Minnesota 4, Detroit 3 (box)
Of course the season isn’t literally over, but this was one of those games that the ball club absolutely needed to win if they still had aspirations of winning the division. The Tigers fall to eleven back of the Twins, and the schedule math is now very very grim.
The Tigers’ offense looked promising early, but the fun would be short lived. A rare Minnesota error to lead off the game allowed Austin Jackson to reach base. Will Rhymes followed him by placing a nice bunt toward second base, and the Tigers had their first two aboard. Two batters later, Miguel Cabrera bounced into a fielders choice, moving Austin to third base, giving the team runners on the corners with two outs. Jhonny Peralta and Brandon Inge plated runs with back-to-back RBI singles, giving the Tigers a two run lead in the first inning.
Detroit would capitalize on another Minnesota error in the second inning. After a Casper Wells double to right center, and an Alex Avila walk, Will Rhymes bounced a ball to third. Orlando Hudson didn’t make a good throw after the turn, and the ball got past (hated) first baseman Michael Cuddyer. Casper Wells rounded third base to score the Tigers’ third (and final) run of the game (all were unearned).
Armando Galarraga took the start for the Tigers, making us fans very nervous in the process, but he was actually quite good. Armando allowed eight hits in six innings, but he avoided much major trouble by eliminating the walks. His only trouble came in the sixth, where he allowed a pair of doubles and a pair of singles to plate a pair of runs. Galarraga exited after six innings with his club up 3-2.
But, as we’ve seen in the past, the bullpen was not up to maintaining the lead. Phil Coke, who’s been the Tigers’ best reliever this year, began the seventh inning. He walked a batter, hit two batters, and was only able to record two outs. Ryan Perry relieved him and immediately walked in the tying run. The very next batter singled to right field, scoring another run, but Casper Well’s throw cut down Jason Kubel at the plate.
Wells continued his hot streak, making another good impression tonight. He was three-for-three at the dish, with two doubles and a single, and he cut down a runner at the plate (easily) from right field (this was more bad base running than good fielding).
Jhonny Peralta was the other hot performer at the plate. He went 3-5 (all singles) as he continues to audition for a spot on the club for next season. I think at this point, I would lean toward picking up his option to bring him back as a shortstop. I’m not sure if I hold the minority opinion on that or not.
I knew the chances were slim, but I was holding out hope that they could actually go 12-12 against the Twins and Sox and make a race of it. With the loss tonight, though, they’ll probably need to finish something like 28-2 to have a shot.