Tigers 7, Athletics 3 (box score)
The Detroit Tigers were looking to bounce back versus the Oakland A’s after dropping a 12-inning affair in the series opener on Friday night. With Justin Verlander scheduled to take the mound, you had to like their chances of doing just that.
The Tigers got a walk from Miguel Cabrera and a single off the bat of Prince Fielder to get runners on the corners with two out right away in the first inning, but were unable to push the run across as Victor Martinez flew out to end the half inning. Justin Verlander sent Oakland down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning.
Detroit couldn’t reach base in the second, and so it was Oakland that jumped on the scoreboard first. Seth Smith, Josh Donaldson, and Derek Norris pieced together three hits (a single each) to score a run, but the A’s wouldn’t score against Verlander again while he was in the game. Verlander ended up going six innings with six strikeouts, three walks, and three hits allowed.
The Tigers tied the game up the very next half inning when Torii Hunter played longball for the first time this season, taking a Brett Anderson breaking ball deep for a 460 foot solo home run. Detroit would get on the board again in the top of the fourth inning. Prince Fielder led off with a solo homer, and a Victor Martinez walk and a Matt Tuiasosopo single put two runners on for Jhonny Peralta, who drove them all in with another home run to cap off a four-run inning.
Al Alburquerque entered to pitch the seventh inning. He walked Eric Sogard and allowed a double off the bat of Derek Norris to put runners on second and third with nobody out. He got Andy Parrino and John Jaso on strikes, but couldn’t quite get out of the jam. A double by Chris Young plated both runners to bring Oakland to within four runs. Phil Coke entered the game and got Josh Reddick to ground out to end the inning.
Coke came back out to begin the eighth inning and started things off with a strikeout of Brandon Moss, but he was removed from the game in favor of Joaquin Benoit after allowing a single to Seth Smith. Benoit allowed a single, got a flyout, and walked a batter to load the bases with two outs, but stranded everyone by getting Jed Lowrie to look at a changeup for strike three. Benoit returned for the ninth inning and struck out the side after allowing a leadoff walk to Jaso.
- Benoit had to throw 36 pitches this afternoon and likely won’t be available to pitch on Sunday.
- Jhonny Peralta didn’t really have a great start to the season, but he’s quickly turned it around to the tune of a .310/.341/.405 slash line.
- The bullpen combination of Alburquerque, Coke, and Benoit allowed a BABIP of .571 today. They’ll perform better when batted balls find gloves.
- I wouldn’t be mad if Anibal Sanchez went eight innings on Sunday.