(The Sports Xchange) - Alfredo Simon added a little stability to a struggling Detroit starting rotation by throwing a one-hit shutout to help the Tigers blank the Texas Rangers 4-0 for their third win in a row on Thursday.
Third baseman Nick Castellanos provided the bulk of the offense with two RBIs, which followed a five-RBI game the previous day in Chicago against the Cubs. He had an RBI single in the first, then a sacrifice fly in the third.
The first shutout and first complete game of Simon’s career also helped a bullpen that had been asked to throw 15 innings in the previous three games. Equally important to Detroit was getting a solid game from a starter.
David Price’s trade at the end of July, the recent loss of right-hander Anibal Sanchez to rotator cuff inflammation and a range of other maladies have stripped Detroit of all its Opening Day rotation members save Simon.
Justin Verlander, due to pitch on Friday, was on the disabled list until July, Detroit purchased veteran left-hander Randy Wolf from Toronto and he will start on Saturday.
Southpaw Matt Boyd came over from the Blue Jays in the Price deal and will go Sunday, and Buck Farmer, currently in the Tigers’ bullpen but who opened the season in the minors, was named by manager Brad Ausmus to start in Cincinnati on Monday.
“We’re chipping away,” Ausmus said of the current state of his team. “But we’ve still got a lot of chipping to do.”
Simon (11-7) faced one batter above the minimum until second baseman Rougned Odor picked on the first pitch thrown to him with two outs in fifth and lined it safely into right field, hustling the hit into a double.
Texas belted a few balls hard but never got another hit.
“That’s probably the best he’s pitched all year, I think,” Ausmus said. “What I really liked is the pace of his game. He got the ball, got to the next pitch. The defense is more into it, in theory.”
Castellanos, meanwhile, has driven in nine runs in his last three games.
His single came with the bases loaded and two outs in the first, while his sacrifice fly in the third followed a single by designated hitter Miguel Cabrera plus a double by first baseman Victor Martinez.
Second baseman Ian Kinsler tripled to begin the fifth and scored on Cabrera’s ground single up the middle to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead.
Martinez, playing just his second game this season at first, delivered a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0 in the seventh as the Tigers won their fourth game in the last five.
Rangers left-hander Martin Perez (1-3) allowed Detroit’s first three runs as well as six hits, three walks and a sacrifice fly. He lasted five innings in just his seventh start of the season.
Compiled by John O'Brien