Armando Galarraga flirted with perfection the last time he took the mound.
Since replacing injured and ineffective Dontrelle Willis in the Detroit rotation, Galarraga (8-4, 3.27 ERA) has been a pleasant surprise for the Tigers (53-52), who lost 5-0 at Cleveland on Monday.
In his last outing, Galarraga took a perfect game into the seventh inning before Kansas City’s David DeJesus singled in Detroit’s 7-1 win over the Royals on Wednesday.
“If it was the eighth or ninth, yes, but six innings is too early to think about (a perfect game or no-hitter),” said Galarraga, who allowed a run and three hits in seven innings. “I was (upset) a little bit.”
The right-hander, who is coming off his first win in four July starts, is 2-0 with a 2.92 ERA against Cleveland this season.
“He feels like he belongs here,” manager Jim Leyland told the Tigers’ official Web site. “He has a good presence about him. I expect him to do well.”
Galarraga looks to help the Tigers rebound from their third loss in four games as they opened their 10-game road trip by being shut out for an AL-leading 11th time.
“We did look a little flat. I don’t mean not hustling or not trying,” Leyland said. “We had a long trip coming out of the break. We went home for a big emotional series and lost two of three (to Chicago). This didn’t surprise me.”
“One team can go on a five-game losing streak and another can go on a five-game winning streak,” Leyland said. “I think this team knows what’s at stake.”
Granderson is batting .367 (11-for-30) during his seven game hitting streak and .304 (7-for-23) against Cleveland this season.
Miguel Cabrera, meanwhile, went 0-for-4 on Monday but is batting .395 (15-for-38) with four homers and 14 RBIs in nine games versus the Indians in 2008.
Jhonny Peralta drove in two runs, while Asdrubal Cabrera and Kelly Shoppach homered Monday for Cleveland, which won for the second time in six games. Peralta is hitting .381 (8-for-21) with five RBIs in his last five contests and has driven in six runs in his last four games versus the Tigers.
“He gave us an opportunity to win,” manager Eric Wedge told the Indians’ official Web site. “That’s about all you can ask for.”
The right-hander, who was placed in the rotation after Aaron Laffey was demoted to Triple-A Buffalo, appeared in 14 games for Detroit in 2005. He is 0-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five career relief outings versus the Tigers, and will make his first start against them Tuesday.