Tigers 7, Twins 4 (box)
For the second straight day, the Tigers’ offense tagged the Minnesota Twins’ starting pitcher for seven runs. This time a struggling Nick Blackburn took the punishment. All of the damage was done on fly balls that cleared the fence.
The Tigers scored two in the first on a Miguel Cabrera home run to deep left center, Alex Avila and Magglio Ordonez hit matching solo home runs down the left field line in the second and third innings respectively, and Johnny Damon hit the big fly of the game–a three run job with no one out in the fifth that chased Nick Blackburn out of the game. Again, the Tigers wouldn’t add any runs against the Twins bullpen, but they had already put together a full game’s worth of offense, so we can hardly blame them. (More after the jump.)
Even though all the runs were driven in on four hits, the whole team contributed to the cause. Everyone in the starting lineup hit safely, except Brandon Inge, but he walked twice (one was intentional) so I’ll let him off the hook. Through the first two games of the series, the Tigers’ offense has managed 14 runs and 19 hits. Those certainly aren’t numbers we’re use to seeing against the Twins, but it’s a welcomed change.
On the pitching side of things, the Tigers were also solid. Jeremy Bonderman gave the team a quality start (6 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 1 BB), and he was rewarded with his fifth win of the season. It seems like he’s pitched much better than five wins, doesn’t it?
Daniel Schlereth relieved Bonderman to start the seventh inning, but he was removed, in favor of Robbie Weinhardt, after allowing a double to the only batter he faced. Robbie allowed Schlereth’s runner to score, but the runner advanced on flyball outs. Weinhardt, Phil Coke, and Jose Valverde combined to only allow one hit in the final three innings.
The goal is always to win the series, but you get greedy after winning the first two. Andy Oliver will climb the mound as the Tigers go for the Series sweep tomorrow. Tiger-killer Carl Pavano is scheduled to oppose him.
It was announced near the end of the game that Justin Morneau will be held out of the All-Star Game after suffering a concussion a few days ago. Paul Konerko will replace him on the roster, and Miguel Cabrera will presumably replace him in the starting lineup. Morneau will not be available for the series finale versus the Tigers on Sunday.