Tigers hold off struggling Rockies

BY foxsports • May 23, 2009

Almost everything went Detroit's way as it extended its longest winning streak of the season.

Brandon Inge homered, Josh Anderson made a critical defensive play, rookie Rick Porcello won his fourth straight start, and the Tigers topped Colorado 4-3 on Friday night for their seventh victory in a row.

"This is how we should be playing," catcher Gerald Laird said of the streak, which began after a three-game sweep at Minnesota. "The key is how we bounced back and came out to play."

Porcello (5-3) gave up six hits and the lone Rockies run in the first six innings. A pair of defensive plays helped him leave the game with the lead.

The right-hander, who won't turn 21 until December, matched Dave Rozema's 1977 team record for consecutive wins by a pitcher 20 years and under, and was quick to credit the rest of the lineup.

"I still think there's a lot of things I can improve on," Porcello said. "The guys have been making plays all year and they made them tonight.

"It's nice to have that kind of defense behind you."

Detroit got its first two runs off Ubaldo Jimenez (3-5) in the second when Gerald Laird came home on a wild pitch and on Placido Polanco's RBI single. Inge hit his 12th homer of the season an inning later and drove in the club's final run in the eighth.

Jeff Larish's hard slide into second broke up the double play that would've ended the eighth and allowed Clete Thomas to score.

"It's good baseball," Leyland said of the combination of little things that added up to the win. "That's the way it's supposed to be played.

"When your pitcher gives you a chance, you can steal some games and that's what we've been doing."

Ryan Perry worked two spotless innings of relief before giving way to Joel Zumaya, who earned his first save of the season despite surrendering Seth Smith's two-run homer.

Zumaya, the closer because manager Jim Leyland wanted to rest Fernando Rodney, later had a man at third but struck out Dexter Fowler to end the game.

Brad Hawpe singled in a run in the sixth but the Rockies got nothing more thanks to a Detroit double play that kept Todd Helton from scoring. Fowler tried to come home from second base on Troy Tulowitzki's second-inning single, but Anderson's throw beat him to the plate.

"He can fly out there," Porcello said of Anderson. "And it's even more impressive that he can gun the guy out from there. That was a big play for us."

The loss was the first since May 1 for Jimenez, who struck out seven and allowed six hits in the first seven innings.

"That's what happens when a team is playing well," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "We are starting to do more of those things, but in those defining moments in a game, we still aren't making them happen."

Detroit outfielder Magglio Ordonez, who missed four games to be with his wife in Florida while she recovered from surgery, returned to the team Friday but did not play.


Tigers RHP Jeremy Bonderman (shoulder) will make a second rehab start for Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday. He allowed five runs and struck out four in six innings of a 7-2 loss Thursday at Gwinnett. ... Rockies manager Clint Hurdle, a Detroit Lions fan, visited the team's training facility in suburban Allen Park, where he met coach Jim Schwartz and rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford. ... Detroit SS Ramon Santiago extended his hitting streak to eight games. ... Grilli, who criticized Leyland after he was traded by the Tigers, was greeted with boos in the eighth inning.

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