box) For the second time in this series, the Detroit Tigers touched ..."/> box) For the second time in this series, the Detroit Tigers touched ..."/>

Cabrera, Inge Power Tigers Past Rangers

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Detroit 8, Texas 6 (box)

For the second time in this series, the Detroit Tigers touched up the previously untouchable Neftali Feliz. Feliz, the Rangers flame throwing closer, had dazzled all of baseball with his plus command and his arsenal of power pitches. Since arriving in the big leagues a season ago, Feliz has been the hot name among relievers.

This first chink in his armor came the other night, when the Tigers hung a blown save on the right hander. The next came last night, when Miguel Cabrera and Brandon Inge each went yard back-to-back style to give the Tigers an 8-6 victory, earning a series split. The Tigers wrapped up their 11-game road trip through the AL West at a very respectable 5-6.

But the game didn’t look like it would need late-inning heroics, not with the Tigers jumping out to a 6-1 lead behind Jeremy Bonderman. The Rangers would not go away, putting together a series of two-out rallies, consistently chipping away at the deficit, and eventually tying the score with two in the seventh against Joel Zumaya and Phil Coke.

Bonderman appeared to be cruising to a victory in the sixth, having entered the frame ahead by four and having allowed just three hits. With the bases empty and two away, the Rangers began to rally and Bonderman fell apart. After a single by Josh Hamilton, who had homered earlier, Bonderman left an 0-2 slider up in the zone to Vladimir Guerrero who extended the inning with a single of his own. Again ahead in the count, Bonderman made another mistake and David Murphy crushed a two-run double to bring the Rangers within two. Bonderman lost the next hitter to a walk and was lifted from the game.

Cheers and Jeers after the jump.

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Cheers for

  • Brandon Inge– No sooner does MLive run a story lamenting his lack of home runs this year than Inge goes deep twice in last night’s game. He came darn close to hitting a third when he doubled high off the left field wall in the seventh.
  • Miguel Cabrera– “El Martillo” (I’m sticking with that nickname as “Cabby” cannot stand) gave the Tigers the game with his opposite field blast in the ninth, which was his fifth of the year. Three of those bombs have come in the ninth inning, all against closers. He is quite simply the best right handed hitter in the AL.
  • Jose Valverde– Another 1-2-3 ninth for the Big Potato. With all the successes of Todd Jones and Fernando Rodney in the closer’s role over the years, I’d still rather have Valverde. This guy is wildly entertaining.
  • Vladimir Guerrero– After two years of decline, Guerrero reminded us all that he was once perhaps the best player in baseball. He had a very good series and showed both a bat speed and a foot speed that had seemed missing in Anaheim. He’s not what he used to be, but he can still be pretty darn good.

Jeers for

  • Jeremy Bonderman– perhaps this is a reach, as for most of his outing he was very, very good. But he lost concentration a couple of times with two outs and left the door open to a Texas comeback. On a day when the Tigers needed a long outing, Bonderman kept his pitch-count down, but couldn’t maintain his effectiveness and failed to survive the sixth.
  • Matt Harrison– After getting torched twice versus Detroit a year ago, the Tigers hung six earned in six innings on the lefty last night.
  • Neftali Feliz– Feliz allowed seven hits and four earned runs in three innings of work in this series. Entering the series he had allowed just nine earned runs on 18 hits in over 38 career innings, none of which came against Detroit.

What’s on tap?

There will be a write-up on this later, but the road-weary Tigers head back to Detroit to square off with Minnesota for a pivotal early-season series between the division’s top two clubs.

Detroit will look to Justin Verlander in game one and he will try to get his game together for the first time this season. If the Twins can effectively drive up his pitch-count, the Tigers overworked bullpen will be back in action early again today.

In his last start, Verlander used 125 pitches to make it through five innings. That’s not good.