When the Detroit Tigers needed a stellar effort out of Drew Smyly, their starter did not disappoint. He, along with a lineup that rose from the ashes of the weekend to get some timely hits, salvaged one game of the four-game series with the Cleveland Indians, getting the 5-1 win before a sellout crowd of 41,736 at Comerica Park.
In today’s game preview, there was a little apprehension that Smyly could not be the stopper that the Tigers needed. Not only did they need a strong effort from him in an attempt to snap their four-game losing streak, and salvage a game from the four-game series with Cleveland, but they needed him to go deep in the game.
His recent track record showed that was questionable, however Smyly was a breath of fresh air for the seven innings he pitched. Drew allowed just four hits, one run, struck out six, and walked two. He did not allow his first hit until two outs in the fifth inning.
Detroit opened the scoring in the first as Austin Jackson continued his torrid hitting with a double. He was brought home by an Ian Kinsler single. Two fly ball outs from Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez brought home the second run. It stayed that way until the fourth inning when Torii Hunter hit a two-run home run to make it 4-0.
Smyly gave up his only mistake of the day when he served up a homer to Yan Gomes to pull Cleveland within three runs, at 4-1, in the seventh inning.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, with everyone’s favorite Tiger (if you consider everyone who does not play for, or root for, the Tigers) Joe Nathan warming up, Nick Castellanos came through with a clutch double hit deep into the gap of right center, scoring Hunter to make it 5-1.
Despite the game now being a non-save situation, and with Rick Porcello inexplicably throwing in the bullpen, Nathan came in to the ballgame. After throwing 25+ pitches last night, he needed just nine to set the Indians down in order to preserve the much-needed Tigers’ victory.
The Tigers will head out west with their first stop in the desert to face off against Kirk Gibson and Alan Trammell‘s reeling Arizona Diamondbacks for three games beginning Monday night. Then they’ll head out to Anaheim to face one of the hottest teams in baseball, the Los Angeles Angels, for four games in a place they rarely have success.