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Figaro beats Brewers in major-league debut

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Associated Press
June 20, 2009
— Alfredo Figaro didn't have a chance to get his family to Detroit for his major league debut on Saturday.

Luckily for him, one relative was already in town.


Figaro pitched five strong innings and his cousin, Detroit closer Fernando Rodney, finished the game as the Tigers beat the Milwaukee Brewers 9-5.


"My family was in the Dominican Republic Rodney was the only one in town," the 24-year-old Figaro said. "They must have been watching my phone is full of messages telling me that I looked good on TV."


Figaro, who was called up from Double-A to replace Dontrelle Willis in the rotation, allowed two runs and eight hits, striking out seven.


"I thought the kid showed a lot of poise," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He didn't go out there and just try to throw every pitch by the Brewers that's what you worry about with a young kid that throws hard. He tuned it up to 98 when he needed it against a real good hitting club."


Figaro wasn't overpowering, but was able to avoid the big hit that could have gotten him in trouble.


"We had some good swings today, but give that young guy credit he stranded eight runners in five innings," Milwaukee manager Ken Macha said. "He made some big pitches when he needed them."


Figaro's biggest mistake was a 1-1 change up that Ryan Braun hit over 400 feet into the left-field stands.


"When he hit that, I told myself 'Welcome to the big leagues,'" Figaro said. "That was my best change up, and he hit it a long way. I decided right away not to throw that guy any more change ups."


Dave Bush (3-4) took the loss, falling to 0-4 in his last six starts. He gave up five runs on seven hits in three innings.


"Dave got knocked around again, and I felt with a full bullpen that three innings were enough," said Macha, who pulled Bush after only 51 pitches. "I'm hoping that a short outing will give him some rest and give him a chance to get straightened out."


Milwaukee went ahead 1-0 on Craig Counsell's second-inning RBI single, but the Tigers responded with three in the bottom of the inning on a two-run single by Josh Anderson and an RBI triple by Gerald Laird.


Braun pulled the Brewers within a run with his leadoff homer in the third, but Cabrera's two-run shot made it 5-2 in the bottom of the inning.


The Tigers added two more in the fifth on Polanco's third homer and Brandon Inge's sacrifice fly, and made it 9-2 with another pair of runs in the sixth.


"I was hoping that our bullpen could come in early and pitch like they've been doing all season, but that didn't happen," Macha said.


Milwaukee scored twice in the seventh and once in the eighth, but Detroit's bullpen held on.


Polanco left the game in the eighth with stiffness in his left leg he was hit by a pitch two innings earlier. Leyland said that he already been considering giving Polanco Sunday off, and that the injury meant he would definitely not play in the series finale with Milwaukee.



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