Detroit 3, Cleveland 6 (box)
We had seen this movie before, I swear it. For four innings, Tigers starter Armando Galarraga held the Indians without a hit. He had run his consecutive scoreless inning streak to better than 20 versus the Tribe. Galarraga hasn’t been great for much of the season, but he always pitches his best when the Indians are his opponent. This was his chance to regain his confidence, something he always seems to struggle with.
Then it all blew up.
With the Tigers leading 2-0, Galarraga finally allowed a hit. It just so happened that that hit sailed over the center field wall. Matt LaPorta‘s one-handed swing put the Indians on the board an suddenly, Galarraga was on the ropes. It wouldn’t take long before the Indians knocked him out.
Two batters after LaPorta’s bomb, catcher Luke Carlin connected with a meatball and sent it over the right field wall. Now the game was tied. A double and a walk followed and then Travis Hafner gave the Tribe the lead with a three-run shot of his own. Just like that, in a span of what seemed like five minutes, the lead was gone and Galarraga was out of the game.
Tigers batters were all over the bases for much of the game, but the big hit never came. They managed 11 hits in six innings against Carlos Carrasco, but only netted three runs. There would be opportunities to add more later, but after putting the first two batters of the seventh on against Joe Smith, disaster struck.
Don Kelly singled as a pinch hitter and Miguel Cabrera lined a single behind him. With Jhonny Peralta at the plate, Carlin fired a pick-off throw to first. Cabrera got back but in the process, turned his ankle on the bag. He would have to leave the game. After Peralta struck out, Brandon Inge grounded into a double play to end the last significant threat the Tigers would mount.
Cabrera was taken to a Cleveland area hospital for x-rays on his ankle. The good news is that there is no break, but he does have a sprain. He will be re-evaluated this morning, but he will not play in tonight’s game. With only six games remaining in the season, there’s a very good chance we have seen the last of Cabrera this year. We will just have to hope that a .328 average with 38 homers and 126 RBI while also leading the league in doubles is good enough to sway the MVP voters.
As for Galarraga, after the game he sounded confused as to what happened during that fifth inning. In each of his last two starts, he has been cruising along until one big inning has knocked him out of the game. He has got to find a way to limit the damage when things start to go bad. As Jim Leyland put it, “He threw them some pitches they couldn’t miss,” and he was right. The balls that Carlin and Hafner hit were both served up on a platter. There isn’t but a handful of major league hitters that wouldn’t have taken him deep on those pitches.