This story was corrected at 1:30 p.m., May 24, 2011, to state that Charlie Furbush played at St. Joseph’s College for two years before transferring to LSU. He was drafted following his junior season there.


DETROIT – With the bases loaded and one out, Charlie Furbush’s major league debut Monday night wasn’t going exactly as planned.

It turned around in a hurry.

Furbush struck out the next two batters and worked 32/3 solid innings as the Detroit Tigers beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 6-3.

Furbush earned the win in dramatic fashion.

Starter Phil Coke was cruising along through 31/3 when he left the game with an injury and runners on first and second. Furbush started off by walking Sean Rodriguez to load the bases, then got out of the one-out jam by striking out Felipe Lopez and Kelly Shoppach to earn a standing ovation.

“He didn’t have time to think about it, he just pitched,” Tigers Manager Jim Leyland said. “I didn’t say anything to him. I just gave him the ball.”

Furbush, a South Portland native, was promoted by the Tigers on Saturday. He got his first big-league win in his first big-league game. Furbush played his high school and college ball in Maine. He played at St. Joseph’s for two years before transferring to LSU. He was drafted following his junior season there. As a starter this year for Triple-A Toledo, Furbush was 4-3 with a 2.91 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 461/3 innings.

That trend of quality pitching continued Monday. Furbush allowed just two hits and the initial walk while striking out three.

Fortunately for Furbush, some veterans chipped in with some timely hitting. Victor Martinez hit a two-run double and Jhonny Peralta had a two-run single in the eighth inning.

Coke started strong, needing just nine pitches to retire the side in the first and keeping the Rays off the bases until B.J. Upton drew a leadoff walk in the fourth. Coke’s outing ended in that inning though, when Ben Zobrist laid down a perfect bunt on the left side of the infield and the pitcher injured his right ankle trying to field it. And Furbush entered a Tigers game for the first time.

“He showed some great poise in that situation,” Rays Manager Joe Maddon said. “I’m not saying we should have pounded him, but you have to at least get the ball moving and give yourself a chance.”