The Detroit Tigers headed out to the desert for a three game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks beginning Monday; the Tigers went into this series with a 54-41 record and had lost three of their last four. Justin Verlander took the hill for the Tigers while the quick working Videl Nuno (recently acquired from the New York Yankees) was the starting pitcher for the Snakes.
Game notes: JD Martinez sat tonight until a ninth inning pinch hit appearance, Bryan Holaday filled in for Alex Avila, Miguel Cabrera at third base, Victor Martinez at first.
The Diamondbacks came into this series with a 43-56 record, the third worst in the National League. Despite having such a lackluster record, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt came into this game leading the NL in doubles (37) , total bases, and RBI’s (65).
It felt like it was going to be a long night after watching the top of the first as Austin Jackson and Miguel Cabrera both struck out. But after that, the Tigers got rolling.
Justin Verlander, whom has only faced the D-Backs once in his career (June 25th, 2011) cruised through the first two innings, allowing zero base runners and needing only 22 pitches to retire the first six batters, striking out two of the six (one of them being Paul Goldschmidt). After starting off the third with an out, Verlander gave up his first base runner, walking Didi Gregorious. But the threat soon ended with Gregorious only reaching second base.
The Tigers offense also got off to a hot start, having five hits over the first four innings, including two HR’s; a two run shot from Torii Hunter (14) and a solo blast from Austin Jackson (4). Overall, Diamondbacks pitcher Videl Nuno had a decent outing giving up three runs but was relieved by Randall Delgado after 5.2 innngs
Then came the bottom of the fourth where Verlander did not show the dominance he did in the first few innings, giving up two runs on four hits while having to use 30 pitches.
From then on, the bats were silenced for both sides as no runs were scored until the bottom of the sixth with two outs when Gerardo Parra hit a solo HR to right field off Verlander to tie the game.
But the score didn’t stay even for long…the red-hot Austin Jackson led off the seventh inning with a double, followed by a Ian Kinsler sac-fly, moving Jackson to third.Then things got a little more interesting as Miguel Cabrera followed up Kinsler with what he first thought was a HR, only to have the ball bounce off the CF wall and be thrown out at second.
Verlander pitched 7.2 innings of three-run ball, striking out four along the way and scattering six hits. Al Albuquerque ended the D-Backs threat by getting Goldschmidt to ground out to third base with two men on (Al was responsible for one).
Arizona rookie Matt Stites then mowed through the eighth, needing only 11 pitches.
Joba Chamberlain, looking much like he Vernor’s man at this point in the season, had a one-two-three eigth inning as well, striking out a gazing Gerardo Parra to end the inning.
Joe Nathan, despite having pitched in the past three games, still came in to close things out. Nathan got the first two men out, striking out Martin Prado and getting Didi Gregorious to fly out. Cody Ross then hit a line drive to CF, putting the tying run on. But Nathan ended up having the right stuff on Monday night, netting his 20th save of the season.