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Tigers' pitcher goes strong with 7 shutout innings

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Detroit Tigers' Don Kelly (32) dives back safely to third base as Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Brooks Conrad is late with the tag during a rundown, as umpire Bob Davidson prepares to make the call during the ninth inning of a baseball game in St Petersburg, Fla., Saturday.

Associated Press Enlarge

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Rick Porcello allowed four hits in seven shutout innings, Austin Jackson hit a three-run homer, and the Detroit Tigers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-2 on Saturday night.

Porcello (6-5) struck out four in winning for the third time in four starts.

Jackson put the Tigers up 4-0 with his eighth homer in the eighth off Joel Peralta, who returned after serving an eight-game suspension for having pine tar on his glove.

After Tigers reliever Joaquin Benoit gave up solo homers to pinch-hitter Jeff Keppinger and Carlos Pena in the eighth, Jhonny Peralta gave Detroit a 6-2 lead with a two-run single in the ninth.

Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson (4-4) left in the third after being struck in the lower right leg by Prince Fielder's liner. The Rays said Hellickson, who missed his previous two starts because of right shoulder inflammation, has a bruised shin and X-rays were negative.

Hellickson fell to the ground after being hit by Fielder's bases-loaded shot, which ricocheted to Pena at first base. Fielder was retired by Pena on the play in which Jackson scored to make it 1-0.

After being checked by a team trainer and making a couple warm-up tosses, Hellickson departed and was replaced by J.P. Howell.

Elliot Johnson's third-inning bunt single was the Rays' only hit off Porcello until Will Rhymes, Desmond Jennings and Pena, who had an infield hit just in front of the plate, had consecutive singles to load the bases with one out in the sixth.

The Tigers starter worked out trouble by retiring B.J. Upton on a pop fly and getting a grounder from Luke Scott.

Rays right-hander Kyle Farnsworth, out all season with a strained right elbow, pitched a scoreless seventh.

Detroit's Miguel Cabrera went 3-for-3 with two walks. The slugger has 68 hits in 196 at-bats over his last 48 games.

Perrysburg native Burke Badenhop pitched the final inning for the Rays, allowing two earned runs on two hits while walking three.

Notes: Rays LHP David Price, tied for the AL wins lead with 11, felt fine one day after leaving his latest start after seven innings because of lower back tightness. Price expects to make his next scheduled start. ... Tigers manager Jim Leyland thinks he has as many as five players who are solid candidates to be selected to the AL All-Star team -- Fielder, Cabrera, Benoit, Jackson, and Justin Verlander. ... On Turn Back the Clock Night, Tampa Bay, a 1998 expansion team, wore hypothetical uniforms from 1979. The Tigers dressed in replicas of their 1979 uniforms.

White Sox might try shadow ball routine again

NEW YORK -- The Chicago White Sox had a real ball -- without one.

In a throwback to comic routines from the game's distant past, the White Sox played "shadow ball" before opening a four-game series at Yankee Stadium, pantomiming catches and throws during a mock infield drill.

"I'd never seen it or done it," first baseman Paul Konerko said.

Third baseman Kevin Youkilis and the rest of the White Sox took part, with coach Joe McEwing pretending to hit grounders. Chicago players acted out tough grabs, tosses and scoops, and backup catcher Tyler Flowers even chased a fake foul pop during the 10-minute session Thursday night.

All the motions, minus a ball. Few teams in the big leagues take real infield practice anymore. The White Sox do it after batting practice before the first game of every series under first-year manager Robin Ventura.

McEwing said the idea of shadow ball came up during spring training. Then on Thursday night, with the White Sox running out of time for a full drill, it was time to try.

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