DETROIT -- Luke Putkonen began Thursday heading north on Interstate 75 from Toledo, Ohio, called back to the big leagues as a fresh reliever after the A's had battered Detroit's bullpen.
"We're not looking to have this situation," manager Jim Leyland said the night before, "but you never know."
By the end of the day, Putkonen was pitching. By the end of the game, he was a huge reason the Tigers were able to come back and win.
Putkonen replaced Max Scherzer in the sixth and racked up four strikeouts over two scoreless innings. He pounded the strike zone with his mid-90s fastball to go with a curveball and changeup he commanded.
It was one of his better outings of the year, and it came on a day when he really didn't have time to think about the hitters he'd be facing.
"I just wanted to come in and put up a couple zeros," Putkonen said afterward.
It marked the second time this season Putkonen has delivered two or more scoreless innings, both in late-inning victories. He pitched 2 1/3 hitless innings with four strikeouts May 2 in Houston, where his extra-inning work allowed Detroit to pull ahead in the 14th inning.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.