ARLINGTON, Texas - Miguel Cabrera's three-hit game helped push the Detroit Tigers to a 2-1 win over the Texas Rangers on Friday night at Rangers Ballpark.
All of the night's scoring came in the fifth inning.
Cabrera, having singled in his first two plate appearances, followed up a single by Andy Dirks with a double off of the left-field wall to break a scoreless tie. Detroit added another run in the inning on a sacrifice fly by Alex Avila to send Cabrera across the plate for what would be the decisive run.
"You don't expect a 2-1 game in this ballpark too many times," Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "Both teams have power, so you don't expect that. It was a tough game. We got just enough to squeak one out."
Cabrera's three hits led the Tigers on the night while Dirks joined in with a pair of hits to go along with his run.
A night after Justin Verlander gave up seven runs in an inning for the first time in his career, Tigers starter Rick Porcello (2-2) went toe-to-toe with Rangers starter Nick Tepesch.
Porcello threw 5 2/3 innings and struck out six, allowing just one run to score on a Geovany Soto homer.
"My pitch was up a little bit too much to Soto, but other than that, they were down in the zone and pretty effective," Porcello said. "I pounded the strike zone. There weren't many easy outs tonight. They really battled."
Texas had four at-bats or fewer in all five full innings that Porcello threw.
"We couldn't deliver a punch," Rangers Manager Ron Washington said. "You have to give credit to their pitchers. We had the opportunities, but we just didn't deliver."
The Tigers bullpen used a trio of pitchers to get to closer Jose Valverde. Jose Ortega, Drew Smyly and Joaquin Benoit got Detroit to the ninth by allowing three hits over 2 1/3 innings. Valverde worked around a walk to Soto to pick up his fourth save.
"I am happy to have him back," Leyland said of Valverde. "He's done it before and he's not afraid."
Both teams missed scoring opportunities.
Two walks in the second gave Detroit its first chance of the game before a fielder's choice and a ground out to first erased the effort.
A perfect throw by Texas center fielder Leonys Martin kept the Tigers off the scoreboard in the third when Dirks tried to score on a single by Cabrera. Martin gunned down Dirks with a strike to the plate.
Texas looked to tie in the sixth and eighth innings by putting two runners on in each.
Adrian Beltre drew a two-out walk followed by a single up the middle by Nelson Cruz to put runners on the corners. However, after fouling off three consecutive pitches, Mitch Moreland grounded out with a hard hit ball to second to end the inning.
Leury Garcia opened up the eighth with a lead-off single and Beltre again put runners on the corners with a one-out single. This time Nelson Cruz grounded into a double play to end the threat.
Tepesch finished with a quality start despite falling to 3-4 on the season. He pitched five innings and gave up two earned runs with a strikeout and six hits. Texas used four pitchers in relief after Tepesch departed.
Joseph Ortiz retired the side in the in the sixth before Jason Frasor pitched 1/3 with a walk. Robbie Ross threw two innings with a strikeout and walk while Cory Burns finished off the ninth.
Beltre and Berkman led Texas with a pair of hits on the night. The two clubs combined for 18 left on base after combining for 14 runs the previous night.
Notes: Rookie Justin Grimm is scheduled to square off against the Tigers' Anibal Sanchez on Saturday. Grimm has dropped his three previous starts. ... Texas right-hander Alexi Ogando had a MRI on his right arm on Thursday night that revealed no structural issues. He was placed on the 15-day DL after his start on Wednesday with biceps tendinitis... Ian Kinsler was left out of the Rangers lineup on Friday with soreness in his back after a slide into third during Thursday night's game went awry.