Detroit 3, Seattle 5 (box)
Justin Verlander had been perfect in May until he ran into the Seattle Mariners last night. More specifically, until he ran into Milton Bradley and Franklin Gutierrez.
The Tigers ace retired the first two batters of the game last night when Gutierrez lined a sharp single into left for the first Seattle hit. The next batter, Bradley, found a fastball to his liking and launched a two-run homer to right, putting the Mariners ahead 2-0.
After Detroit had tied the game, and eventually taken the lead at 3-2, it was Gutierrez that homered off Verlander (5-3) in the sixth to even the game at 3-3. With Verlander still working in the eighth, Chone Figgins doubled with one out, followed by a Gutierrez walk, which set up Bradley for the go-ahead single that scored Figgins and put the M’s ahead for good. Gutierrez would score the fifth run on a sacrifice one batter later.
The in-between story was about the Tigers offense and their lack of ability to capitalize on opportunities.
Doug Fister came into the game sporting the AL’s best ERA, but the Tigers looked to get after him early. Detroit put two on in the first, but couldn’t score. They left two more on base in the second, when they scored twice, but had runners at second and third with one out, only to leave them there.
In the third, Detroit had runners at the corners with one away when Don Kelly lined into a double play to end the threat.
In a game when the Tigers had their ace on the mound, and a lineup sans Miguel Cabrera, they needed to take advantage of any chances Seattle gave them. Too often they didn’t get the job done. Fister was good, but not so good the Tigers shouldn’t have won this game.
More after the jump.
- Brandon Inge– Inge had two hits including his fifth homer of the year, which briefly gave the Tigers a lead. It was just the second long ball given up by Fister all year.
- Milton Bradley– Bradley was all smiles after his two-hit, three RBI performance last night.
- Justin Verlander– JV allowed two home runs, which ultimately was his undoing. If he keeps the ball in the yard, he wins. Five earned runs in 7.1 innings, but three came via the long ball.
What’s on tap?
The Tigers will finally end their trips to the left coast for the season when they battle to Mariners again this afternoon. Jeremy Bonderman takes the ball in hopes of salvaging a split of this two game series, and giving the Tigers a winning trip. They are currently 3-3 on this seven game swing.
Bonderman took the loss in his last start in Seattle on April 16, a game in which he was shelled for eight earned runs (10 total) in just four innings. In four May outings (three starts), Bonderman has pitched well, posting a 1-1 record and fanning 20 batters in 20 innings. His ERA this month is just 1.58.
The Mariners will counter with lefty Jason Vargas. Vargas is enjoying the best season of his career by far, posting a 3.08 ERA in eight starts coming in. His 3-2 record is more a case of him not getting much in the way of run support.
Vargas was acquired in the J.J. Putz trade with the Mets prior to 2009. His ERA coming into this season was 5.43 in better than 218 big league innings, mostly in the National League. He has never faced the Tigers, but has seen two of their players; Johnny Damon and Adam Everett are a combined 1-for-4 against him.