Doug Fister tossed his first career shutout and Miguel Cabrera now holds the lead in every Triple Crown category after clubbing his 42nd home run, leading the Detroit Tigers to an 8-0 whitewash of the Minnesota Twins. The victory has moved the Tigers within 1 game of the 1st place Chicago White Sox in the AL Central.
|Final - 9.22.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|WP: Doug Fister (10 - 9)
LP: Samuel Deduno (6 - 5)
Fister won his 10th game of the season, scattering 7 hits, walking none. Twins starter Samuel Deduno was shelled, allowing 7 runs and 7 hits in just 2 1/3 innings.
Mauer (and his stylish hair) doubled off Fister with 2 out in the 1st. But the Head and Shoulders spokesman ran himself into the 3rd out on Josh Willingham's ground ball to Cabrera. Cabrera had the choice of throwing to 1st or running down Mauer, and decided on the latter. In the words of FOX color man Bert Blyleven, it was "a race of Clydesdales."
To open the bottom of the inning, Deduno ordered up a first pitch fastball over the meat of the plate. Austin Jackson delivered it to the fans sitting on the other side of the left field wall. Jackson's 15th home run of the season gave the Tigers a speedy 1-0 lead.
Alex Avila made a triumphant return from his concussion in his 1st bat, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead in the 2nd. Andy Dirks slashed a double down the right field line, and would score easily on Avila's single to center.
The Tigers have a love/hate relationship with defense. We saw both sides of their dysfunctional relationship in the 3rd.
Love - Omar Infante went into short right field to throw out Pedro Florimon.
Hate - Fister followed by throwing Denard Span's bunt into right field, the scorer ruling it a single.
Love - Fister redeemed himself by starting a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Quintin Berry single-handedly gave Cabrera an RBI opportunity in the bottom of the 3rd, He hit a lead off single, then stole 2nd base. Pitching carefully, Deduno walked Cabrera, bringing up his secret handshake buddy, Prince Fielder. Fielder's seeing eye ground ball found the hole in the right side, Berry scoring, Cabrera aggressively taking 3rd on weak-throwing Ben Revere.
The lead now 3-0, the ever free-swinging Delmon Young broke the game open. He cranked an 0-1 chest-high fastball off the foul pole in left, his 18th home run of the season giving the Tigers a 6-0 advantage.
Dirks broke his bat, but looped a liner into the right field corner, necking out a triple with a head first slide. Deduno would make it 7-0 by wild pitching Dirks home. Deduno's day came to a merciful end after 2 1/3 innings by walking Avila on a breaking ball hitting the dirt 5 feet in front of Mauer.
Anthony Swarzak would end the inning in relief of Deduno, but not before the Twins butchered Infante's double play ball, just to remind us the Twinkies no longer play fundamental baseball.
The Twins had base runners for the 4th consecutive inning, Fister giving up back-to-back singles to Mauer and Willingham. As he had all game long, Fister pitched out of the jam, easily setting down the next 3 Twins, the lead remaining 7-0.
In the 4th, just as Blyleven was saying how "ornery" Jim Leyland was in regard to the Cabrera - Mike Trout MVP saga, Cabrera hammered his 42nd home run of the season over the bullpen in left. With one swing, Cabera put the Tigers up 8-0 and took the lead in every Triple Crown category.
Once again, Fister would dance out of trouble, allowing base runners but not allowing runs...with help of one of the weirder plays of the season in the 5th.
Pedro Florimon popped up. Alexi Casilla, standing on 2nd base after a lead off double, had his head down and back turned from the play. He was run over by Jhonny Peralta while going after the ball, Casilla and Peralta ending up in a pile, Florimon safe on 1st base.
Despite having nowhere to go, Casillia was called out for interference. Instead of 2 on and 1 out with a runner in scoring position, it was 1 on and 2 out, runner on 1st base. Fister would get out of the inning, post haste.
At this point, with the weirdness out of the way and the result pretty much settled, both teams all but put away their bats. There would be no more scoring from here on out. The only suspense left -- Would Fister get the shutout?
After base runners a-plenty (and runs a-plenty for the Tigers) Fister had the first 1-2-3 inning for either team, setting the Twins down in order in the 6th. He would do the same in the 7th. The only base runner for the Tigers was Fielder, who singled in the 6th.
Revere's 2 out single in the 8th was the Twins' first hit since Casilla's 5th inning double. Fister shrugged it off, striking out Mauer to end the inning.
With a Sunday doubleheader looming and Max Scherzer and Drew Smyly as the starters, the bullpen would definitely be used heavily and need to be rested. But knowing Jim Leyland, I couldn't be sure he would allow Fister to pitch the 9th.
Despite Twitter reports of a "Handshake of Doom" from Leyland after the 8th, Fister took the mound in the 9th, looking for his first shutout. Fister would get it style, striking out Willingham and Justin Morneau, then ending the game on a Ryan Doumit ground out.
The season isn't!
Bullets are brought to you by Peyton Manning's fivehead.
- The Tigers are 80-70, 1 game back of the White Sox with 12 games left to play. Out on the west coast, the White Sox play the Angels at 9 PM tonight. It's entirely possible the Tigers will be a mere 1/2 game behind the Pale Hose going into Sunday's doubleheader.
- Despite a 7-3 record in their last 10 games, the Tigers remain 5 games out the wild card. It's division title or bust, folks
- Bert Blyleven quote of the day: "Tigers have had a tough time finding a 2nd baseman since Infante left." You could hear Tigers fans everywhere immediately yell ,"You never heard of Placido Polanco?"
- Quintin Berry is now 20-20 in stolen bases.
- Samuel Deduno put up quite the stat line during his short stint on the mound: 2 1/3 innings, 7 hits, (4 for extra bases), 3 walks, 1 wild pitch, 7 runs, all earned.
- Miguel Cabrera leads the AL in every Triple Crown category: .332 batting average, 42 home ruins, 131 RBI. He's 12 games away from the first Triple Crown since 1967.
- During every Cabrera at bat, Comerica was filled with "MVP-MVP-MVP" chants. But...sabermetrics!
- I hate to be so snide about advanced stats, as they add so much to the game. But but those in the sabermetric crowd who say Cabrera leads in meaningless categories, his winning the MVP would be a travesty, or he is having the worst Triple Crown season ever (check out a comment thread on the topic at sites like Baseball Think Factory if you don't believe me) are not doing their cause any favors. In fact, they come off as condescending pricks who care more about numbers than either history or what happens on the field.
- The Alexi Casilla interference call was clarified in the following inning. The base does not protect the runner, he must make an attempt to get out of the way, which Casilla did not. Thus, interference.
- Just as I made a comment about Omar Infante's awful defense on Twitter, he made a spectacular play. Infante's diving catch on Denard Span's liner in the 8th was his 2nd excellent defensive play on the day. As long as Infante doesn't have to turn the double play, apparently he's fine.
- As nice as a first career shutout may be, the most impressive thing Doug Fister did today was give the bullpen another day off. Every reliever should be available for the twin bill, which is HUGE.
SCREEN CAPS OF THE GAME:
Gene Lamont is not impressed by Andy Dirk's triple...but he'll give the Neck a high five anyway.
The look of dismay on Anthony Swarzak's face tells you exactly where Miguel Cabrera' ball landed....in the left field seats.
Secret handshake number 142.
Doug Fister: 9 shutout innings, 7 hits and zero walks. Got better and better as the game progressed..
Prince Fielder: Solid game for the big man with 3 singles in 3 at bats, an RBI and run scored.
Andy Dirks: The Neck had 2 hits (including a triple) and 2 runs scored.
Miguel Cabrera: Only 1 hit, but it was a home run which gave him the lead in every Triple Crown category. I think that deserves a roar.
Delmon Young: Broke the Twinkies spirit with his 3rd inning 3 run big fly.
Jhonny Peralta: The only Tiger without a base hit was 0-4 and tried to kill Alexi Casilla at 2nd base.
GAME 149 PLAYER OF THE GAME:
Game 150 Player of the Game
Doug Fister (502 votes)
Andy Dirks (3 votes)
Prince Fielder (4 votes)
Miguel Cabrera (22 votes)
Delmon Young (14 votes)
545 total votes