St. Petersburg, FL – Rick Porcello tossed seven scoreless innings on Saturday and the Detroit Tigers knocked off the Tampa Bay Rays, 6-2, in the third of a four-game series at Tropicana Field.
Porcello (6-5) scattered four hits and fanned four without walking a batter to notch the win. Joaquin Benoit allowed two runs in the eighth, but Jose Valverde tossed a scoreless final frame to close it out.
"Pretty good changeup tonight, I was using it pretty effectively," Porcello said.
Austin Jackson crushed a three-run homer, Jhonny Peralta ripped a two-run single and Prince Fielder added an RBI on a groundout for the Tigers, who have won two of the first three games in this set. Miguel Cabrera finished 3-for-3 in the victory.
Jeff Keppinger smashed a pinch-hit solo home run and Carlos Pena also ripped a solo long ball in the loss for the Rays, their fifth in the last six games.
Jeremy Hellickson (4-4) lasted 2 2/3 innings before being removed when Fielder hit a line drive off of his shin. He allowed a run on four hits with a walk and a strikeout in the loss.
"Because it's hurting, you're not going to use your bottom half and now it's all shoulder," Maddon said of his decision to take Hellickson out of the game.
The Tigers struck first in the third inning when Jackson, Quintin Berry and Cabrera all singled off Hellickson to load the bases with one out. Fielder followed and ripped a line drive off the shin of Hellickson, which allowed Jackson to score on the fielder's choice.
After registering only one hit through the first five innings, the Rays finally put some good at-bats together in the sixth.
Will Ryhmes ripped a single up the middle, Desmond Jennings hammered a base hit into left and Pena reached with an infield single to load the bases with one out. Porcelleo worked out of trouble, though, and got B.J. Upton to pop out before inducing an inning-ending groundout from Luke Scott.
Detroit added three much-needed insurance runs in the eighth to essentially put the game away. Brennan Boesch ripped a double to left-center and Ramon Santiago was hit by a pitch two batters later before Jackson got a fastball from Joel Peralta and deposited it into the seats in left for a 4-0 advantage.
Keppinger and Pena both hit solo shots off Benoit in the bottom half of the frame to cut the deficit to two, but Jhonny Peralta sliced a 1-2 sinker from Burke Badenhop into right field to score Delmon Young and Fielder to seal the decision.
The Rays finished the month of June with a 13-14 record...Hellickson is 0-4 over his last six starts and has not won since May 16. He has allowed two earned runs or less in eight of his last nine home starts...Tampa Bay went 1- for-6 with runners in scoring position and left five on base...Legendary funk band Earth, Wind & Fire played a post-game concert.