August 13: This Friday In Detroit Tigers History
Friday, August 13, 2004
The Tigers were in Anaheim on this evening, which made it a late night for fans catching the broadcast back in Michigan. Angels Stadium had been anything but heavenly for the Tigers, who were swept in a three-game series there back in May. They also got swept in each of their two previous visits before that, and the losing streak in their hosts’ ballpark had reached 11 games.
Detroit took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second. Amidst a pair of strikeouts by Angels righty John Lackey, Rondell White singled and Carlos Peña walked. On a 3-0 pitch, Brandon Inge took advantage of the green light that manager Alan Trammell had given him, and he drove in both runners with a double that sailed over right fielder Vladimir Guerrero’s head. Peña narrowly beat the relay throw as he slid into the plate. Afterward, a surprised Inge said he did a double take when he got the sign from third-base coach Juan Samuel. He stated,
"“You better believe that when I get a 3-0 green light, I’m swinging if it’s close. I wasn’t sure what he would throw me, but I geared for a fastball, middle portion of the plate, and that’s what it was. I was going to take anything in or too far out.”"
The Tigers missed out on an opportunity to score more in the fourth when Omar Infante grounded out to third base with two down after Lackey had walked three straight hitters. Rookie Nook Logan, whose career walk rate was a paltry 6.2%, was especially impressive in winning a 10-pitch battle to draw his free pass.
Jeremy Bonderman, the Tigers’ second-year righty, kept Anaheim off the board in the first four innings. He scuffled along the way, though. Six Angels had reached base, four via hits, one on a walk, and one runner was safe thanks to a Bonderman error. He did get through the third by inducing three straight infield groundouts. With one out in the fifth, Bondo committed his second error of the game when he made a bad throw trying to get Chone Figgins, who had bunted. Figgins advanced to second on the miscue. Guerrero, the future Hall of Famer, drove him in with a double to make it a 2-1 game.
With one out in the top of the fifth, Craig Monroe doubled. Lackey uncorked a wild pitch, which sent C-Mo to third. Inge knocked him in with a single that also knocked Lackey out of the game. The Tigers led 3-1 and again threatened to add more against righty reliever Scott Shields. The speedy Logan bunted for a single, and Carlos Guillen walked. Detroit had to settle for the lone run when Ivan Rodriguez left the bases loaded by hitting into a force play to end the inning.
Bonderman pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the sixth. After he gave up a leadoff single to former Tiger Curtis Pride in the seventh, Trammell called on Esteban Yan. The Tigers were the fifth of the seven teams Yan pitched for in the big leagues. The Angels became the sixth in 2005. The righty retired the first two hitters he faced, but he couldn’t get Big Bad Vlad. Guerrero tripled to the wall in right-center. Pride trotted home, and Detroit’s lead was down to 3-2. Yan stranded his runner at third by getting Garrett Anderson to ground out to Peña at first base.
The Tigers came out swinging against Shields in the eighth. Inge and Logan singled, and Infante moved them up with a sacrifice bunt. Guillen struck out, but Rodriguez walked to load the bases. For the third time in the game, Detroit left the sacks full when new Angels reliever Brendan Donnelly struck out Dmitri Young. The Tigers wound up leaving a total of 13 runners on base and went 3-for-13 with men in scoring position. Their inability to break the game open looked like it might come back to haunt them in the bottom of the eighth when the Angels tied the game against Yan. It was 3-3.
For the top of the ninth, Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia called on closer Troy Percival, who was still pitching effectively in what turned out to be his final year with the Angels. He signed with Detroit as a free agent that November. Exactly five years after experiencing an unlucky Friday the 13th against the Tigers, it happened to Percival again. White led off with a double. Jason Smith came in as a pinch-runner and went to third on Peña’s groundout. Monroe broke the tie with an RBI single. Inge followed with a single, his fourth hit of the game, to put runners on the corners.
The Tigers picked up an insurance run in controversial fashion. Logan flew out to Guerrero in right. The runners tagged up. Guerrero’s throw to shortstop David Eckstein nabbed Inge at second base as Monroe crossed the plate. Home plate umpire Tim McClelland, much to Scioscia’s chagrin, ruled that Monroe safely scored just before the third out was registered. Detroit closer Ugueth Urbina needed just eight pitches to put Figgins, Guerrero, and Anderson away in the bottom of the ninth to pick up his 20th save of the season in the Tigers’ 5-3 triumph.