ST. PETERSBURG, FL - AUGUST 25: Pitcher Doug Fister #58 of the Detroit Tigers starts against the Tampa Bay Rays August 25, 2011 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
|Final - 8.25.2011||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Tampa Bay Rays||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||7||0|
|WP: Doug Fister (6 - 13)
SV: Jose Valverde (38)
LP: Jeremy Hellickson (11 - 9)
KEY STAT A
Tigers pitchers combined for a 1.47 ERA in the three game series.
KEY STAT B
Jose Valverde is 2-2 in saves ending on outfield assisted double plays.
KEY PLAY A
With the Big Potato on to close out the game, a one out Casey Kotchman walk and Matt Joyce single had runners on 1st and 3rd. With Joyce running on the pitch, Sam Fuld hit a liner straight at Ryan Raburn...and Joyce never looked back. Raburn threw to Don Kelly for the easy, game ending 9-3 double play.
It was the 38th consecutive save for Valverde, and the 2nd consecutive save ending thanks to an outfield assist (Though it wasn't quite as spectacular as the first).
Not how you draw up a save on the board...but I'll take it!
KEY PLAY B
With two on and two out in the bottom of the 7th, Rays pinch hitter John Jaso flew out to left center to end the inning.
Doug Fister was trying to protect a 2-0 lead. But he found himself in trouble with two outs. With Casey Kotchman on 3rd, and Sam Fuld on 2nd after a two out double, Fister settled down, getting Jaso on a can of corn. Fister's sterling seven inning shutout performance was much needed after Max Scherzer only threw five innings last night.
Who needs run support? Not Fister! Wait...what?
With Omir Santos up from Toledo, taking Miguel Cabrera's roster spot for the day, Alex Avila FINALLY got a day off! Quoting Jim Leyland, only half joking: "He spent the entire game sleeping the clubhouse...we were calling him Wally Avila!"
Congrats to the Cabrera family for birth of their third child, Christopher Alexander!
Austin Jackson had a very tough series at the plate, 0-12 in the first three games. But he had both of the Tigers' RBI today. Jackson hit a leadoff home run to start the game, adding a sac fly to score Raburn in the 4th.
A still gimpy Victor Martinez will likely remain gimpy after being thrown out at home on Wilson Benemit's 6th inning single. Once again, I have to ask. Does Gene Lamont realize Martinez is HURT?
Brandon Inge entered the game for defensive purposes in the 7th, taking over for Benemit. Nothing of interest happened...thank God! By the way, Benemit was 2-3 on the day. He's hitting .292. His platoon partner? .181. After the events of the Rays series, I'm having second thoughts on Inge having a role on this team.
Joaquin Benoit struck out the side in the 8th...though the K's surrounded a double. The Tigers' relievers have become quite the escape artists.
Today's lineup featured its top two home run hitters (Jhonny Peralta with 18, Raburn with 11) batting 7th and 8th. That's our Jimmy!
Today's victory was just what the doctor ordered after last night's game ending debacle.
Going into last weekend, the Tigers were 2.5 games up in the Central, scheduled to play three games at home against the 2nd place Indians, then hit the road to play four against the Rays. I would have been happy with a 4-3 record, and would have taken 3-4. Instead, the Tigers sweep the Tribe and win three in Tampa, taking control of the Central in the process. The Tigers lead the Indians by 6.5 games, and the White Sox by 7.Good times, good times...
On to Minnesota!