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.
Schlereth's rehab assignment going well
DETROIT -- Daniel Schlereth now has six innings of one-run, three-hit ball under his belt in his rehab assignment at Class A Lakeland after a hitless inning on Saturday night.
Schlereth, who is rehabbing from left shoulder tendinitis, started the game for the Flying Tigers and recorded a walk and a strikeout in his inning. He has allowed one hit over 3 2/3 innings in his last three games, but has walked five batters over that stretch.
With two weeks left in Schlereth's Minor League rehab assignment, the question is now whether and when he'll be promoted to pitch at one of the upper levels in the farm system. That's the next logical step if he has any chance of spending September with the big club.
Baserunning outs plaguing Tigers
DETROIT -- Jhonny Peralta had the Tigers' lone hit with runners in scoring position on Saturday, and it resulted in Detroit's only two runs. But in the process, he also might have run the Tigers out of a bigger rally.
With his eighth-inning flare to right field, Peralta not only drove in the first runs off Pedro Strop since July 3, he turned what had been a 3-0 shutout bid into a one-run game. When he kept on going to second as right fielder Nick Markakis threw home, however, he became an easy target for first baseman Mark Reynolds, who cut off the throw and got Peralta caught up in a rundown.
"I thought the ball was going home," Peralta said. "I knew it was going to be a close play at home plate and everything, so I tried to make it to second base."
It wasn't something the Tigers were trying to push.
"Really, the general rule of thumb there is if the ball is low, you can't go, because it's a ball that can be cut," manager Jim Leyland said after Saturday's game. "If the guy air mails it and throws it high, then you go on to second. It was probably just a mistake in judgment on Jhonny's part, to be honest with you."
Asked about the philosophy of taking the extra base and sacrificing the out to make sure a run scores, Leyland said, "I think that's one of the most -- not in this particular case, I'm just talking in general -- one of the most misunderstood plays in baseball.
"When there's a confusion there, whether they're going to throw the guy out at home or not, years ago they thought, 'If you think they're going to throw him out at home, keep going.' I don't believe in that. You can't do that. You've gotta go by the way the ball's thrown."
According to STATS Inc., the Tigers have made 38 outs trying to take an extra base, third-highest among AL teams behind the Angels (42) and Rays (39) heading into play on Sunday.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Anthony Odoardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.