Arizona 5, Detroit 7 (box)
Last night was all about the return of Dontrelle Willis to Detroit. The D-backs newest southpaw displayed the same wildness, and much the same results he found while pitching for the Tigers.
Detroit jumped out to an early 4-0 lead thanks to Willis’ wildness and some timely hitting. Willis walked the first batter of the game, a common occurrence for him, and two batters later, Magglio Ordonez crushed a two-run homer to the deepest part of the yard. In the second inning, Brandon Inge doubled to start the frame and rode home on a double by Danny Worth. Ryan Raburn then brought in another run with a sacrifice fly.
But for all of his struggles early, Willis settled in a bit and allowed just one more Tiger to cross the plate. His teammates battled back and tied the score at 4-4 in the fifth against Tigers starter Armando Galarraga. Galarraga was solid early, but wore down due to the oppressive heat and humidity, he said as much after the game.
Arizona got a homer from Miguel Montero in the fourth, then scored three times in the fifth before Galarraga was lifted from the game. After Detroit took the lead again in the bottom of the inning, Brad Thomas couldn’t hold it and the two teams were square at five headed to the eighth.
With a major storm threatening the game, Brandon Inge centered a Chad Qualls fastball and drove it over the head of Chris Young in center for a triple, scoring Brennan Boesch from first. Alex Avila then brought Inge home with an important insurance run. Jose Valverde, a former Diamondback, sat down the side in order in the ninth, picking up his 15th save of the year. (…)
- Brandon Inge– Inge collected a season-high three hits, falling a home run shy of the cycle. He scored twice and drove in the winning run with his eighth inning triple. He has risen his batting average all the way up to .264, by batting .397 (25-for-63) over his last 17 games.
- Danny Worth– As much as I was disappointed by seeing Worth’s name in the lineup, he delivered last night. After collecting just one hit in 16 at bats since being recalled, Worth came through by reaching base three times, including two hits.
- Magglio Ordonez– Last year, Maggs managed just nine home runs, and it took him until game 163 to do that. This year, in just 57 games, Ordonez has matched that total thanks to his two-run shot last night. He’s batting .333 and already has 45 runs batted in.
- Eddie Bonine– Bonine entered the game and immediately shut down the D-backs. He worked two full innings, allowing just one hit, keeping the game tied until the Tigers could scratch out some runs.
- Brad Thomas– Thomas has been good for Detroit this year, especially recently, but he was ineffective in his one inning of work last night. After allowing an inherited runner to tie the game in the fifth, he gave up one of his own to re-tie the game in the sixth.
- Armando Galarraga– He wasn’t nearly as good as he has been, but this wasn’t as bad as his numbers indicate, either. Galarraga had trouble with a lineup that featured seven left handed bats, neutralizing his slider and forcing him to nibble at the outside corner. Galarraga is much better when he’s attacking the zone, but he didn’t do that very often last night.
The Tigers will see another former teammate on the mound tonight, in the person of Edwin Jackson. EJax won 13 games and made the all-star team for the Tigers last season, but has struggled in his first campaign in the desert, posting a 5.18 ERA thus far.
Detroit will send another struggling right hander to the hill to oppose him in Rick Porcello, who was skipped over in his last turn through the rotation. For the Tigers to have success tonight, they’ll need Porcello to get his sinker down, and for Jackson to get his up. To see the opposing view, check out Venom Strikes.
The Tigers have closed to within a half game of first-place Minnesota, thanks to some favorable interleague scheduling. The Twins face off again with the Phillies today.