a seventh-inning walk in his first major league plate appearance.