DETROIT — The Detroit Tigers showed a lot of their good side Saturday. It was the bullpen that kept it from being a showcase night.
The Tigers got three home runs from the middle of their batting order — Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez — and an outstanding starting pitching performance from Rick Porcello, who allowed two runs and five hits in eight innings while striking out a season-high 10.
But their bullpen, which has struggled this season, allowed three runs in the ninth inning on three hits and two walks and forced manager Brad Ausmus to use two relievers and to have two more throwing in the bullpen."
"We were scrambling a little bit in the last inning," Ausmus said. "You don’t want to have to get that many arms up when you’re ahead by that much."
But there was plenty of cushion
Alex Avila had three hits and drove in two runs and Ian Kinsler had three hits and an RBI for the Tigers, who scored in all eight innings they batted, had 16 hits and got at least a hit from each batter in the starting lineup.
"It was perfect the way everyone hit. Everyone contributed in some fashion," Ausmus said. "Nice to see us get some separation. Our offence has been kind of sluggish the last week-to-10 days."
Porcello (13-5) tied teammate Max Scherzer for the American League lead in victories.
"Just had a good feel for my off-speed stuff and had a good changeup and cutter," said Porcello, who laboured through the first two innings before finding his groove in the third.
"He had some really good movement and kept pitches in the strike zone," Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon said. "He was able to mix them up pretty well."
Earlier in the day, newly acquired David Price joined his new teammates and a starting rotation that also includes Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez.
"He basically takes the ball and goes the distance," Porcello said of Price. ". Going to be a lot of fun playing with him."
Colorado starter Tyler Matzek (2-6) allowed eight runs and 10 hits in 4-plus innings.
It was the first time Detroit scored in all eight innings of a nine-inning home win since 1912.
TAPE MEASURE BLAST
Cabrera broke a 2-2 tie with two outs in the third with his 17th home run, a tape measure solo shot, that put Detroit up for good. The drive to centre field was estimated by ESPN Stats & Info at 445 feet.
"You can’t help to be excited when you see that," Porcello said. "I was a fan there. Pretty fun."
Colorado selected the contract of outfielder Jason Pridie from Triple-A Colorado Springs and left-handed pitcher Pedro Hernahdez was designated for assignment.
UP NEXT: Sanchez (7-5, 3.57) goes against Jorge De La Rosa (11-6, 4.20) of the Rockies in Sunday’s finale of the three-game series. It will be the 19th consecutive start by a left-hander for Colorado. The major league record (since 1914) is 20 straight by the 1982 Kansas City Royals. Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau is hitting .316 (6 for 19) against Sanchez with two RBIs.