DETROIT (AP) -
was encouraged by his latest outing, even though he lasted only five innings.
The right-hander struck out eight Saturday and combined with four
relievers on a two-hitter in a 4-3 victory over the
''I felt very good out there today,'' Verlander said. ''If I throw the ball like that all season, I'll be very successful.''
hit a tiebreaking double,
(1-0) earned the win with two shutout innings of relief and
struck out the side in the ninth for his first save. Detroit's bullpen didn't allow a baserunner in four innings of work.
Verlander needed 97 pitches to get through five, but he and manager Jim Leyland were pleased with the performance. After giving
up eight runs on opening day, Verlander allowed three on Saturday - one earned. He yielded two hits and walked four.
Texas scored two unearned runs in the fifth following errors by third baseman
''I thought Verlander was outstanding today,'' Leyland said. ''We extended that fifth inning on him, or he would have gotten
into the sixth. I want to get to the point where we are getting seven innings from him on a consistent basis, and we're headed
in that direction.''
Detroit's bullpen, considered a weakness this season, was dominant.
''Nate giving us those two innings in a close game is like a starter giving you five strong innings,'' Leyland said. ''That
was a tremendous performance from our bullpen.''
Rodney competed with
for the closer's job in spring training and was happy to convert his first chance of the year.
''Right now, I feel like I did in 2006. I never felt that good the last two years with my arm problems,'' Rodney said. ''This
felt great, because I've worked really hard to get this back.''
(0-1) took the loss, allowing four runs, nine hits and five walks in 5 2-3 innings.
''I was pleased with what I did today, but the walks are frustrating,'' he said. ''I was able to keep it close, but I have
to have better control.''
drove in two runs for the Rangers, who have lost seven straight at Comerica Park.
''We had opportunities all game, and we didn't take advantage of them,'' manager
said. ''Our offense hasn't gotten anything going.''
Detroit has won the first two games of the series after opening the season by dropping three of four in Toronto.
Texas swept three games at home from the
to begin the season.
Polanco's two-out double off Harrison in the sixth scored Everett from first base to give Detroit a 4-3 lead. Everett had
singled with one out.
It was Polanco's second double of the game. He also hit a leadoff double in the fifth and scored the tying run on
' bases-loaded sacrifice fly.
''I have to be able to shut the other team down when I'm given a lead, and I couldn't do that,'' Harrison said.
The Rangers took a 1-0 lead on Blalock's second-inning homer, but the Tigers came back with two in the bottom half.
With one out, Thames and
singled, and Harrison walked Inge to load the bases. Everett, who came into the game hitting .143, bounced a two-run single
between third and shortstop.
The Rangers loaded the bases in the fifth before Hamilton flared a two-run single into left to give Texas a 3-2 lead.
Notes: Verlander has thrown 177 pitches in 8 2-3 innings over his first two starts, allowing 11 runs - nine earned - on 10
hits and six walks. ... Tigers reliever
(shoulder) was scheduled to make a rehab appearance for Class-A Lakeland on Saturday. ...
is the only Tigers player to have a hit in all six games this season. ... The Rangers will not face Tigers rookie
during the weekend series, preventing a matchup between the only two major leaguers too young to drink, 20-year-olds Porcello
and Texas SS