Detroit Tigers’ Top 10 Games of 2014: #6 July 8 vs Los Angeles Dodgers

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Motor City Bengals has picked the top 10 games of the Detroit Tigers’ 2014 season. We continue with #6 today and will present another game each Sunday until reaching the best Tigers’ game of the season. 

5. 71. 14. 63. Final

#6: July 8, Comerica Park — Detroit, Michigan

The Detroit Tigers hit a bump in the road of their recovery from a 9-19 stretch in the days following the 4th of July.

Since falling 1.5 games behind the Kansas City Royals on June 18 at the end of that stretch, the team had rallied to win 12 of 14 games and climb back into first place until they dropped three straight at home to the Tampa Bay Rays from July 4 to 6.

After an off-day the Tigers welcomed in the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers for two games, a rematch of an April series in Hollywood in which the teams split a pair of games.

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The Tigers turned to Justin Verlander for the start on this summer Tuesday evening in Detroit. Like the team in general, Verlander had recently turned his fortunes around. After a stretch in which J.V. had allowed 5, 5, 9, 3, 6, and 7 runs over six games, he allowed just seven runs over the next three contests.

It appeared bad Justin had returned after allowing the Dodgers to score five times before the Tigers had a chance to bat. He allowed a double to Adrian Gonzalez, a single to Matt Kemp, and a Juan Uribe two-run homer to cast a pall on the events of the evening. After finally recording the final out, Verlander was serenaded with a chorus of boos.

The Tigers went out quietly in the first inning, but Verlander started to regain his usual sharp form against NL opponents, retiring the next 13 batters in order. Meanwhile the Tigers’ bats got in sync against Los Angeles starter Hyun-Jin Ryu in the second inning with the spark of a gutsy play by Torii Hunter.

Hunter singled to right and decided to challenge Yasiel Puig‘s arm. It appeared to be a mistake as Hunter was called out at second base, but on further review he was called safe. Nick Castellanos pushed him to third with a base hit and Alex Avila brought home Torii on another base hit. The Tigers were small-balling the Dodgers to death as Eugenio Suarez, Rajai Davis, Ian Kinsler, and Miguel Cabrera each notched singles and the score was suddenly tied at 5.

Detroit took the lead in the third inning, again on small ball with a Davis RBI single and Austin Jackson sacrifice fly. With a 7-5 lead, the Tigers really teed off and would eventually win 14-5. Remarkably, all but one of their run-scoring plays on the evening came from singles with the only exception being a rare Miggy triple to score the final run of the day.

After a terrible first inning, Verlander left after the sixth inning to a standing ovation from the sell-out crowd.

Next week, we will look at the fifth-best Detroit Tigers’ game of 2014. You may want to get the Zubaz suits out of storage for that one…

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