Detroit Tigers: Michael Fulmer Electric in 5-4 Win vs. Rays
The Detroit Tigers took the second game of their weekend series against the Tampa Bay Rays thanks to a stellar pitching performance and some timely hitting by some young players.
The Detroit Tigers are finally playing quality baseball. Even though many fans watching the games are still feeling a little uneasy, the end results have been positive.
After dropping the opening game of the series to the Rays, the Tigers called on rookie starter Michael Fulmer, who was in search of his third Major League win after giving up four runs in four innings against the Orioles in his last start and earning a no-decision.
The scoring got started in the third inning when the usually light-hitting Cameron Maybin unleashed an uncharacteristic home run to left field. Maybin has been on fire since his return from the disabled list. The veteran center fielder is now 11-17 since joining the Tigers after going 3-4 in the game Saturday. Many fans believe Maybin’s hot start and electric personality was the spark that created the Tigers recent success.
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On the mound, Fulmer dominated Tampa hitters for most of the game. Saturday was Fulmer’s longest outing at the Major League level lasting a full seven innings. His lone mistake of the game was leaving a pitch up and in for Evan Longoria who took Fulmer deep. This was Fulmer’s only earned run of the game. Fortunately, Fulmer did not get ruffled; he simply looked like a poised veteran on the mound. His final line was 7 IP, 4 H, 11 K, 1 BB, 1 ER.
Fulmer did pitch a great game but he could not have done it without the offensive and defensive help of catcher James McCann. It is no secret that McCann has been in a slump since returning from the DL but the young backstop showed some signs of life Saturday at the plate. McCann launched a go-ahead two-run homer to start off a four-run seventh for Detroit. J.D. Martinez would also hit a two-run homer providing two valuable insurance runs for Detroit.
Things went great for the Tigers defensively. McCann made an amazing throw to nab would-be base stealer Steven Pearce in the sixth. Things were not so great defensively for the Rays, who saw their outfielders come up short of a number of sliding catches. Rays center fielder Kevin Keirmaier suffered an injury to his left wrist while trying to make a diving play in the outfield.
Lefty Justin Wilson came into the game for the eighth inning looking to get back on track. After his stellar month of April where he did not surrender a single run Wilson has fallen off in May. It was another rough outing for Wilson who struck out two but also give up three runs. Wilson did look promising, bouncing back and striking out two hitters but his inability to get the final out has plagued him this entire month.
Closer Francisco Rodriguez came on to preserve the one-run lead in the ninth. Rodriguez allowed only one runner to reach base and struck out two hitters looking. After a rocky start to the year, Rodriguez has now saved his last 12 ball games. He has become one of the few bright spots in the Tigers bullpen.
The Detroit Tigers would prevail by a score of 5-4. Michael Fulmer earned the win and former Tiger Drew Smyly was credited with the loss.
Next: Detroit Tigers: The First 40 Games
The Detroit Tigers will close out their weekend series with Tampa on Sunday, May 22. The heavyweight match up tomorrow at Comerica Park will be Jordan Zimmermann against Rays ace Chris Archer. Tigers hitters have not fared well against Archer in the past so look for some players to get a rest Sunday afternoon. One candidate to take a trip to the bench will be second baseman Ian Kinsler who is a career .067 hitter against Archer. Zimmermann will be in search of his seventh win of the season.