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Galarraga, Detroit dominates Indians 6-0

Associated Press

Detroit Tigers starter Armando Galarraga pitches against the Cleveland Indians in the third inning of a baseball game on Friday, Aug. 20, 2010 in Detroit.

DETROIT — Armando Galarraga doesn’t know why the Cleveland Indians can’t hit him.

The Indians can’t figure out how anyone else can.

Galarraga, facing the Indians for the first time since his near-perfect game on June 2, pitched seven shutout innings to lead the Detroit Tigers to a 6-0 victory Friday night.

“I guess I’m just comfortable pitching against those guys,” said Galarraga, who has only allowed four hits in 16 scoreless innings against the Indians. “Tonight, every pitch was in the zone, every pitch had a purpose and every pitch was on the corner. I just kept getting better and better. The sinker was good, the changeup was unbelievable and so was the slider.”

For the first half of the game, Galarraga was perfect again, retiring the first 14 Cleveland hitters.

“It crossed my mind — is this the good Lord somehow, is he going to pitch a perfect game because he didn’t get the other one,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “I did think that. I can’t lie. But as usual, I was wrong.”

Jayson Nix ended the drama with a double just over the glove of left fielder Don Kelly.

“It was a tough play, but I wish I could have got it,” Kelly said. “I was going full speed toward the wall, and I didn’t have a chance to look for the wall, so it was tough.”

Cleveland manager Manny Acta said he hadn’t started thinking about Galarraga’s second run at history, but he was quick to praise the Tigers pitcher for his performances against the Indians this season.

“He was brilliant tonight, just like he was brilliant against us the last time,” Acta said. “He deserves all the credit for what he’s done to us. He just keeps throwing strikes and they are all at the knees. That’s very tough to hit.”

Nix wasn’t with the Indians in June, but he knew exactly what was happening, especially after Brandon Inge had made a brilliant diving stop to rob Shelley Duncan of a hit earlier in the fifth.

“Everyone knows what happened in that game, so when he got into the fifth inning again, it was on everyone’s mind,” Nix said. “When Inge made that play — those are the plays you see in no-hitters — you started thinking about it a little more. I know everyone in the crowd was thinking about it.”

Before Nix’s double, Galarraga had retired 41 of the 42 Indians hitters he had faced this season. The only one to reach base had been Jason Donald, who was mistakenly called safe by first-base umpire Jim Joyce on what would have been the 27th out of Galarraga’s perfect game.

“I will always feel happy about that game — it was a great moment for me,” Galarraga said. “I’d change the last call so I pitched my perfect game, but I’d never change anything else about that day.”

After the hit, Galarraga (4-5) received a loud ovation from the crowd of 33,936. He finished by allowing three hits and matched a career high with eight strikeouts. He went 1-4 with a 5.12 ERA in 12 starts between the two outings against Cleveland.

“It has been a battle to find my mechanics, but now everything is coming together again,” he said.

While Galarraga was frustrating the Indians again, the Tigers offense was ending a three-game losing streak by beating up Cleveland starter Justin Masterson.

The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the first when catcher Lou Marson threw away Will Rhymes’ sacrifice-bunt attempt, allowing Austin Jackson to score from second, and doubled the lead later in the inning on Miguel Cabrera’s RBI single.

Gerald Laird and Jackson made it 4-0 with RBI singles in the second inning, and Rhymes made it a five-run game with a run-scoring base hit in the fourth.

Masterson (4-12) dropped to 1-4 in his last nine starts, allowing five runs on 11 hits and a walk in six innings. Masterson has now given up at least 10 hits four times this season, tied for fifth in the major leagues.

“I was decently pleased, because I got us through six innings,” he said. “I didn’t get many breaks tonight. It could have been worse, but obviously, it could have been a lot better.”

Kelly finished with a career-best four hits, finishing with an RBI double off Hector Ambriz in the eighth.

Game notes

Tigers RF Magglio Ordonez, who has been sidelined since fractured his right ankle on July 24, had his cast removed Friday. He is now wearing a removable boot, but is still on crutches. … Before the game, the Tigers optioned reliever Robbie Weinhardt to Triple-A Toledo on Friday and recalled relief pitcher Alfredo Figaro. Weinhardt was 1-1 with a 9.17 ERA in 18 appearances this season and allowed three runs while only getting one out Thursday against the Yankees. … Five of Cleveland’s hitters in the June 2 game against Galarraga are no longer with the team. One of them, Jhonny Peralta, started at shortstop for the Tigers on Friday.

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