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Changeup helps Porcello move past ugly outing

ARLINGTON -- In his fourth outing this year, Rick Porcello had arguably the worst start of his career.

He gave up nine runs and recorded just two outs against the Angels on April 20, a 10-0 loss. Porcello's ERA skyrocketed to 11.08 and the pitcher who allowed more hits than anyone in the American League last year (226) was off to an 0-2 start this season.

Since then, however, Porcello has been much more effective. He is 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA in his last four starts, picking up a victory in the Tigers' 2-1 triumph over the Rangers on Friday.

"He's been good, hasn't he? Really good," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He's had some stiff competition, too. I'm really happy for him. He did good last night, stayed out of the middle [of the plate]. I thought he attacked them pretty good."

Porcello allowed one run on five hits over 5 2/3 innings in Friday's win, striking out six and walking only one. Since the forgettable outing against the Angels, he's lowered his ERA from 11.08 to 5.92. He credits much of the improvement to his changeup.

"I just pretended like it never happened," Porcello said of the April 20 start. "My changeup has been coming around nicely. I've been able to get some swings and misses off it lately, especially with two strikes. I'm throwing it to both righties and lefties. It's been a nice pitch for me this year.

Christian Coronais a contributor to
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