Detroit 4, Los Angeles 3 (box)
Jeremy Bonderman seemed up to his old tricks last night. The Tigers right hander walked two for the first four batters he faced and allowed a home run to Kendry Morales, putting his team in a 3-0 hole after one inning.
Considering his struggles in his last start, there was no reason to think he was going to turn it around.
But he did just that, holding the Angels to just one hit over the next five frames and leaving the game with a quality start, and with his team trailing by a 3-2 score.
Jared Weaver baffled Tigers hitters throughout the majority of his seven innings of work. He scattered six hits and two walks, but held Detroit to only two runs, one coming on the first career homer by Don Kelly.
The Tigers had a golden opportunity to make Bonderman a winner in the sixth, but Johnny Damon was called out on strikes with the bases loaded on a pitch that easily could have been called a ball. Damon was ejected following the at bat when he noisily and demonstratively objected to the call.
When the game got to the ninth, it wasn’t Fernando Rodney but Brian Fuentes that awaited the heart of the Tigers order. Fuentes, just back from the disabled list, fell behind Miguel Cabrera 2-0, then fired fastball after fastball, Cabrera timing each one a little better as he fouled them away. With the count full, Fuentes served up another fastball, this one down and over the heart of the plate. Cabrera crushed it deep into the Los Angeles night and ties the score.
Fuentes followed a with a walk to Carlos Guillen, then after striking out Brandon Inge, walked Gerald Laird as well. Guillen got himself picked off for the second out, but Laird moved into scoring position on the play. With two outs and the go ahead run on second, Ramon Santiago was behind 0-2 and extra innings looked like a sure thing.
But Santiago swung at a ball that very nearly bounced before it got to him and lifted a flare to left field. Juan Rivera’s throw was just enough off line that Laird was able to slide in under the tag and the Tigers took the lead.
Jose Valverde worked a perfect ninth for his fourth save of the year. In total, Detroit relievers worked three innings of one-hit relief. Great jobs also turned in by Eddie Bonine and Phil Coke.
In all reality, this win doesn’t probably mean a whole lot, but the Tigers played very well throughout and managed to comeback once again. Given the other options, I’d much rather have a team that fights until the final out than one that rolls over when behind. That said, wouldn’t it be nice if just once in a while the Tigers could jump out to a three or four run lead?
Cheers and Jeers after the jump, as always.
- Miguel Cabrera- Seriously, there can’t be more than five hitters in the world better than this guy. Cabrera hit his second ninth inning, game-tying homer of the season. As my wife pointed out during his final at bat, he just never looks nervous, it’s as if he just knows he’s better than the guy on the mound and he pounces on his pitch seemingly every time.
- Austin Jackson- Jackson struck out three more times, giving him six in the past two games, but his defense was outstanding, just as it has been all year. I don’t know this to be true, but it sure feels like he gets to more balls that Curtis Granderson did in center.
- Don Kelly- Kelly hit a long home run to deep left center for his first career jack, he also made a couple of fine defensive plays behind Bonderman.
- Ramon Santiago- Razor Ramon went 2 for 4 and knocked in the winning run on a ball he had no business swinging at. Adam Everett would not have done that, I’m betting.
- Jeremy Bonderman- Bonderman held it together after a rough first inning, even working around a couple of errors. This start was a very good rebound from his last outing, and just what the Tigers needed to snap a two-game skid.
- Torii Hunter- You know, I really just don’t like him. I really never have. I know he’s all smiles and all that, but the former Twin just rubs me the wrong way. Plus he always seems at his best when facing Detroit.
- Howie Kendrick- After scorching the Tigers for six hits in the first two games, Kendrick took an 0 for 4 last night. Nothing to be ashamed of in itself, I just wanted to point that out. Keeping the bottom of the lineup off the bases was key to stopping the Angels last night. The bottom four Angels hitters went a combined 0 for 14.
What’s on tap?
The Tigers will try to split the series tonight and they’ll do so with Justin Verlander on the hill. Verlander (0-1, 6.88) will make his fourth start of the year and hopes to build upon a decent outing in his last effort, when he held the Mariners to three runs over seven innings while taking the loss. The Angels will counter with lefty Joe Saunders (1-2, 4.26), who tossed eight shutout innings at Toronto in his last start. A Detroit win tonight will not only help them keep pace with the first-place Twins, but end their streak on two consecutive series losses.