Pelfrey starts to turn corner in Tigers' rotation

Right-hander logs 5 1/3 solid innings in no-decision against Twins

Pelfrey starts to turn corner in Tigers' rotation

DETROIT -- Slowly, but surely, Tigers right-hander Mike Pelfrey is climbing his way out of the hole he dug early on this season. He entered Tuesday night's 7-2 win over the Twins -- 0-4 with a 5.80 ERA.

While Pelfrey took a no-decision, he turned in a solid start by giving up two earned runs over 5 1/3 innings. He surrendered seven hits and a walk, with two solo home runs.

Pelfrey said he thought he had a decent outing, but would have liked to go deeper into the game.

"I didn't do a very good job of throwing first-pitch strikes, or getting ahead in the count," Pelfrey said. "That's how you come out after five innings every time."

Pelfrey strikes out Park

Pelfrey has thrown six complete innings just two times in eight starts this season. In each of his last two starts, Pelfrey has been able to avoid a big inning, but said he still has some work to do.

"There's definitely progress, but I think it's harder to be worse than the way I started," he said. "But I've definitely been better, and it was tough to come out of the game."

Pelfrey retired seven straight batters between the third and fifth innings before giving up the first home run to Joe Mauer. The second homer came an inning later off the bat of Miguel Sano as the Twins took a 2-0 lead. The Tigers later rallied for seven runs in the seventh to secure a series win.

Pelfrey said he was trying to avoid walking Sano with a 3-1 count, and the pitch came back over the plate too much.

As for Mauer's home run, Pelfrey thought he made a good pitch, far enough inside.

"I went back and watched it, and it was probably three inches inside," he said. "That was just a good hitter putting a good swing on a pitch inside. I tip my cap to him on that."

Bench coach Gene Lamont filled in as manager after Brad Ausmus was suspended for one game for Monday's ejection. Lamont said he thinks Pelfrey has gotten better in each of his last three starts.

"I was happy with him tonight," Lamont said. "We just had to stop him right there, and that's why I took him out."

The bullpen was able to keep the Twins in check after Pelfrey exited, allowing just two walks over the final 3 2/3 innings.

Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.