Inside Pitch: Starting Pitching the Key

The White Sox may have run away with the division before the season even really got started last year, and that was in large part because of their excellent starting pitching. Well, the Tigers will try and match those attempts and have had success so far, including an excellent start from Jeremy Bonderman to get a win on Tuesday night.

The Chicago White Sox ran away with the American League Central with excellent starting pitching as the key.

They'd like to do so again, but the Detroit Tigers are right behind them. Thanks to excellent starting pitching.

The Tigers got their seventh strong outing in a row by a starter Tuesday night, when right-hander Jeremy Bonderman worked six strong innings in Detroit's 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Bonderman blanked the Angels through five innings and allowed only three hits overall.

Strong starting pitching is a big reason Detroit is 6-1 in those seven games. None of the starters has given up more than three runs in that stretch, and they had held the opposition to a .180 batting average entering Tuesday night's game.

REPLAY: Jeremy Bonderman worked six strong innings Tuesday night and right fielder Magglio Ordonez had three hits, including a solo home run, to help the Detroit Tigers defeat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 5-2.

Bonderman blanked Los Angeles over five innings before giving up two runs in the sixth, by which time Detroit had scored its five runs. Bonderman allowed just three hits before leaving.

Left-handed reliever Jamie Walker got five outs, Joel Zumaya one and Todd Jones worked a flawless ninth to record his third save.

Third baseman Brandon Inge tripled home a run in the third and scored on a Placido Polanco groundout. First baseman Chris Shelton had an RBI single in the sixth.

--RHP Jeremy Bonderman posted Detroit's seventh straight solid starting job Tuesday night with six innings of three-hit ball against the Los Angeles Angels.

Bonderman shut out the Angels over five innings before giving up two in the sixth. By then, though, Detroit already had scored five times.

Bonderman struck out six and was in control of his three pitches.

--RF Magglio Ordonez is ending strong on Detroit's current three-city West Coast trip.

Ordonez weighed in Tuesday night with three hits, including a solo home run in Detroit's 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

Ordonez now has four home runs, and in his last few games has been hitting the ball with the authority he showed during his time with the Chicago White Sox.

--3B Brandon Inge keeps appearing in the middle of important innings.

Inge tripled in a run in the third inning Tuesday night and wound up scoring on a groundout by Placido Polanco.

Inge has stepped up his defense this season -- it was already excellent -- and the occasional rest his manager is giving him seems to have headed off slumps.

--INF Omar Infante has played for 3B Brandon Inge and 2B Placido Polanco in recent games, and on Tuesday night, he served as Detroit's designated hitter.

Infante brought a .333 batting average into the game but his most important at-bat was one of his four outs. He grounded into a double-play, but the bases were loaded at the time and nobody was out. It wasn't ideal, but Detroit did get a run out of the two outs.

Infante has started six of Detroit's last 14 games.

--OF Marcus Thames has seen a lot of DH time in the absence of regular DH Dmitri Young.

--RHP Todd Jones went to his breaking ball a little more Tuesday night and recorded his third save.

Jones pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to protect a 5-2 lead and his curve was working more, so he seemed to be using it more than just his fastball.

Jones has worked in three of Detroit's five games since he came off the disabled list.

--1B Chris Shelton still isn't tearing the cover off the ball like he did in the first couple weeks of the season, but he's still an important part of the Tigers' lineup.

Shelton had just one hit Tuesday night, but it was an opposite field RBI single to right in the sixth to give Detroit a 4-0 lead.

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