ANAHEIM -- When he took the mound in Thursday night's series finale against the Tigers earlier than anticipated, trying to restore some order after Joe Saunders was knocked out in the third inning, Matt Palmer had two missions.
"My first goal was to go long enough in the game to keep the bullpen fresh, to get it to the seventh or eighth inning if possible," Palmer said. "As a long man, you know when you come in that early you're going to work three innings, so I had to get to the sixth.
"My second goal was keeping my team in the game."
Missions accomplished. Palmer shut out the Tigers across 4 1/3 innings, the longest relief outing of his career. Brian Stokes and Jason Bulger also delivered after Palmer departed, but the Angels fell, 5-4.
Palmer, an emergency starter last season who won his first six decisions and finished 11-2, hasn't yielded a run in 8 2/3 innings out of the bullpen despite walking nine men.
"That's my job," he said. "When the starter doesn't have his A game, it's up to me to come in and prolong the game. It feels good to save some arms in the bullpen."