In a possible World Series preview, Tuesday night’s game turned out to be a pitcher’s dual that was pushed to extra innings.
Despite battling back in the ninth inning, the Detroit Tigers dropped the opening game of the series to the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 after Carl Crawford‘s walk off base hit that brought home Chone Figgins.
Crawford’s line drive to right field tailed away from Rajai Davis and bounced under his glove, allowing the winning run to cross the plate. Phil Coke took over for Joba Chamberlain on the mound and allowed the game-winning hit. Chamberlain would pick up the loss against the Dodgers.
Locked in a pitcher’s dual and a team offensive rut, newcomer Ian Kinsler roped a leadoff double off of Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen to start the ninth inning. A Victor Martinez single would plate Kinsler with two outs to force the extra frame.
The Tigers’ offense was a complete non factor from the third inning until the ninth inning, thanks to the excellent pitching from veteran Dan Haren. Since Alex Avila‘s single in the top of the second, the Tigers went 3-for-21 with two walks through the ninth inning; two of those hits would come in the ninth inning for the Tigers as well.
Haren and his hesitating throwing motion lasted six innings, allowing just three hits and one earned run while striking out four and walking one.
Austin Jackson was the only spark until the ninth inning for the offense on Tuesday night for the Tigers as he mashed his first home run of the 2014 season to tie the game at 1-1 in the top of the second inning.
Jackson’s homer was in response to Dee Gordon‘s, the Dodgers lead off hitter and smallest player. Gordon–the son of former major league pitcher Tom Gordon–has been good for one home run in each of the past two seasons. He would finish the game going 2-for-4 with both of his hits coming off of the reigning AL Cy Young award winner, Max Scherzer.
After pitching out of a first inning jam that included Gordon’s leadoff home run as well as a couple other hits, Scherzer would settle in nicely, allowing two earned runs while striking out eight and walking one through seven innings of work. Through two starts in 204, Scherzer has compiled a 1.20 ERA and a WHIP of 0.93.
Torii Hunter left the game in the bottom of the fifth inning due to a contusion on the left knee after sliding into the wall down the first base line in foul territory. Don Kelly took over for Hunter in right field for the remainder of the game.
- The Tigers begin interleague play early in 2014 with a ___ after going 12-8 in 2013. Last season, the Tigers were a +58 run differential in their 20 interleague games.
- After giving up four hits and two earned runs in his first inning of work as a Tiger, Joba Chamberlain struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings against the Dodgers. Chamberlain walked Figgins to start the bottom of the tenth inning before Tigers manager Brad Ausmus pulled him in favor of Phil Coke. Despite the walk, Chamberlain looked much more poised on the mound against the Dodgers, flashing that fastball-slider combination that made him a deadly bullpen weapon as a New York Yankee.
- Miguel Cabrera couldn’t get much going from the right side on Tuesday. Cabrera went 0-for-4 including a strikeout in the bottom of the ninth inning with Kinsler standing on second base. Against Haren, Cabrera wasn’t able to make great contact as he mustered three weak groundouts in each of his at bats against the Dodgers starter.
The Tigers (4-2) will finish up the short two-game series against the Dodgers (6-3) on Wednesday before traveling to San Diego to take on the Padres to finish off the west coast trip. Anibal Sanchez will toe the rubber for the Tigers, and the Dodgers probable pitcher has yet to be announced, but will more than likely be either Josh Beckett or Hyun-Jin Ryu. First pitch is set for 10:10 p.m. eastern time at Dodger Stadium.