Inside Pitch: How the Pitching Should Work

Manager Jim Leyland got to work through a game exactly how he'd like to in future outings. After six strong innings from starter Mike Maroth, he brought in Joel Zumaya for the seventh, Fernando Rodney in the eighth, and then Todd Jones to close it out in the ninth. Don't be surprised if that becomes a pattern.

This is the way manager Jim Leyland was hoping it would work out: Joel Zumaya in the seventh, Fernando Rodney in the eighth and Todd Jones closing it out for the Detroit Tigers.

The absence of Jones from the start of the season to late April, due to a pulled hamstring, delayed Leyland's efforts to make games last six innings for his team.

Lately, it's been the effectiveness of the starters that have delayed or limited the use of relief pitchers. Over Detroit's last 14 games, the starters have gone at least six innings and posted a 1.87 ERA.

Tuesday night, Mike Maroth departed after six innings and one run allowed.

Leyland summoned Zumaya, whose 100 mph fastball provides a nice contrast to Maroth's 88-90 mph top speed -- as well as the Tigers' other three lefty starters.

Rodney, who saved three games while Jones was disabled, has a mid-90s fastball and a changeup that's about the same as Maroth's fastball.

Jones, who saved his fifth game in five tries, works four pitches with exception control.

REPLAY: A two-run home run by Brandon Inge and a solo home run by Craig Monroe plus six innings of one-run pitching by Mike Maroth helped Detroit to its third five-game winning streak of the season with a 4-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals.

Inge, who didn't start Monday due to a .176 average over the past two weeks, rebounded with his third-inning home run and a single. He scored Detroit's third run after his hit.

Monroe, who has four home runs in eight games, hit his home run in the seventh.

Maroth gave up just four hits, but was replaced after Kansas City scored in the sixth. Joel Zumaya worked a scoreless seventh. Fernando Rodney kept the Royals off the scoreboard in the eighth and Todd Jones notched his fifth save in five tries by working a scoreless ninth. Detroit is 5-0 on its current homestand after a 6-3 road trip.

--LHP Mike Maroth continued his excellent string of starts Tuesday night with six innings of one-run ball against Kansas City.

Maroth (4-1) has given up more than one run in just one start this season after taking teammate LHP Kenny Rogers' advice to move over to the third-base side of the rubber to pitch.

It's helped him against right-handed hitters.

--3B Brandon Inge rebounded from a day off Tuesday night for the second time this season.

Inge slammed a two-run home run and a single against Kansas City after not being in the starting lineup Monday night. Inge, inserted as a defensive replacement in the eighth, spent much of the game hitting off a curveball machine in the hitting tunnels behind the Comerica Park dugout. He had been hitting .176 over his previous 18 games.

Inge had a similar surge that other time he was given a day off due to a slump earlier this season.

--LF Craig Monroe is seeing the ball better, swinging at more strikes and working his game plan at the plate. Monroe fought through a prolonged at-bat in the seventh to hit his seventh home run, finally getting an inside pitch he could turn on.

In the last 10 games, Monroe has three doubles, four home runs and eight RBIs.

His manager, Jim Leyland, notes Monroe is laying off balls and attacking strikes.

--RHP Todd Jones worked his third straight game Tuesday night and got his second save in a row. Jones got a save Monday night, but gave up four hits and two runs doing it.

Tuesday, he zipped through the ninth to earn his fifth save in five tries.

--RHP Joel Zumaya finally got some work -- and pitched a scoreless seventh inning Tuesday night.

Zumaya had not pitched since April 25, but was brought in to provide a nice contrast to Detroit's starting pitcher, LHP Mike Maroth.

Zumaya throws in the high 90s while Maroth is a high 80s pitcher. Zumaya is learning how to cope with the erratic schedule of a relief pitcher after being a starter through the minors with the Tigers.

"It's a big change, because I'm so anxious picking up a ball," Zumaya said. "It's been a big learning experience for me."

--DH Dmitri Young will go on a two-game rehab assignment at Double-A Erie before joining Detroit when the team goes to Minnesota. Manager Jim Leyland said Young should start one game as a DH and one at first base as he comes back from a strained quad muscle.

Young could have declined the rehab assignment, but consulted his teammates before deciding to hit in live game conditions before coming off the disabled list.

"Dmitri was great," Leyland said. "Dmitri talked to his teammates. He came in here like a man and he said, 'You know, I've been discussing it with my teammates. They encouraged me to get some at-bats. I want to do the right thing.' He's been great. I'm tickled, but I think it's to his benefit. And I think whoever those teammates were gave him some good advice."

The Tigers will have to decide whether to return OF Alexis Gomez to the minors or send down a pitcher, probably RHP Jordan Tata because he needs to develop as a starter. Tata is making infrequent but effective appearances as a long reliever, but the Tigers see him as a starter.

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