DETROIT -- Lost in the depths of Prince Fielder's home runs Friday night was the performance of the Tigers' bullpen to hold down a game Fielder tied. That included Joaquin Benoit, whose second perfect inning in three days furthered the hope that his midsummer struggles are behind him.
Pitching coach Jeff Jones is among the most hopeful.
Benoit needed 12 pitches, eight of them strikes, to retire the Orioles in order Friday night. He didn't record a strikeout, but none of the balls the O's hit got out of the infield. Matt Wieters, whose two-run homer off Justin Verlander in his previous at-bat put the O's in front, grounded out to second. Chris Davis swung and missed at back-to-back changeups before popping out to short, then Joe Mahoney lined out to second base.
Add that to his perfect inning with two strikeouts Wednesday at Minnesota, and Benoit has gone consecutive outings without a baserunner for the first time in four weeks.
Jones said he and Benoit made a tweak to try to get his front leg higher in his delivery. By doing that, Jones said, Benoit's balance in his delivery should be better, and he should be able to get more turn when he throws.
It's a small tweak, but to Jones, it wasn't a big issue to begin with. Benoit has given up 11 hits over 13 innings since the All-Star break, which isn't unusual. The fact that seven of those 11 hits were home runs is.
"He just went through a crazy stretch, in my opinion," Jones said Saturday. "You can't go out there and try to give up home runs and give up that many."