Cleveland 3, Detroit 4 (box)
Remember Nate Robertson circa 2006? If you do, you had a familiar feeling watching him pitch today. Robertson out-dueled Fausto Carmona for six innings today. He was, in a word, dominant.
Robertson was limited to around 85 pitches coming into this one, just his second start since returning from elbow surgery. He certainly made the most of his pitches. Robertson went six, allowing four hits and two walks, he fanned four and left with a 1-0 lead.
Curtis Granderson provided what looked like all the offense Robertson and the Tigers would need with a lead off homer in the bottom of the first against Carmona. Carmona was effectively wild throughout, holding the Tigers to just two more hits until the seventh.
That’s when the Tigers finally made him pay for his wildness. A one out walk to Adam Everett was followed by a Granderson single. Clete Thomas then brought both runners home with a two run triple to push the lead to 3-0, and end the day for Carmona.
Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end there. After Ryan Perry yielded a one out double in the eighth, Fu-Te Ni came on to get out of the jam. But three straight two-out hits tied the game and chased Ni.
The last of those three hits was a two-run double off the bat of Shin Soo Choo. There are at least some who feel Choo may have had an idea the curveball he hit was coming. Did Jamey Carroll (the runner at second) tip the pitch? Regardless, Choo still had to hit it.
Zach Miner held the Tribe at bay from there through the 10th, setting the stage for the Tigers’ offense. Ryan Raburn lead-off with a long double to center. Miguel Cabrera walked intentionally, the Magglio Ordonez did so unintentionally. With the sacks drunk with no one out, Placido Polanco lofted a lazy fly ball to center field that was deep enough to score Raburn and send the Tigers home winners again.
- Nate Robertson– This was vintage Robertson today. Simply one of the better pitched games by a Tiger all year. Perhaps those tissue masses were the problem all along. In 10 innings since his return, Robertson has allowed just eight hits and one earned run. Not only has Nate earned himself another turn through the rotation, but I think he may have the inside track to keep that spot as Galarraga and Washburn battle to be the fifth man.
- Placido Polanco-Polly didn’t start the game, but his sacrifice fly was good enough to end it. Another clutch performance from Polanco.
- Curtis Granderson– His lead-off bomb was the 22nd of his career and the fifth time he has done that this season. For a long time, it looked like that would be all the offense Detroit would get.
- Zach Miner– Miner worked 2.1 innings allowing just a walk to pick up the win. He really stepped up after the Ni blowup and saved the rest of the ‘pen for the Tampa series.
- Fu-Te Ni– Entering the game with a 3-0 lead and a runner on in the eighth, Ni couldn’t escape the inning. After getting Grady Sizemore for the second out, three straight hits, capped by a Choo double tied the game at three and stole a win from Robertson. Ni has been outstanding this season, but he didn’t have it today.
What’s on tap
Detroit heads to Tampato battle the Rays in a weekend series. Justin Verlander gets the ball for Detroit. Sunday will mark the return to Tampa of former Ray Edwin Jackson, who won 14 games for the Rays last year. The Twins were off, so the win puts the Tigers lead up to five full games, matching their largest lead of the season. Detroit is now a season-high 11 games over .500.