Porcello looks to get on track opposite Kris Medlen as the Tigers and Braves square off again Saturday at Comerica Park.
Anibal Sanchez struck out a franchise-record 17 and allowed five hits over eight innings as Detroit (11-10) cruised to a 10-0 win Friday.
"He was pretty good and we weren't," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "That does it boys. That's all I got for you."
The Tigers backed Sanchez with four runs in the third inning and six in the fourth. Matt Tuiasosopo homered and drove in a career-high five runs while Victor Martinez and Torii Hunter combined for six hits and three RBIs.
After going 2 for 2, Miguel Cabrera is batting .415 with a homer and 10 RBIs during a 10-game hitting streak. He's 2 for 3 lifetime against Medlen (1-2, 2.16).
The Braves (15-7) dropped to 2-5 over their last seven games, hitting .186 with runners in scoring position over that stretch - including an 0-for-5 effort Friday.
Despite their recent efforts, the Braves could be in for a big day at the plate against Porcello (0-2, 11.08 ERA), who's posted an ugly .383 opponent batting average to rank second-worst in the AL among pitchers with at least three starts.
The right-hander was especially bad last Saturday in a 10-0 road loss to the Los Angeles Angels , allowing nine runs and nine hits before being removed with two outs in the first inning.
"He was obviously a little rusty, a little wild, a little unlucky, and that pretty much sums it up," manager Jim Leyland said. "I'm sure he wasn't a happy camper, and I don't blame him."
Porcello, who allowed an AL-worst 226 hits last season, was the first Tiger since Hank Borowy in 1951 to allow nine earned runs without getting out of the first inning.
"I struggled a little bit with my command, but it wasn't all that bad," he said. "I was keeping the ball down in the zone and throwing good sinkers. If I'm going to be inducing contact, that's my goal."
Making his first appearance against Atlanta, Porcello is 2-3 with a 7.90 ERA in his last seven interleague outings.
Medlen had allowed three earned runs in his first three starts before giving up three over six innings Sunday in a 4-2 loss at Pittsburgh.
"I was leaving pitches out over the plate, pulling off, and everything was flat," he told MLB's official website.
Medlen had compiled a 0.64 ERA in winning each of his previous six road starts. In his only appearance against Detroit, Medlen scattered six hits and struck out five over 6 2-3 innings of one-run ball in a 3-1 home win June 25, 2010.
Medlen will try to add to Prince Fielder 's recent woes. The slugging first baseman has struck out 15 times during a 5-for-35 slump.
|April 23, 2013||Jason Heyward||Day-to-Day||Appendectomy|
|April 21, 2013||Jason Heyward||15-Day DL||Appendectomy|
|April 20, 2013||Dan Uggla||Day-to-Day||Left game - left calf strain|
|April 20, 2013||Blake DeWitt||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|April 16, 2013||Luis Avilan||Day-to-Day||Left game - left hamstring injury|
|April 07, 2013||Cristhian Martinez||15-Day DL||Right shoulder strain|
|April 21, 2013||Octavio Dotel||Day-to-Day||Elbow inflammation|
|April 20, 2013||Octavio Dotel||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|April 09, 2013||Victor Martinez||Day-to-Day||Lacerated right thumb|
|March 22, 2013||Avisail Garcia||15-Day DL||Bruised right heel|
DETROIT (AP) -- After pitching into the seventh inning in his best start of the season, Rick Porcello was asked if the comfortable weather at Comerica Park helped his breaking ball.
The Detroit right-hander had a different explanation.
"I just think I stayed in the game long enough to get a feel for it today," Porcello said.
Last weekend, Porcello allowed nine runs and was pulled before the end of the first inning, but he bounced back nicely Saturday, holding the Atlanta Braves mostly in check in the Tigers' 7-4 victory. Omar Infante and Jhonny Peralta both hit two-run homers for Detroit, and Jose Valverde pitched a perfect ninth for his second save since returning to the team earlier this week.
Infante's homer off Kris Medlen (1-3) broke a 3-all tie in the fourth, and Porcello (1-2) allowed three runs in 6 1-3 innings. He was convinced his previous start at Los Angeles wasn't as bad as it looked - but this was an important showing for the 24-year-old who wasn't assured of a spot in Detroit's rotation until he won a job in spring training.
His role was looking a bit more tenuous after the Angels got to him early, but with the exception of a three-run third inning, he was sharp against Atlanta.
"I felt like my stuff was still good," Porcello said. "Today I finally got some better results."
On a calm day in Detroit with the temperature in the 60s, Porcello allowed five hits and two walks. He struck out five - after fanning only three hitters all season before Saturday.
"That's one thing today," Porcello said. "Get to two strikes, try to bounce some breaking balls and not give them good enough pitches to hit."
Atlanta's Justin Upton hit his major league-leading 12th homer in the eighth, but Infante doubled home a run in the bottom half and scored to make it 7-4.
Medlen became a regular starter for the Braves during the last couple months of last season. He was terrific down the stretch in 2012, and it looked as if this year he'd picked up where he left off. But he allowed five runs Saturday, matching a career worst.
Peralta opened the scoring with his two-run shot in the second. Atlanta answered the following inning, when Porcello walked Dan Uggla with the bases loaded, allowed another run on Upton's grounder and gave up an RBI single by Freddie Freeman .
The Tigers tied it in the bottom of the third. With men on first and third and one out, Miguel Cabrera hit a grounder up the middle. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons shoveled the ball to second, but Uggla wasn't able to hold on. The play was scored a single, and a run came home.
Infante's homer came on an 0-2 pitch - after Alex Avila drew a two-out walk to keep the fourth inning going.
"I stayed back and waited for a slider or changeup," Infante said. "He threw a fastball and I made a good reaction."
Left-hander Drew Smyly , who was beaten out by Porcello in a spring training competition for the final spot in the Detroit rotation, came on in relief in the seventh and struck out the only two hitters he faced.
Joaquin Benoit allowed Upton's homer in the eighth, but Detroit came back with a couple insurance runs. Infante's one-out double made it 6-4, and after he stole third, Austin Jackson walked. Cabrera's two-out single to center gave the Tigers a three-run lead.
The Tigers were prepared to let Valverde leave as a free agent after he struggled at the end of last season, but they brought him back on a minor league deal and eventually called him up this week.
He worked a 1-2-3 ninth for a save against Kansas City, and Saturday's appearance was even more impressive. He struck out B.J. Upton and Juan Francisco to end it.
The Braves are 3-7 since their 12-1 start.
Medlen and fellow starter Paul Maholm were breezing through the early part of the season for the Braves before coming to Detroit. Then Maholm was knocked around in a 10-0 loss to the Tigers on Friday, and Medlen allowed 10 hits in 5 1-3 innings the following afternoon.
"Hanging curveball to Peralta - can't give him one there - and that pitch to Omar that was out over the plate," Medlen said.
Porcello, on the other hand, left to a standing ovation in the seventh. He couldn't match Anibal Sanchez - who set a franchise record for Detroit the previous night with 17 strikeouts - but this was a step in the right direction.
NOTES: Cabrera extended his hitting streak to 11 games. ... Atlanta had been 15-0 when hitting at least one homer, but that streak came to an end Saturday. ... Detroit's Doug Fister (3-0) takes the mound Sunday night in the series finale against Atlanta's Mike Minor (3-1).