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DET@TEX: Porcello induces a sixth-inning double play

Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello has to turn back the calendar a few years to find the last time he beat the Orioles. Three years, to be exact: Aug. 6, 2009.

Back then, Porcello was a young rookie, just happy to be in the Majors for his first full season.

Now he will look for another win against Baltimore as the two teams square off at Comerica Park on Saturday.

He took a loss to the Rangers on Sunday after allowing six runs (four earned) on nine hits in six innings. Though he is 3-2 in his last seven starts, he has a 5.40 ERA, and opponents are batting .329.

"It was definitely a grind for sure," Porcello said of the outing against Texas, "but results obviously weren't what we were looking for."

Though the Tigers have been on a roll over the last month, with a 28-15 record, the Orioles have been coming on strong recently, winning nine of their last 13 games. Detroit got the upper hand in Friday's series opener, with a 5-3 win, in what is an important series for both clubs as they battle for American League Wild Card positioning.

Zach Britton will start for Baltimore as he tries to rebound from his previous outing, on Aug. 7 against the Mariners, in which allowed seven runs (four earned) in five innings of work, walking four in a no-decision.

The left-hander has permitted four earned runs or more and hasn't gotten through six innings in four of his five starts this season.

"I've gone through an injury, and then coming back in Spring Training, I had a setback, then [I was] rehabbing all the way through coming back and not feeling I'm 100 percent. My stuff's not there, but I'm healthy," Britton said. "It's frustrating, because I've never gone through this before. I've always been able to kind of get in a good rhythm through a season and put together long stretches of good outings. I haven't been able to do that at all this year.

"I feel if I can get through this season and finish strong, I can get through anything through the rest of my career."

Orioles: Hammel increasing efforts
Jason Hammel, recovering from surgery on his right knee, will throw a bullpen session on Saturday, and the plan is for him to attempt more pitches than he did in his previous session, on Wednesday.

"The original injury, when I threw the pitch in the game that time, it hurt [behind the knee]," Hammel said. "So it's obviously dealing with getting past that, because it's still a little tentative to push off of it. But the first 'pen I threw was like 70 percent, second 'pen was about 90 percent. So a little more effort, and I was a little more sore that last time. But [that's] to be expected when you're putting more effort into it."

Hammel and the Orioles are still targeting a return in early September, with his next step throwing in a simulated game.

• Wilson Betemit took a cortisone injection in his sore right wrist on Thursday and headed to the team's spring facility in Sarasota, Fla., as expected.

Tigers: V-Mart out for 2012
Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand told reporters at Comerica Park on Friday that he's now gearing Victor Martinez's rehab work so Martinez can be ready for Spring Training 2013.

Rand said that Martinez, who underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee in January, needs to have more strength in his left leg. The time it will take for that won't allow Martinez to take the field before season's end.

"Victor's worked extremely hard, obviously, to give himself a shot to play this year," Rand said. "Unfortunately, the leg strength wasn't to a degree where we feel comfortable that the risk is worth the return. Basically, we're starting to look at 2013.

"He's going to continue the strength and conditioning. He's going to take a little time off from therapy, because he has been working since January every single day. We're going to continue to address the single-leg strength, get that to where we feel comfortable beginning a running progression."

Worth noting
• Orioles center fielder Adam Jones is homerless in his last 75 at-bats, his longest stretch without a long ball.

• The Tigers have won 17 of their last 20 games at Comerica Park, dating back to July 4. Comments