Posted: Jun 26, 2014 10:48 PM
Updated: Jun 26, 2014 10:49 PM
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Rick Porcello went to his normal spot on the Detroit Tigers bench after the eighth inning. He had every intention to finish what he started.
With a few pitches to spare, Porcello got his first career shutout, a 6-0 three-hitter over the sinking Texas Rangers on Thursday night for Detroit's seventh consecutive victory.
"This is extremely special to me," Porcello said.
Porcello (10-4) threw 105 pitches through eight innings. With relievers moving around in the bullpen, manager Brad Ausmus and pitching coach Jeff Jones discussed what to do with the right-hander, who did his best to avoid eye contact and then needed only 10 pitches in the ninth to get three groundball outs.
"You just worry about the pitch count. We don't want him going much above 115, maybe top out at 120," Ausmus said. "A 15-pitch inning is a good inning, so it's kind of a tall task to ask him to get through the inning, but he was able to do it."
Porcello limited the Rangers to three singles and benefited from three 4-6-3 double plays (second baseman Ian Kinsler to shortstop Eugenio Sanchez to first baseman Miguel Cabrera), including one after Texas had consecutive hits in the sixth.
"The ability to get two outs with one pitch is huge. I was able to execute those sinkers," Porcello said. "Without those guys, I don't know that I would have been able to go nine."
The right-hander struck out six and walked three, throwing 72 of his season-high 115 pitches for strikes. It was only the second complete game for Porcello in 164 major league starts all for the Tigers since 2009, and he has won at least 10 games in each of his six seasons.
Miguel Cabrera had four hits and Austin Jackson hit a two-run single for the AL Central leaders, who completed a three-game sweep.
While the Tigers have the longest winning streak in the majors, Texas has the longest losing streak at eight in a row. The Rangers, who last lost eight in a row in August 2005, are 1-6-1 their last eight series overall and 16-22 at home.
"We know we're a way better team than the way we're playing right now," said shortstop Elvis Andrus, who grounded into that double play in the sixth. "He's got a pretty good sinker. We all knew that. He made the right pitch at the right moment."
Rangers rookie Nick Martinez (1-5) allowed six hits and walked five of the 18 batters he faced in 2 1-3 innings.
Detroit went ahead to stay in the second when Torii Hunter drew a bases-loaded walk before Cabrera's deep inning-ending flyout with the bases loaded.
Victor Martinez drew a walk to start the third before a double by Nick Castellanos set up Jackson's two-run single. After two more walks, Nick Martinez was pulled and Kinsler greeted reliever Scott Baker with an RBI single that made it 4-0.
Kinsler, the three-time All-Star for the Rangers who was traded to Detroit for Prince Fielder last offseason, homered in his first at-bat Tuesday in his return to Texas as an opponent. Kinsler went 6 for 14 in the series with four runs and four RBIs.
With two hits in all three games, Kinsler extended his streak of multihit games to five and is hitting .302 on the season. He has 31 multihit games, one behind Houston's Jose Altuve for the most in the majors.
J.D. Martinez had a sacrifice fly for the Tigers, but went 0 for 4 to snap his 14-game hitting streak that was the longest active run in the majors.
Cabrera had three singles before his AL-high 28th double in the eighth drove home Kinsler.
"We're playing good baseball as a team, and we're confident as a group right now," Kinsler said. "It's just a lot of fun playing ball that way."
NOTES: It was the fourth shutout for the Tigers this season. Texas was held scoreless for the fourth time. ... Rangers LHP Derek Holland, on the DL since offseason left knee surgery, took fielding practice off the mound. He is scheduled to throw a simulated game Saturday in Arlington. Holland said he feels great, "like I can do everything." ... Texas GM Jon Daniels said his team can't focus on all the injuries a major league-high 14 players on the disabled list. He said a big thing right now is player development at the big league level with the youngsters having to play.