CLEVELAND -- Rick Porcello has every intention of using Saturday night's outing as a springboard for sustained success.
Whether his next start comes for the Tigers or in the Minors remains to be seen, but the 21-year-old right-hander surely did enough Saturday to make staying with Detroit a legitimate possibility.
Making his first big league appearance since June 19, Porcello yielded six hits over eight innings of one-run ball with no walks and six strikeouts. He threw 99 pitches, 71 for strikes.
Porcello's sparkling effort went unrewarded in Detroit's 2-1, extra-inning loss to Cleveland in the second game of a day-night doubleheader. Yet the 2007 first-round Draft pick took plenty of positives from a game in which he performed superbly.
"I felt like I gave the team a chance to win," said Porcello, who is 4-7 with a 5.63 ERA in 14 starts for the Tigers this season. "I just have to keep working hard and build on this going forward."
Laird back in lineup after being hit by bat
CLEVELAND -- It wasn't long after Tigers catcher Gerald Laird strolled into the visitors' clubhouse Sunday morning that he received a visit from manager Jim Leyland.
"You OK?" Leyland asked.
"Yeah, I'm fine," Laird replied.
"Good," Leyland said. "Because you're playing today."
Such a scenario seemed rather unlikely following a grim scene in Saturday night's 2-1 loss to the Indians, when the barrel of Tribe catcher Chris Gimenez's shattered bat on a third-inning groundout hit Laird in the left side of the head.
"It's one of those things that happen," said Laird, who batted eighth in Leyland's lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Indians. "[Gimenez] finished his swing and it kind of clipped me. I'm just glad it wasn't the other end of the bat sticking in me. That's the scary part about being back there."
Tigers trainers evaluated the dazed backstop, who writhed in pain on the ground after absorbing the blow. Laird collected himself and remained in the game before being lifted for pinch-hitter Johnny Damon in the ninth following a one-hour, 53-minute rain delay.
"I was seeing some stars for a little bit because I got the barrel pretty good," Laird said. "Sometimes, they just glance off you, but that one got me pretty solid. It feels a little stiff and sore, but it's better today than it was yesterday."
Tigers manager Jim Leyland employed another reserve-heavy lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Indians, featuring a batting order that included third baseman Don Kelly, center fielder Ryan Raburn, catcher Gerald Laird and shortstop Danny Worth. All four players also started the nightcap of Saturday's doubleheader. ... Center fielder Austin Jackson entered Sunday having hit safely in nine of his 11 games vs. Cleveland this season, batting .388 (19-for-49) during that stretch. ... Catcher Alex Avila began Sunday having thrown out 38.7 percent of attempted basestealers this year (12-of-31), tops among American League backstops. ... Detroit entered Sunday's action tied for second in the AL with 18 outfield assists.
John Barone is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.