The fans at Comerica Park stuck around for fireworks after tonight’s 4th of July contest, but saw a bit of fireworks on the field, just not from the bats of the home team, as the Detroit Tigers saw their four-game winning streak snapped. Some tempers flared a bit following alternating hit batsmen, but when all was said and done, the Tampa Bay Rays got the better of the Tigers, winning 6-3.
Drew Smyly started and experienced his second straight tough outing, though this one cannot be explained away by an illness like the last one. Smyly could only pitch into the sixth, threw 102 pitches, and was on the hook for five runs on seven hits.
Tampa Bay opened the scoring in the third when Ben Zobrist doubled home Desmond Jennings. One inning later, Evan Longoria hit a home run to left field to make the score 2-0. Two innings later, with the score 2-1, Longoria was hit by the first pitch. This may have been in retaliation to Victor Martinez getting drilled earlier in the game–or it could have been due to Smyly’s wildness (considering the next batter walked). Either way, Longoria seemed to take exception to it.
Two batters later, Sean Rodriguez tripled, clearing the bases and Smyly’s day was done with the Rays leading 5-1. In the bottom of the inning, Ian Kinsler led off and was promptly hit by Tampa Bay starter Alex Cobb. The next batter, Miguel Cabrera, motioned toward the mound, umpires warned both benches, and Rays’ manager Joe Maddon was ejected for protesting the warning.
The Tigers had a golden opportunity to climb back into the ballgame during that inning. After scoring a run, they loaded the bases with no outs, but Hunter grounded into a double-play, scoring one additional run, but Rays’ reliever Brad Boxberger ended the threat by striking out Don Kelly. Tampa Bay scored off Tigers’ reliever Chad Smith to make it 6-3 and they cruised to the victory.
Victor Martinez was removed for a pinch hitter, Rajai Davis, in the eighth inning due to back irritation. It’s unsure if the issue flared up after being hit by the pitch. His status for the rest of the series, and beyond, is unknown.
Austin Jackson was in the lead-off spot again, and after having a good couple of days in that position, he went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts.