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Jaye gets 1st win, leads stout Tigers bullpen

Relievers combine for 9 innings after Anibal's early exit vs. KC
MLB.com @beckjason

DETROIT -- Myles Jaye was caught off guard on Saturday when the call came down to the bullpen. Jordan Zimmermann was struggling in the first inning, and the Tigers wanted Jaye to warm up in case.

Jaye didn't actually pitch in that game until the sixth, but he didn't want to be ill-prepared if it happened again. As soon as Jaye saw Anibal Sanchez limping around the mound after making just five pitches on Tuesday night, struck in the right calf by a comebacker off the bat of Whit Merrifield, Jaye began stretching.

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DETROIT -- Myles Jaye was caught off guard on Saturday when the call came down to the bullpen. Jordan Zimmermann was struggling in the first inning, and the Tigers wanted Jaye to warm up in case.

Jaye didn't actually pitch in that game until the sixth, but he didn't want to be ill-prepared if it happened again. As soon as Jaye saw Anibal Sanchez limping around the mound after making just five pitches on Tuesday night, struck in the right calf by a comebacker off the bat of Whit Merrifield, Jaye began stretching.

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"I figured it was going to be me," said Jaye, who logged 2 1/3 scoreless innings to earn his first Major League win in the Tigers' 13-2 rout of the Royals.

Actually, manager Brad Ausmus had to scramble a bit, a lot more than the final result would suggest.

Though Ausmus had a 13-man bullpen at his disposal thanks to September callups, the group is rather short on experience. Setup man Alex Wilson, closer Shane Greene and Blaine Hardy are the only non-rookies.

Video: KC@DET: Hardy fans Moss to end the top of the 4th

Jaye was a starter all season between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo. He also hadn't pitched since his 3 1/3 scoreless innings on Saturday.

"I was really trying to get through just a couple innings," Ausmus said. "He had just pitched three days before and threw 47 pitches, so I knew I couldn't use him real long. I was just hoping he could kind of hold it where it was. Then after that, I was kind of mixing and matching based on their lineup."

The combination gave the Tigers nine innings of four-hit relief, the lone run coming on Lorenzo Cain's homer off Daniel Stumpf.

"Sanchie gets hit by a ball the first batter, and it's like, 'Oh no, not again,'" John Hicks said. "[Jaye] came in and locked it down."

Jaye allowed the leadoff runner to score thanks to a wild pitch and a groundout, but he avoided further damage by retiring Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez. After Mike Moustakas' double over center fielder JaCoby Jones' head leading off the second inning, Jays retired the bottom of the Royals' lineup in order.

"Just trying to get as many outs as you can," Jaye said. "The first [inning] was definitely the toughest to get through, just because I'd never been in that situation where I had to warm up on the game mound and then go straight into a hitter. Usually, you have time to sit down or something."

Hardy, meanwhile, was also getting ready. He didn't know who would get the call when the phone rang following Sanchez's injury, but he knew he would have to cover innings at some point.

"As soon as it happened, we all knew everyone's pitching in today," Hardy said. "We're going to try to keep this game close."

Hardy entered in arguably the biggest inning. Though the Tigers took control with a seven-run second inning, they needed a shutout third. A one-out walk to Cain gave the Royals some life to cut into a 7-1 deficit. But Hardy retired Melky Cabrera and Hosmer to shut it down.

"Baseball's a game of momentum," Hicks said, "and when you get the momentum on your side and you get that zero right after it, you come back in and it just keeps building momentum for you."

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Detroit Tigers, Myles Jaye