For eight innings, the Detroit Tigers embarrassingly botched rally after rally and it appeared they would be on the end of yet another low-scoring contest. J.D. Martinez decided he did not want to play the botched rally game any longer as he launched a majestic three-run shot deep into the Cleveland night to turn a 2-1 deficit into an eventual 4-2 victory.
The homer came off Cleveland closer Cody Allen, who came into the contest with a 2.24 ERA and 1.09 WHIP this season. The victory saved starter Kyle Lobstein from a hard-luck loss and instantly became one of the more memorable games of the 2014 season for Detroit.
The Tigers figured to have a formidable matchup with Carlos Carrasco going for the Indians, a starter who the team had knocked around for an ERA over eight. They put together several hits, but couldn’t push many around to score.
In fact, against Carrasco, they only scored once and that was via a bases loaded walk. The Tigers had several golden opportunities to score that wilted away behind strikeout after strikeout.
In the second inning, they had the bases loaded with no outs and the only damage came on the Alex Avila one-out walk which pushed home Detroit’s first run. They had second and third with one out in the fourth and first and third with no outs in the fifth and struck out each time to ruin the opportunity. Once again, they put two on, one out in the sixth and saw it erased on a Torii Hunter double-play. Detroit left a dozen on base.
Through the first six innings, the Tigers went 0-for-6 with a runner on third and less than two outs, and struck out five times. Carrasco pitched great out of jams, going 5.1 innings, allowing 10 hits and fanning 10 batters.
Kyle Lobstein started for Detroit and got better as the game progressed. His only real mistake of the evening was allowing a two-run, first inning homer to Carlos Santana. He went 5.1 innings, allowing five hits on two runs and matched Carrasco’s 10 strikeouts.
The bullpen was strong once again for the Tigers. Aside from a shaky, but scoreless, effort from Al Alburquerque, the rest of middle relief was sharp. Blaine Hardy and Phil Coke gave way to Joe Nathan who worked around a two-out hit for his 29th save of the season.
Avila was removed in the sixth inning after taking a foul ball straight to the mask. He fell back a bit and had to leave the game.