Peralta returns, but Tigers lose

The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- The Detroit Tigers damaged their hopes of having home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

That was the most important issue in their 3-2 loss to the Miami Marlins on Friday at Marlins Park.

But it was far from the only storyline.

Detroit's Jhonny Peralta returned from a 50-game suspension for his involvement with the Miami-based Biogenesis lab for performance-enhancing drugs. He also played his first big-league game in left field.

Meanwhile, Detroit's star third baseman, Miguel Cabrera, came back to Miami for the first time since he was traded by the Marlins after the 2007 season.

But it was Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins' current slugger, who had the biggest hit of the game, a three-run double in the third inning.

"We've lost 100 games, but the guys are still playing," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "We had some great at bats, were patient. (Stanton) was fortunate enough to come up with the bases loaded and hit it down the line."

Stanton hit the ball to left field, where Peralta was stationed.

"I played deep to him, close to the wall. That's what they told me to do," Peralta said. "(Stanton) hit it perfect, close to the line. There was nothing I could do."

Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Stanton's ball "wasn't hit very hard," and the manager also said Peralta's inexperience at the position showed on the play.

"He was a little slow getting to the ball by Stanton," Leyland said in a matter-of-fact tone. "But overall, (Peralta) did fine, first time out there in a big-league game.

"Look, if you play Jhonny Peralta in left field, you are saying you are willing to accept what you get. He is not going to be Andy Dirks or Don Kelly that fast. I'm not saying it couldn't happen. But if you play (Peralta) out there, you are trying to get a hitter (in the lineup)."

Peralta, who had been the Tigers' starting shortstop, batted fifth and hit a run-scoring double in the sixth.

Prior to Friday, he had never had an outfield putout in 15 years of pro ball. That changed in the bottom of the sixth when he caught a fly ball by Stanton.

"This is an emotional day for me," Peralta said before the game. "This is where I want to be. I want to be back with the team, helping in any way I can."

The Marlins shut down the Tigers late with good defense and pitching. Placido Polanco made a sensational catch in the eighth inning, diving into the first row of the third-base stands to catch a foul pop by Kelly.

And in the ninth, Steve Cishek pitched a scoreless inning for his 34th save.

Tom Koehler (5-10) picked up the win despite battling a stomach flu.

"It one of those days that I had to gut through," Koehler said. "It was a great way to go out (for his final start of the season). I've been real pleased the way I've been throwing the ball the past couple of outings. I feel the experience I've had here is going to help me in the future."

Jose Alvarez (1-5) got the loss.

The Marlins got all their runs in the third after backup catcher Koyie Hill led off with a single. The inning seemed to stall after two quick outs, but that's when Polanco and Christian Yelich walked, and Stanton cleaned up with his three-run double to left.

The Tigers scored a run in the fifth when Alex Avila led off with a walk, advanced to second on Hernan Perez's single and scored on a single by Austin Jackson.

Detroit made it 3-2 in the sixth when Peralta hit his run-scoring double.

NOTES: Before the game, the Marlins fired president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest and his special assistant Jim Fleming, who had been with the team 12 and 11 years, respectively. ... Tigers RHP Rick Porcello (13-8, 4.38), who had been set to start Friday's game, was shifted to the bullpen, which is where he will be used in the postseason. He had a 1.66 ERA in his past three starts. ... Cabrera will be given a day off in Sunday's regular-season finale. 2B Omar Infante and RF Torii Hunter were rested Friday. ... Tigers LHP Phil Coke (elbow inflammation) will not pitch this weekend. ... Tigers RHP Bruce Rondon (elbow soreness) was to be evaluated Friday night regarding his status for the rest of the weekend. ... Marlins C Jeff Mathis is out for the rest of the season with a thumb injury. ... Pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs, 35, has reached an agreement to re-sign with the Marlins, according to The Miami Herald. ... Polanco, a three-time Gold Glove winner, entered Friday with just two errors and a .990 fielding percentage, which led the majors among qualifying third basemen.
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