Porcello returns to rotation as Tigers battle Angels

Rick Porcello makes his return to the Detroit Tigers' rotation on Saturday afternoon in the middle contest of a three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Porcello lost his season debut on April 4 after giving up three runs over 5 1/3 innings at the Minnesota Twins, then did not factor into an 8-6 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays despite yielding four runs and eight hits over five frames.

With the Tigers having a day off this past Monday, they opted to skip the right-hander in the rotation and he made a perfect two-inning appearance out of a tired bullpen on Sunday in a 10-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics.

Porcello, 24, is 3-2 with a 5.80 earned run average in seven career meetings with the Angels, who turn again to Garrett Richards with ace Jered Weaver out due to injury.

Richards opened the season with four relief appearances before making a start versus the Houston Astros last Saturday with Weaver sidelined due to broken left elbow.

The right-handed Richards did not factor into a 5-4 win as he gave up four runs on three hits and three walks with a strikeout. That outing did lift his season ERA from 2.08 to 4.22.

Richards, also 24, has faced the Tigers five times in his career and has a 1-1 record with a 2.53 ERA and one save. Just one of those appearances was a start and it was a good one as Richards held Detroit to three hits over seven scoreless innings of a 13-0 victory on July 17 of last year.

The Angels avoided their worst 15-game start in franchise history by winning Friday's opener 8-1. Los Angeles improved to 5-10 on the season and won its third straight at home.

Peter Bourjos has three hits and drove in three runs, while Albert Pujols also had three hits and finished with two RBI. Mike Trout knocked in two runs and scored once to back six scoreless innings by winning starter Tommy Hanson.

"We had our share of big hits tonight," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

Detroit manager Jim Leyland said it was the opposite for his club. Coming off a 2-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Thursday, the Tigers did not get on the board in Friday's opener until Miguel Cabrera's two-out single in the ninth inning scored Torii Hunter.

"We didn't play a very good game," Leyland said. "We couldn't get the big hit when we needed it and we just didn't play very well. That's uncharacteristic."

Hunter had two hits in his return to Angel Stadium. After the Angels balked at re-signing Hunter despite him hitting a career-best .313 last season, the veteran moved on to sign a two-year, $26 million deal with defending AL champion Detroit. Hunter received a standing ovation from the crowd Friday night.

Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez allowed three runs -- two earned -- on 11 hits over 6 2/3 innings in Detroit's second straight loss following a four-game winning streak.

The teams split 10 meetings last season.