Tigers stay unbeaten with 5-2 victory over Rays

April 10, 2012, 8:28 PM

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

DETROIT – Miguel Cabrera doubled and scored on Prince Fielder’s single, part of a snowy eighth-inning rally that gave the Detroit Tigers a 5-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday.

After Fielder’s tiebreaking single, a light snow shower passed briefly over Comerica Park. Jhonny Peralta added a sacrifice fly later in the inning, and Gerald Laird’s RBI single gave the Tigers a three-run lead. Phil Coke (1-0) pitched the eighth, and Jose Valverde finished for his first save of the season.

Valverde blew a save for the first time since 2010 in Thursday’s opener against Boston.

Austin Jackson homered for Detroit, which is the AL’s last unbeaten team after handing the Rays their first defeat.

Rick Porcello allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings for the Tigers in a game that began amid snow flurries with the temperature in the 40s. Porcello struck out four and walked one.

Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore allowed two runs and four hits in 6 2-3 innings. He walked five — one intentionally — and struck out four in his second career regular-season start. The 22-year-old also started a playoff game last year, not long after making his debut.

The Rays intentionally walked Cabrera in the fifth to load the bases for Fielder, and the move worked when he lifted a routine fly to left that ended the inning. With first base open in the eighth, Tampa Bay chose to pitch to Fielder. He singled up the middle off Jake McGee (0-1), and Cabrera lumbered around to score for a 3-2 lead.

Tampa Bay had gone ahead 2-1 in the seventh on an RBI infield single by Desmond Jennings, but Jackson homered in the bottom half off Moore.

Detroit has won its first four games — three in its final at-bat. The Rays lost for the first time after a three-game sweep of the New York Yankees. It was their first regular-season loss in nine games. They won their last five of 2011 to snatch a surprising playoff berth.

Tampa Bay opened the scoring in the third when Evan Longoria drew a bases-loaded walk. Detroit tied it in the bottom half when Moore’s wild pitch enabled Jackson to score.

NOTES: Tampa Bay OF Luke Scott missed the game and is day to day with a tight left hamstring. … Tigers manager Jim Leyland said INF Brandon Inge (strained left groin) was heading to Triple-A Toledo for a rehabilitation assignment Tuesday night. … Leyland also said LHP Adam Wilk will pitch Saturday against the White Sox in Chicago. Detroit had a vacancy in its rotation after Doug Fister went on the DL with a left side strain. … There also was a light snow shower in the fifth inning. … Tampa Bay used a starting pitcher age 30 or younger for a 900th consecutive game, a streak dating to 2006.

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