ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -
wears his wedding ring under his glove when he pitches. If not for his wife Michelle, he probably would be working as a landscaper.
Thursday night the 30-year-old rookie right-hander pitched into the seventh inning to earn his first major league victory,
Los Angeles Angels
to a 10-5 win over the
hit a go-ahead home run, and the Halos survived another shaky outing by the bullpen.
''A couple of years ago I was stuck in Double-A and I was throwing well, but I was never getting a shot,'' Palmer said. ''I
thought I'd retire and go into horticulture, which was my major. But my wife said, 'No, stick with it. I feel that this is
going to be your year.' I got to Triple-A and did very well. The big leagues came after that, and everything just kind of
rolled from there.''
Palmer said he was giving the game ball to Michelle, who has shared his triumphs and travails in baseball since 2002 after
the Giants selected him in the 31st round of that year's draft.
''I'm happy for my family and happy for myself that I kept pushing,'' the Memphis, Tenn., native said. ''I've had opportunities
off the field, but I love baseball and I love the opportunity to throw, and I've got the desire to play. So as long as I have
that desire, I'm going to keep playing. Everybody says I'm 30, but I don't feel it.''
Palmer (1-0) threw 100 pitches in six-plus innings in his fourth big league start. He was charged with five runs - four earned
- and six hits, walking three and striking out one.
''When you haven't seen the guy, I think the pitcher always has the advantage,'' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
After giving up a leadoff homer to
in the second, Palmer allowed two more singles in the inning before retiring his next 12 batters.
''I think it was just a matter of me calming down a little bit,'' Palmer said. ''I had the sinker going, but I just didn't
execute my pitch early in the count. But in the third inning, I started getting on top of the ball and throwing more strikes
early. And I think that's what really helped me out.''
Palmer, who made his first three big league starts last season for San Francisco, was the only pitcher the Angels had at Triple-A
Salt Lake with major league experience to start the finale of this three-game series.
The two-time defending AL West champions have gone through a 2 1/2 week stretch in which their already depleted pitching staff
was hurt even further because of the death of rookie
and injuries to
The Tigers loaded the bases with none out in the seventh. Palmer walked his last two batters after a two-base throwing error
by third baseman
's slow-hit grounder. Rookie
came on to face
and walked in a run, cutting the Angels' lead to 6-3.
Two more runs scored on a single by
, who then retired
on a foul pop and got
to ground into an inning-ending double play.
The Angels broke the game open with four runs in the eighth against reliever
, who was pitching for the first time in 10 days.
(1-1) gave up six runs - three earned - and eight hits in five-plus innings after pitching 7 2-3 scoreless innings in Saturday's
victory over Seattle. The right-hander squandered a 2-0 lead in the fourth by walking Gary Matthews Jr. and No. 9 hitter
with the bases loaded.
''It was probably just a loss of rhythm,'' Jackson said. ''That inning could have been worse. But even with the two bases-loaded
walks, that's all they got that inning. So it was just a matter of trying to do damage control.''
, Friday night's scheduled starter for the Tigers, flew to Kansas City ahead of the team because his teammates won't get in
until the early morning hours. ''It's kind of mind-boggling to me that we didn't play an afternoon game today,'' Leyland said.
''I just can't buy that. That makes no sense at all to have any major league get in at 6, 7 o'clock in the morning to play
a game that same night.''