Tigers Bounce Back to Even the Series with the Royals


Detroit 4, Kansas City 2 (box)

If you love pitching duels, this game was for you. Starting pitchers Justin Verlander and Luke Hochevar made it out of the seventh inning with a Miguel Cabrera solo home run as the only difference on the scoreboard.

Justin Verlander wasn’t as dominating (in terms of strikeouts) as we’ve seen him in the past, but he was very efficient. He threw 67% of his pitches for strikes giving up only five hits in his seven (plus) innings of work. He came back out to pitch in the eighth, but gave up two hits before being hooked in favor of Joel Zumaya.

Joel walked his first hitter on four pitches, and was taken out of the game after going to a 2-0 count on the next hitter with what appeared to be a blistered finger. I wouldn’t imagine that it would be serious, but it’ll be worth keeping an eye on.

Jose Valverde was called upon in the eighth inning with one out and runners on base. He quickly induced a double play to end the inning and then pitched an uneventful ninth inning for the save. It was the first time that Jim Leyland twice-baked the Big Potato, calling on him to pitch in the eighth and ninth innings. For the record, I like using the closer in a crucial situation in the eighth inning.

There were some nice positives on the offensive end too. Miguel Cabrera went Miguel Cabrera going 2-4 with a home run, Carlos Guillen’s two-RBI double in the eighth ended up being the game winning hit, and Brennan Boesch continued his magical rookie season going 1-2 with two walks. But the biggest positive that I took from the game may very well have been from Alex Avila. The young catcher was two-for-three plus a walk raising his batting average to .210. The average still looks poor, but it’s not so bad considering it was at .153 only eight days ago.

Jeremy Bonderman takes the hill tomorrow against Brian Bannister in the series’ rubber match. First pitch is scheduled for 2:10 pm.