DETROIT -- For the fourth time this season, shortstop Jhonny Peralta hit fifth in the lineup and served as Prince Fielder's protection on Sunday.
Finding a reliable No. 5 hitter has been somewhat of an issue for Detroit's offense as of late. Designated hitter Delmon Young mostly had been delegated those responsibilities. But after posting a season .263 average batting behind Miguel Cabrera and Fielder, manager Jim Leyland made some adjustments.
Against right-handers, catcher Alex Avila and outfielder Brennan Boesch have split the duties in August. But with the Tigers in a five-game stretch against southpaws, the skipper turned to Peralta, who is in the position for the eighth time in the past two seasons.
"For me, it's not pressure," said Peralta prior to Sunday's series finale against the O's. "I don't care where I'm hitting. I've been [there] before -- four, five, third in the lineup. So for me, it's no pressure. I already know the game. It's a lot of [RBI] chances. Sometimes you [come through], sometimes not. But it's not pressure."
The 30-year-old Peralta went 1-for-4 on Saturday night in a 3-2 loss to Baltimore and knocked in Detroit's only two runs, although he did leave six runners on base prior to that.
Peralta has hit .214 (6-for-28) batting fifth in the past two years. His second-most career at-bats (932) have come in the five-hole, however, he does own his worst average there (.244) compared to any other spot. He's also batting .234 against lefties.