I shouldn’t say that the Detroit Tigers’ 5-1 win over the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night pulled them to within 1.5 games of the Cleveland Indians – because baseball is a long, long season and watching the standings everyday will send one to an early grave – but it’s always nice to beat the team that’s currently perched above you. So I guess I’ll mention it.
The big story of the game for the Tigers was starting pitcher Max Scherzer. Two singles and a sacrifice fly put Cleveland on the board early, but that would be the only two hits the Tribe would get off Scherzer all night. In fact, the only other baserunner the Indians would off Max was via a Carlos Santana walk (also in the first inning).
Scherzer was perfect in innings 2-8 and finished his portion of the game by retiring 22 consecutive batters. Oddly, Scherzer – one of baseball’s most prolific strikeout artists — didn’t strike out a hitter through the first four innings, but he finished by recording a none-too-shabby seven strikeouts against the final 12 batters he faced.
It wasn’t all Scherzer, however. Andy Dirks led off the sixth inning with a solo bomb to put the Tigers on the board and even the score 1-1, and Miguel followed with a two-run shot (plating Torii Hunter) two batters later – his (i.e. Cabrera’s) fourth homer in the last two games.
An Alex Avila walk and two singles by Omar Infante and Andy Dirks in the ninth inning plated the fourth run of the game. Miguel Cabrera was later intentionally walked to load the bases for Prince Fielder who was 0-4 with four strikeouts to that point in the game. Prince ripped a single to right field to give Detroit a 5-1 lead.
Jose Valverde came into the game in the ninth to close out the game in a non-save situation (he was warming up before the lead expanded to four). Never a doubt. I mean, a single and a hit batter put two runners on base, but Valverde never had to face the tying run, and (for him) that should be considered a rousing success.
The win ups the Tigers’ record to 24-19 (that’s a 90 win season pace). They’re doing just fine despite the recent mini-skid.