Lowe's funk continues, forcing Tigers to call on K-Rod

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Francisco Rodriguez had to close out Saturday's game after Mark Lowe stumbled in the ninth.

Detroit -- The Tigers pitching seems to be stabilizing.

And then there's Mark Lowe, who had another rough, rough outing Saturday in the Tigers' 7-4 win over the White Sox.

Called to pitch the ninth in what had been a five-run game, Lowe couldn't finish it off, allowing two runs on three hits, sharply hit.

Signed over the offseason to be the team's setup man -- and paid like it, at $11 million for two years -- Lowe hasn't had a 1-2-3 inning in more than a month. In his last 12 games, his ERA is 15.12.

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said he'll continue to use Lowe in low-stress situations until he turns things around.

That's assuming he turns things around, of course.

"He's been working a lot mechanically throwing sides," Ausmus said. "Maybe he was a little bit fatigued today."

Tigers rise up vs. lefties, Pelfrey secures 1st win

Lowe got the first hitter, Brett Lawrie, to strike out, showing off the slider that convinced the Tigers to sign him this winter.

But it unraveled after that, with Jimmy Rollins lacing a single, followed by Avisail Garcia's single. Then, after Dioner Navarro popped out, Adam Eaton drilled a two-run double to left, just out of Mike Aviles' reach.

That did it for Lowe, who gave way to Francisco Rodriguez.

He got the one better he faced for his 16th consecutive save.

The rest of the Tigers bullpen was sharp, too, especially Shane Greene, who came back from the disabled list and was electric. He struck out two in the seventh inning, a 1-2-3 inning.

"We figure he could pitch the sixth and/or seventh," Ausmus said. "He did an outstanding job."

Around the horn

There's a good chance Cameron Maybin stays in the second spot in the lineup for the time being, Ausmus said. Maybin had three more hits, and has hit safely in all 12 games at Comerica Park this season.

J.D. Martinez also homered and doubled in his old spot, the No. 5 spot.

... On Mike Pelfrey getting his first win as a Tiger, Ausmus said: "He could easily have four wins."

It also marked the first time Pelfrey has beaten the White Sox, in his ninth career start.

... Aviles, making a third straight start, had another hit, and a big RBI bunt in the eighth inning.

"He looks a lot more like the Mike Aviles we signed," Ausmus said.

... The White Sox are 15-37 at Comerica Park since Sept. 7, 2010.

WHITE SOX AT TIGERS

First pitch: 1:10 Sunday, Comerica Park, Detroit

TV/radio: FSD/97.1

Scouting report

LHP Jose Quintana (5-5, 2.13), White Sox: One of the best young pitchers in baseball that nobody really talks much about. He leads the league in ERA this year, but isn't getting much run support.

RHP Justin Verlander (4-5, 4.11), Tigers: Ever since he sent out that tweet in early May promising to dominate again, that's what he's done, with a 1.91 ERA and 0.770 WHIP in his last five starts.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

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