"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."