There Rick Porcello was after Monday night’s crushing 6-1 loss at U.S. Cellular Field, taking the high road, and blaming himself.
Funny, really. He’s well down the list of people I’d blame for that debacle.
“Pitch well, score runs and play good defense,” Porcello said.
Those are his recipes for success; those are most teams’ really.
The Tigers, though, accomplished exactly one of those Monday. They scored one run, and made three errors — so the hat tip goes to pitching.
Porcello’s final line won’t be anything we all remember years from now. He lasted just 5.1 innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits. But it’s the big outs he made that were impressive.
Three times in the first four innings, the White Sox had a runner at second base with nobody out. All three times, Porcello rose to the occasion and slammed the door.
In the first, Alejandro De Aza walked and stole second (replays showed he was out), but Kevin Youkilis lined (albeit, very sharply) to first, Dewayne Wise grounded to short and Paul Konerko struck out looking.
In the second, Alex Rios led off with a double and advaned to third on A.J. Pierzynski’s fly to right field, but Dayan Viciedo popped to first and Alexei Ramirez grounded to third.
And in the fourth, Wise led off with a routine fly to left — only to end up on second base when Ryan Raburn flat-out dropped the ball. Porcello, though, was up to the challenged once again, getting Konerko to ground to third, Rios to ground to short and Pierzynski to strike out swinging.
The Tigers led 1-0 through five innings, thanks to Porcello’s grit.
“Rick pitched very well. We put him in a little tough spot a couple times defensively,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
“The last time, he just didn’t pitch out of it.”
In the sixth, he struck out Youkilis to start the inning and appeared to have Wise out on a routine grounder to second, but Omar Infante booted it — and that was the opening the White Sox needed.
Konerko followed with a single and Alex Rios hit a sinker that stayed up in the left-field seats.
“High sinkers,” said Leyland, “usually go a long way.”
Porcello didn’t second-guess the pitch selection; he might want the location back, however.
He probably was more pleased with the pitch he made to the next batter, Pierzynski, a fastball down. But he hit it out, too, this time to center field.
“They were just gort me that one inning,” Porcello said. “Tonight, they were better than me in that inning.”
As a result, Porcello (9-12) suffered yet another hard-luck loss. He’s taken a loss in each of his last six starts, and only once during that span has he allowed more than three earned runs.
But the Tigers offense has done little in his corner. In the six starts, they’ve scored 10 runs total.