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Ozzie Guillen sticks with Mark Teahen at 3rd base

Updated: July 18, 2011 9:11PM

DETROIT — Mark Teahen started at third base Friday instead of Brent Morel because manager Ozzie Guillen wanted to protect the rookie from “the monster,’’ Justin Verlander. Guillen said Teahen started Saturday against Max Scherzer because Scherzer was tough on right-handers, too. Two Teahen starts and two Sox victories later, it was a matter of staying with the hot hand Sunday.

For the third consecutive game since the All-Star break, the left-handed-hitting Teahen (.228) played third. He went 1-for-4 in the Sox’ 4-3 loss to the Tigers after going 2-for-4 in the Verlander game and 1-for-3 with a double against Scherzer.

“I want to be in there, but I understand,’’ Morel said. “For the way we were playing before the break and for us to play as well as we have the last couple of games, why would you switch anything up? I get it. I’m just rooting for those guys, and as long as we’re winning, why change anything?

“Teahen is playing well.’’

The job was Morel’s to lose in spring training because of his defense, but Teahen has played better with the glove than he did last season.

“His defense has been good all year long,’’ Guillen said.

The right-handed-hitting Morel (.243) will play in Kansas City in the series that opens tonight. The Sox face left-handers Danny Duffy and Bruce Chen on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“When you’re winning, the last thing you want to do is change the lineup and the momentum of the team,’’ Guillen said.

Teahen struck out against Jose Valverde in the ninth inning with the tying run on second and one out. He had a good swing at a fastball but fouled it off before striking out on a hanging slider.

“A slider that didn’t really slide,’’ Teahen said. “Sometimes that’s the best [pitcher’s] pitch in the game. We did a good job to get into that position and didn’t come up with the big hit, but we gave ourselves a chance.’’

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