DETROIT (AP) - Ryan Vogelsong started the season riding buses in the minors, hoping to get a chance to pitch in the majors for the first time since 2006.
The San Francisco Giants gave him a shot when Barry Zito got hurt and the 33-year-old Vogelsong made the most of the opportunity, becoming an All-Star.
``This is the dream of everyone who plays this game,' Vogelsong said, choking up, after the Detroit Tigers beat San Francisco 6-3 Sunday.
The right-hander, whose career was stunted by elbow surgery, was released by the Los Angeles Angels and Philadelphia Phillies last season after pitching three seasons in Japan.
Vogelsong is 6-1 with a 2.13 ERA, making him one of the players Giants manager Bruce Bochy picked to represent the NL next week.
``There's never been a time in my career when this seemed like even a realistic possibility,' Vogelsong said. ``A year ago, almost to the day, I got released and didn't know if I would ever pitch again.'
Bochy is glad Vogelsong is doing it for the Giants.
``He's not surprising anyone any more,' Bochy said. ``That's why he is going to the All-Star game. It got a little emotional when I told him. That felt great.'
Bochy gave Vogelsong the good news during Saturday night's rain delay in Detroit.
``I did tell my wife, obviously, and my parents,' Vogelsong said. ``I told them not to tell anyone because things spread so fast on Twitter and Facebook. My parents don't know what Facebook is, though. Or Twitter.'
Vogelsong gave the Giants a chance to sweep Detroit, giving up two earned runs in 6 2-3 innings, but poor defense and relief pitching negated his performance.
Magglio Ordonez hit a go-ahead, two-run single with two outs in the seventh inning and Detroit went to win.
Rick Porcello (7-6) gave up three runs and five hits over seven innings in a much-needed performance for Detroit's suddenly shaky rotation. He became the fifth pitcher since 1919 to have three wild pitches and hit three batters in a game.
Joaquin Benoit pitched the eighth, getting a lead-saving catch from left fielder Ryan Raburn. All-Star Jose Valverde closed the game for his 20th save in as many chances.
Jeremy Affeldt (1-2) took the loss after third baseman Miguel Tejada's throwing error extended the seventh inning. Ordonez took advantage with a single off Santiago Casilla that put Detroit ahead 4-3.
Brandon Inge gave the Tigers a three-run lead in the eighth with a two-run, two-out triple.
Detroit had lost two straight and four of five, falling out of first place in the AL Central.
``It was a big win because good teams don't get swept,' said Brennan Boesch, who hit a game-tying homer in the fourth.
The NL West-leading Giants had won nine of 11.
``You can see why they're the world champions,' Detroit manager Jim Leyland said.
San Francisco appeared to have a shot to retake the lead in the eighth inning when Aaron Rowand drove a ball to left-center, but Raburn sprinted and fully extended to snatch the ball.
``From my angle I didn't think Raburn had a chance, but he made a great diving catch,' Bochy said. ``If he doesn't make that, we take the lead and then we have a different bullpen strategy.'
Porcello gave up a double on his first pitch, then allowed only one more hit before Brandon Crawford's RBI groundout in the fourth inning.
The Giants went ahead in the fifth on Porcello's wild pitch and Cody Ross' RBI single gave them a 3-1 lead.
Detroit cut into the deficit when Miguel Cabrera hit a single to left and Ross mishandled it, allowing Boesch to score on the error.
Tejada had a chance to keep the Tigers scoreless in the seventh, but his throw across the diamond in the dirt wasn't scooped up by first baseman Pablo Sandoval on what should've been the third out of the inning.
``The error really hurt us because we had a chance to get out of that,' Bochy said. ``This was a tough one to lose. It would have been a big boost to sweep this team.
NOTES: Bochy picked three of his pitchers - Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Vogelsong - to be All-Stars and another one, Brian Wilson, was selected by the players. ... Detroit's Alex Avila was voted an All-Star by the fans, Cabrera and Justin Verlander were picked by the players, Valverde was a manager's selection, and Victor Martinez has a chance to be voted in as the Tigers' fifth player. ... San Francisco matched a season high with three errors. ... Porcello joined Victor Zambrano (2003), Joe Niekro (1985), Pete Broberg (1971), Rip Collins (1923) as the pitchers since 1919 to have to hit at least three batters and have at least three wild pitches in a game. ... Sandoval extended his career high hitting streak to 14 games. ... Detroit fired pitching coach Rick and promoted bullpen coach Jeff Jones was take Knapp's place.
The Associated Press News Service
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