DETROIT -- The days of Al Alburquerque as a two-inning reliever in the Tigers bullpen appear to be over. As hard as Tigers manager Jim Leyland is trying to sort out roles in his relief corps, he has no plans to stretch out Alburquerque again.
The high-strikeout right-hander with the nasty slider looked like he was poised to cover multiple innings with regularity for a stretch in late April, getting at least five outs in three consecutive appearances from April 17 to April 24. That included two perfect innings and five strikeouts against the Angels, arguably the best outing of his Tiger tenure.
Alburquerque has yet to post a perfect inning since. He has allowed two runs over five innings with nine strikeouts since, but it's the baserunner total -- eight walks and seven hits allowed -- that has been the concern.
The Indians scored what turned out to be a critical insurance run off Alburquerque in the eighth inning on Saturday after he finished the seventh. He began the eighth with a four-pitch walk to Jason Kipnis, who eventually scored on a Jason Giambi sacrifice fly.