Sep 7, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Rajai Davis (20) hits a home run in the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
The Detroit Tigers didn’t lose to the Tampa Bay Rays by a score of 8-7 in 13 innings in the second game of their three game series. The word choice of “didn’t lose” was chosen very carefully as neither team deserved to win. Rajai Davis hit a home run, struck out three times, was a part of four reviews, and hit the game ending sacrifice fly in the 13th in a game that took 5 hours and 3 minutes to complete.
Matt Boyd and Erasmo Ramirez squared away on the mound and their nights were very similar. Both looked like they had really solid stuff, but neither could hold a lead or get a shutdown inning. Boyd ended the night with a line of 5.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K; while Ramirez ended the night with a line of 5.0 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 9 K.
In the battle of the bullpens and the benches, the Tigers came out on top. The Rays used a total of 7 pitchers and 15 position players while the Tigers used 10 pitchers (tied for the most in team history; they used 10 pitchers in a 17-16, 14 inning loss to the Chicago White Sox in 1998) and 12 position players.
Rajai Davis got things started for the Tigers in the bottom of the bottom of the third with his third home run in two games. This is the first time in his career he has hit three home runs in two games and only the second time in his career he has hit home runs in back to back games. The other occurrence was September 3-4, 2013.
Boyd could not get the Tigers a shutdown inning after two hard hit balls plated the tying run. Mikie Mahtook hit a triple to right field with one out and scored on an Evan Longoria laser beam sacrifice fly on a line drive to the wall where Davis made a jumping catch.
The Rays jumped out in front in the top of the sixth. Kevin Kiermaier walked and J.P. Arencibia singled to end Boyd’s night. Al Alburquerque then entered the game and failed to do anything productive. Grady Sizemore singled to left field to score Kiermaier and give the Rays the 2-1 lead. After a failed bunt, Longoria singled to score Sizemore. Logan Forsythe then singled to plate another run to give the Rays the 4-1 lead. Alburquerque then balked to end his night with runners at second and third and yielded to Tom Gorzelanny. Tim Beckham singled to bring home the final run of the inning and give the Rays the 5-1 lead.
Much like the Tigers in the 4th, the Rays could not produce the shutdown inning and the Tigers tied the game in the bottom of the 6th. Anthony Gose, Ian Kinsler, and Miguel Cabrera all hit singles to end Erasmo Ramirez’s night. J.D. Martinez walked to plate Gose, Nick Castellanos struck out, and James McCann was hit by a pitch in the head to cut the lead to 5-3.
Tyler Collins struck out swinging to leave the bases loaded with 2 outs, but Andrew Romine tied the game with a single to left. Martinez ran through the stop sign at third, stopped half way home, but McCann was caught in a run down to make sure Martinez scored and tied the game at 5-5 after 6.
The Rays retook the lead in the top of the 7th. J.P. Arencibia doubled to left field on a line drive and scored on a pinch hit single from Daniel Nava to give the Rays the 6-5 lead.
The Tigers then tied the game in the bottom of the 7th thanks to wildness from Alex Colome. Anthony Gose singled up the middle with one out. He then advanced to second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on an error on a throw to third while he was advancing on the second wild pitch.
In the bottom of the 8th, the Tigers retook the lead. Nathan Karns made his first relief appearance of the year and was greeted by J.D. Martinez who launched his 36th home run of the year to give the Tigers the 7-6 lead.
In the top of the 9th, the wheels fell off once again. Kiermaier walked to lead off the inning, pinch hitter and 36th player in the game, James Loney, singled to center field, and Daniel Nava walked to load the bases. Evan Longoria hit his second sacrifice fly of the game to tie the game at 7-7, but reached safely as Davis just whiffed on the simple fly ball.
Mercifully, the Tigers and Rays combined their efforts to end the game in the bottom of the 13th. James McCann led the inning off with an infield single deep to short. Jefry Marte then bunted McCann up to third and reached when the pitcher made an error. Andrew Romine then bunted the runners up to 2nd and third with 1 out. Rajai Davis then ended the game at 12:11p.m. local time with a sacrifice fly.