Tigers making All-Star pitch
DETROIT (AP) – Joaquin Benoit is enjoying a little extra attention these days.
That’s taken some getting used to for Detroit’s setup man-turned-closer.
The Tigers are promoting Benoit’s campaign to win the final vote for the American League All-Star team, and on a night when orange “Vote BENOIT” shirts were all over Comerica Park, the veteran right-hander closed out Detroit’s 8-5 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
“A little bit shaky – I guess too excited for everything that’s going on with the fan votes,” Benoit said. “If I don’t get there, I’m really just happy because everybody’s voting for me.”
Benoit walked two in the ninth, but was able to finish the game. Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera – who are already on the All-Star team – had three hits apiece for the Tigers on Wednesday night, including a two-run homer by Fielder.
Detroit allowed 23 hits in an 11-4 loss to the White Sox on Tuesday, but it was the Tigers who did the slugging early on in this game. Fielder lined his two-run shot to right field in the first inning for his 16th homer of the year.
Alex Avila’s two-run single in the third put Detroit ahead 5-1. Conor Gillaspie and Gordon Beckham homered for Chicago.
Detroit’s Rick Porcello (6-6) allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings.
The Tigers’ bullpen has been shaky all season, but Benoit has been used more as a closer lately. He’s now 8-for-8 in save chances, and he lowered his ERA to 1.69.
He’s part of a group of five relievers up for a final vote for the AL All-Star team. The others are Toronto’s Steve Delabar, the New York Yankees’ David Robertson, Texas’ Tanner Scheppers, and Boston’s Koji Uehara.
“It’s probably the only thing I haven’t accomplished in my career,” Benoit said. “I’ve been to the World Series last year, I’ve been to the playoffs. I’ve been a starter, I’ve been a reliever. I’ve done almost everything – now an All-Star game wouldn’t be bad.”
The Tigers extended their AL Central lead over second-place Cleveland to 3 1/2 games.
Cabrera’s run-scoring single in the sixth pushed his major league-leading RBI total to 93.
“It’s hard to put in perspective,” Porcello said. “That’s a career season for the majority of guys in baseball, and that’s only his first half.”
After Gillaspie’s homer in the second, the Tigers made it 3-1 on Austin Jackson’s RBI triple in the bottom of the inning.
NOTES: Martinez had three hits to extend his hitting streak to 12 games… Chicago’s Alex Rios was hitless a night after going 6 for 6.