Baseball, more than any other sport, proves you can’t win ‘em all–and that sadly became reality for the Detroit Tigers as their 11-game road losing streak came to a halt Monday night with a walk-off loss to the Cleveland Indians, 5-4, at Progressive Field.
On a night after the Tigers got little sleep because of travel foibles coming from Boston to Cleveland, extra innings was probably not an ideal situation for the club, but they fought back twice to get there, so they’ll take it despite the outcome.
These dramatics wouldn’t have come about if not for some drama from the Tigers.
Down by a run in the bottom of the ninth, J.D. Martinez pinch hit for Andrew Romine and picked a pretty good time for his first homer as a Tiger, knocking a game-tying solo shot with one out in the ninth off Indians’ closer Chris Perez–ERRRRR Cody Allen. Detroit had an opportunity to take the lead later that inning when Ian Kinsler hit a base hit that got by center fielder Michael Bourn, putting Kinsler on second with two out, but Torii Hunter struck out to end the threat.
A lot was made about the Tigers late night Sunday/early morning Monday, but the one player that should have been the most rested, Drew Smyly, looked out of sorts through his five innings of work. Drew had flown out to Cleveland early in the day on Sunday but was shaky and walked five batters (a season-high for a Tigers’ starter). Though he allowed a run in the first, Smyly walked a tight rope through the third, fourth, and fifth innings, but his luck ran out in the fifth when Cleveland scored twice on singles from Nick Swisher and Jesus Aguilar.
The Tigers tied the score in the second on yet another homer from a white-hot Victor Martinez. The score would remain 1-1 until Cleveland reclaimed the lead in the fifth, 3-1. Rajai Davis brought home Nick Castellanos and Alex Avila on a seventh inning double, but Phil Coke, who was surprisingly in the game in the eighth after pitching a shaky seventh, allowed the go-ahead run, to put the Indians up 4-3 before J.D. Martinez’s ninth inning heroics.
The loss snaps the Tigers’ 11-game road winning streak and breaks their six-game winning streak since their last loss, at home to Minnesota on May 11. The win snaps Cleveland’s four-game losing streak.
You can expect the Tigers to be late to the ballpark again Tuesday, but this time because they’ll be sleeping in from their long travel night and extra innings. The teams will play the middle game of the series tomorrow at 7:05.