Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Once again, a Detroit Tigers starting pitcher struggled early, as did the infield defense. And once again the starter was able to right his course(for the most part), minimize the damage, and the Tigers were able to pull out a win. This time it was over the division rival Cleveland Indians by a score of 7-5. Justin Verlander took the mound for Detroit and looked to be having a hard time locating his pitches, issuing an unusual four walks, but also striking out seven. He lasted only five innings, running his pitch count up partly by going to full counts on four of the first seven batters he faced. Justin gave up six hits and three runs, none of which were earned. While he didn’t get blown out, Verlander wasn’t as consitently sharp as he has been previously.
Ian Kinsler was the kindling for the offense yet again, with a three run homer in the bottom of the fifth that gave the Tigers a 4-3 lead. Kinsler tallied four RBI on the day, also plating Rajai Davis on a single in the sixth after Davis was hit by a pitch and advanced to third on a botched pick off attempt.
Davis came up big for the Detroit offense as well. After Cleveland pulled within one run on a Michael Brantley two run homer off of Ian Krol(who relieved Al Alburquerque with a man on and a man out in the seventh), Rajai had a soft infield grounder that he ran out to score Andrew Romine from third base. Romine was a pinch runner for Nick Castellanos, who had singled.
The extra insurance run was a boost for closer Joe Nathan, but Nathan was ready for the call today and didn’t need the extra run. He pitched a flawless ninth inning, precisely hitting his spots and painting the black with his fastball. He struck out one and picked up his second save of the season.
While it wasn’t pretty, with three Tigers notching errors(Verlander, Castellanos and Alex Gonzalez), the Tigers played well enough to pick up the win and split the weather shortened series with the Indians.