ARLINGTON, Texas - Rick Porcello went to his normal spot on the Detroit Tigers bench after the eighth inning. He had every intention to finish what he started.
With a few pitches to spare, Porcello got his first career shutout, a 6-0 three-hitter over the sinking Texas Rangers on Thursday night for Detroit's seventh consecutive victory.
"This is extremely special to me," Porcello said.
The Tigers' Rick Porcello (21) and Alex Avila, right rear, go down the line as they celebrate after their win against the Rangers Thursday in Arlington, Texas. Porcello pitched nine innings, giving up only three hits in the 6-0 Tigers win. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Porcello (10-4) threw 105 pitches through eight innings. With relievers moving around in the bullpen, manager Brad Ausmus and pitching coach Jeff Jones discussed what to do with the right-hander, who did his best to avoid eye contact and then needed only 10 pitches in the ninth to get three groundball outs.
"You just worry about the pitch count. We don't want him going much above 115, maybe top out at 120," Ausmus said. "A 15-pitch inning is a good inning, so it's kind of a tall task to ask him to get through the inning, but he was able to do it."
Porcello limited the Rangers to three singles and benefited from three 4-6-3 double plays (second baseman Ian Kinsler to shortstop Eugenio Sanchez to first baseman Miguel Cabrera), including one after Texas had consecutive hits in the sixth.
"The ability to get two outs with one pitch is huge. I was able to execute those sinkers," Porcello said. "Without those guys, I don't know that I would have been able to go nine."
The right-hander struck out six and walked three, throwing 72 of his season-high 115 pitches for strikes.
It was only the second complete game for Porcello in 164 major league starts - all for the Tigers since 2009, and he has won at least 10 games in each of his six seasons.
Miguel Cabrera had four hits and Austin Jackson hit a two-run single for the AL Central leaders, who completed a three-game sweep.
While the Tigers have the longest winning streak in the majors, Texas has the longest losing streak at eight in a row. The Rangers, who last lost eight in a row in August 2005, are 1-6-1 their last eight series overall and 16-22 at home.