The Detroit Tigers opened their two game series with a 14-5 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in what many picked as a preview of the World Series. There was never a dull moment in this game and if this is a preview of the Fall Classic, we would be in for a great one.
The Dodgers came out swinging and put up a 5 spot on Tigers’ starter Justin Verlander. Yasiel Puig walked, Hanley Ramirez singled two put two men on with one out for Adrian Gonzalez. Gonzalez doubled into the right field corner scoring both Puig and Ramirez to make it 2-0. Matt Kemp drove Gonzalez home on a single. Juan Uribe took things from bad to worse for Verlander by homering to left field with the help of a strong wind blowing straight out to left to make it 5-0 before the Tigers even picked up a bat.
The Tigers then provided the rest of the offense for the night off of Dodgers’ starter Hyun-Jin Ryu who only lasted 2.1 innings. They answered the Dodgers 5 spot with a 5 spot of their own in the 2nd. The first 5 batters reached base in the inning: Torii Hunter doubled, Nick Castellanos singled, Alex Avila singled home Hunter, Eugenio Suarez singled, and Rajai Davis singled home Castellanos. Avila scored on a wild pitch from Ryu before Austin Jackson struck out. Ian Kinsler and Miguel Cabrera then hit back to back singles to drive in Suarez and Davis to end the 2nd tied 5-5.
In the third, Castellanos doubled to left, Avila walked, and Davis singled, driving home Castellanos which ended Ryu’s night. Jackson hit a sacrifice fly to center driving home Avila which finished Ryu’s line of 2.1 IP, 10 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 2 K on 72 pitches.
Jamey Wright relieved Ryu and he did not do much better. In the 4th, all 6 batters who faced Wright reached: Cabrera and J.D. Martinez singled, Torii Hunter walked, Castellanos singled scoring Cabrera, Avila walked bringing home Martinez, and Suarez singled bringing home Castellanos. Chris Perez then came on to relieve Wright. Davis hit a sacrifice fly bringing home Castellanos to make the game which made the game 11-5.
The Tigers added a run in the 5th on a Martinez triple and Hunter double. They also added two more runs in the 7th with an Ian Kinsler single, a Miguel Cabrera triple (?!?), and another Hunter single to make the game 14-5. Between those two innings, Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly was ejected in the 6th for arguing balls and strikes with Gonzalez at the plate. Mattingly was already upset with the umpiring crew because of a review in the 2nd inning on the Hunter double in which Tigers’ manager Brad Ausmus took a lot of time before challenging the play.
What should not get lost in all of the offense which included a Torii Hunter walk and a Miguel Cabrera triple, two things I never thought I’d see in the same game, is how well Verlander recovered after the terrible first inning. Verlander shut down all 12 of the batters he saw from the 2nd to 5th innings and only surrendered a walk and an infield single in the 6th. Verlander’s line was 6.0 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 K after his first inning line read 1.0 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. He definitely fixed something after the first inning and put together a fantastic 5 innings of work after his brutal first.
The Tigers will end this two game set tomorrow at 1:08 as two All Stars will be toeing the slab. Max Scherzer will be on the mound for the Tigers with his 10-3 record and 3.47 ERA against Zack Greinke with his 11-4 record with a 2.66 ERA. Josh Beckett was originally slated to start this game, but he was put on the DL Tuesday with a left hip impingement.