MINNEAPOLIS -- Octavio Dotel pitched just 1 2/3 innings in Saturday's 6-3 victory over the Twins, but his short stint -- in which he struck out four of the five hitters he faced -- had manager Jim Leyland indicating he was the difference in the game.
"The hero of the game for me was Octavio Dotel," Leyland said. "The key to the day was Dotel."
Starter Max Scherzer did not return to the mound after pitching into the sixth inning when a rain delay stopped play for 42 minutes.
With Scherzer out, Leyland tapped Dotel, who inherited runners on the corners with one out and the Tigers leading, 6-3. Dotel proceeded to strike out Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham to end the threat.
The veteran reliever then pitched a spotless seventh inning, striking out two more batters. It was not only a dominant showing, but an efficient one, as well. Dotel needed only 20 pitches to record the five outs.
"That was impressive," Leyland said. "That was not an easy situation to come in there to get both those guys like he did and then pitch another clean inning. We needed that."
A journeyman in the truest sense of the word, Dotel has played for 13 different Major League franchises, the most of any player in big league history.
If Dotel pitches the way he did on Saturday, he may stick around a while with the Tigers. So far this season, he has a 2.87 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings of work.