Braves-Tigers Preview


While the Detroit Tigers silenced the Atlanta Braves in the opener of this three-game set, a repeat performance could be hard to come by with Rick Porcello on the hill.

Porcello looks to get on track opposite Kris Medlen as the Tigers and Braves square off again Saturday at Comerica Park.

Anibal Sanchez struck out a franchise-record 17 and allowed five hits over eight innings as Detroit (11-10) cruised to a 10-0 win Friday.

"He was pretty good and we weren't," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "That does it boys. That's all I got for you."

The Tigers backed Sanchez with four runs in the third inning and six in the fourth. Matt Tuiasosopo homered and drove in a career-high five runs while Victor Martinez and Torii Hunter combined for six hits and three RBIs.

After going 2 for 2, Miguel Cabrera is batting .415 with a homer and 10 RBIs during a 10-game hitting streak. He's 2 for 3 lifetime against Medlen (1-2, 2.16).

The Braves (15-7) dropped to 2-5 over their last seven games, hitting .186 with runners in scoring position over that stretch - including an 0-for-5 effort Friday.

Despite their recent efforts, the Braves could be in for a big day at the plate against Porcello (0-2, 11.08 ERA), who's posted an ugly .383 opponent batting average to rank second-worst in the AL among pitchers with at least three starts.

The right-hander was especially bad last Saturday in a 10-0 road loss to the Los Angeles Angels, allowing nine runs and nine hits before being removed with two outs in the first inning.

"He was obviously a little rusty, a little wild, a little unlucky, and that pretty much sums it up," manager Jim Leyland said. "I'm sure he wasn't a happy camper, and I don't blame him."

Porcello, who allowed an AL-worst 226 hits last season, was the first Tiger since Hank Borowy in 1951 to allow nine earned runs without getting out of the first inning.

"I struggled a little bit with my command, but it wasn't all that bad," he said. "I was keeping the ball down in the zone and throwing good sinkers. If I'm going to be inducing contact, that's my goal."

Making his first appearance against Atlanta, Porcello is 2-3 with a 7.90 ERA in his last seven interleague outings.

Medlen had allowed three earned runs in his first three starts before giving up three over six innings Sunday in a 4-2 loss at Pittsburgh.

"I was leaving pitches out over the plate, pulling off, and everything was flat," he told MLB's official website.

Medlen had compiled a 0.64 ERA in winning each of his previous six road starts. In his only appearance against Detroit, Medlen scattered six hits and struck out five over 6 2-3 innings of one-run ball in a 3-1 home win June 25, 2010.

Medlen will try to add to Prince Fielder's recent woes. The slugging first baseman has struck out 15 times during a 5-for-35 slump.

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