The Detroit Tigers defeated the New York Yankees 4-3 in David Price’s debut in which he looked dominant. August 5th is a day that the Tigers hit late, clutch home runs. In 2006, Ivan Rodriguez hit a home run to walk the Tigers off against the Cleveland Indians. In 2012, Cabrera hit a walk off home run to beat the Indians once again. In 2013, Avila hit a home run to defeat, guess who, the Indians. In 2014, Alex Avila delivered again with a 12th inning home run to right center off of Matt Daley.
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The Tigers got started before Price even threw a pitch. Rajai Davis led the game off with a single. He went first to third on a single from Miguel Cabrera with one out. Victor Martinez then came through with a productive at-bat and hit a sacrifice fly to score Davis to match the number of runs scored Monday and give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the 2nd, Price struck out Carlos Beltran on an 86 mph changeup before the short porch in right field came into play. Brian McCann who was 4 for 8 with 2 home runs against Price continued his success with a line drive home run about 6 rows over the right field wall to tie the game at 1-1.
The Yankees then took the lead in the 3rd. Brendan Ryan led the inning off with a long double over J.D. Martinez in left field. The hottest hitter in the Yankees lineup, Brett Gardner, then bunted Ryan to 3rd on what looked like an attempted bunt for a base hit. Price looked like he would get out of the inning after he induced a weak ground ball from Derek Jeter with a drawn in infield. Jacoby Ellsbury then slapped a double with on an 0-2 fastball down the left field line to make the game 2-1 Yankees.
The two teams traded home runs in the 5th and 6th. The Yankees struck in the bottom of the 5th as Martin Prado hit his first home run as a member of the Yankees which made the game 3-1. Andrew Romine then got the Tigers closer with his 2nd home run of the season by taking advantage of the short porch by hitting a line drive into the 3rd row in the right field seats.
The Tigers finally put together a rally in the 7th to tie the game. Victor Martinez hit a soft ground ball to third, but the third baseman was standing in right field on the over-shift so Martinez reached on an infield single. Nick Castellanos then hit a single up the middle to put runners on 1st and 2nd with two outs. Alex Avila then came through with a single to right to score Martinez to tie the game at 3-3.
In the 9th, Torii Hunter was hit by a pitch by Dellin Betances on the hand and he went down in a heap and came out of the game. The good news is the pitch was a breaking ball and not a 100 mph fastball and Hunter had his hand off of the bat and not clenched. Word came down that x-rays were negative and that Hunter had a left hand contusion later in the game with a huge sigh of relief.
In the 12th inning, Alex Avila delivered the big hit of this game with his solo home run to right center field off of Daley which gave the Tigers a 4-3 lead which is huge for Avila who called a great game for Price and had 2 big hits late in the game, a day after he struggled at the plate mightily.
In the bottom of the 12th, Joe Nathan came in against the bottom of the order. Chase Headley started the inning by getting everyone’s heart rate up with a deep fly ball to the wall in right center. Prado then hit a soft fly ball to right. Nathan then got Stephen Drew to pop out to left to get the save and put the game in the win column 4-3 in 12 innings. Nathan’s outing was another in a line of good outings since June 16.
Price ended the game with a line of 8.2 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, and 10 K on 112 pitches, 78 of them strikes and got the no decision. His stuff looked as expected: excellent. He threw mostly a fastball-changeup combination early in the game. His cutter was usually around 92-93 mph with his 4 seam fastball getting up to 96 mph. Price then worked with slider and curveball more as the game went on and he looked dominant. Price looks like he could go 8 innings every start with his stuff and he should only improve as Avila gets to know him better.
Price made 4 bad pitches and the Yankees made him pay. The home runs to McCann and Prado were fastballs that were up in the zone. The one to McCann was on the inner third where lefties love to hit and the one to Prado was right down the middle. Both of the doubles Ryan and Ellsbury hit were also both off of fastballs that were up in the zone.
The Yankees pitching looked good tonight too. Hiroki Kuroda looked good with his fastball and splitter. His final line was 7 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K. In the 8th and some of the 9th, Dellin Betances came into the game and was everything that Tigers fans hope Bruce Rondon will be. Betances hit 100 mph with the fastball and had a devastating slider from 83-84 mph.
The Tigers will face the Yankees two more times before leaving New York for Toronto. Wednesday’s game is at 7:05 as Justin Verlander will take on Chris Capuano. Early weather forecasts say a 40% chance of rain, so knowing Verlander’s luck, especially in New York, there could be a delay on our hands.