Thanks to the tenth inning heroics of Victor Martinez, the Detroit Tigers took down the Cleveland Indians 4-2 in come-from-behind fashion. Martinez's two-out, two-RBI double in extra innings allowed the first-place Tigers to take 3-of-4 from the second-place Indians. With the victory, Detroit wraps up their season-high 11-game road trip with a 7-4 record and a 3 1/2 game lead in the AL Central.
Max Scherzer survived a 20-minute second-inning rain delay and kept his undefeated season alive, but wasn't around for the decision. Scherzer remains 13-0, keeping his lossless streak alive at 19 games, but was pulled after seven innings and two earned runs. Drew Smyly (4-0), the third of four Tigers pitchers, received credit for the win by stranding the winning run on base in the ninth. Joaquin Benoit pitched the tenth to record his seventh save in seven attempts.
Indians starter Scott Kazmir was pulled after 5 2/3 innings, forcing manager Terry Francona to go deep into his bullpen for a fifth consecutive game. The Tribe would ultimately need five relievers, Matt Albers (2-1) taking the loss.
Martinez was the hitting hero for the Tigers with a pair of doubles and the game-winning RBI. Jhonny Peralta added an RBI double and Matt Tuiasosopo chipped in with his fourth home run. Lonnie Chisenhall accounted for all of Cleveland's scoring with a two-RBI single in the second inning.
Kazmir retired the first four Tigers he faced. Martinez ended Kazmir's streak while extending his hitting streak to ten games with a double into the left field corner. Absolutely crushing a Kazmir fastball, Peralta smoked a line drive over the head of Micheal Bourn in dead center for back-to-back doubles and 1-0 Tigers' lead (MLB.com video).
Brayan Pena followed with a dribbler through the box, shortstop Mike Aviles making sprawling stop. Mark Reynolds was unable to make the pick on the low throw. Aviles did save a run with the dive, Peralta only advancing to third (though he had a chance to score when the ball bounced away from Reynolds). Kazmir proceeded to load the bases by walking Ramon Santiago. But Austin Jackson struck out to end the threat, the Tigers unable to get a crooked number on the board.
Michael Brantley was the first Indian to reach, bunting for a single with one down in the second. Better the number five hitter dropping a bunt than the two bombs Bourn dropped on the Tigers Sunday.
Aviles singled Bourn to second. After Scherzer struck out Reynolds, the rain started pouring in Cleveland. Lonnie Chisenhall battled Scherzer to a 2-2 count as the runners pulled off a double steal, getting such a good jump Pena didn't bother to make a throw. That would come back to haunt the Tigers.
Scherzer then motioned to talk to Pena and the umpiring crew led by Cowboy Joe West. At that point, the umpires had little choice but to bring on the tarp, a driving rain putting the game in a rain delay.
The rain still coming down, a little after 8 PM the grounds crew started to pull the tarp. Interesting call considering the forecast was completely rain-filled. At 8:09, after a 20-minute delay, the game resumed. So did the rain, which never stopped.
Of course, Chisenhall lined Scherzer's first offering into right for a two-RBI single and 2-1 Tribe lead (MLB.com video). Scherzer would then get out of the inning on a can of corn to right off the bat of Yan Gomes. Figures.
Bottom of three and a steady rain falling, Scherzer allowed back-to-back two out singles to Jason Kipnis and The Bro King, Nick Swisher. Pitching carefully, Scherzer walked Brantley to load the bases. Pitching around Brantley worked, Aviles ending the bases-loaded threat with a comebacker.
Thanks to the weather and a pitch count of 57 after three innings, it wasn't looking good for Scherzer pitching deep into the game.
Making his first appearance in the Tigers' lineup since coming off the DL, Tuiasosopo quickly made his presence known. One down in the fourth, Tuiasosopo took Kazmir the opposite way, launching a solo home run to right to tie the game at 2-all (MLB.com video). The big fly was number four on the season for Tuiasosopo, and sixth of the series for the Tigers.
Bottom of five, Scherzer got himself into trouble by walking the lead-off man, Asdrubal Cabrera. The Tribe's shortstop would advance to third on a wild pitch and one-out ground ball. Once again, Scherzer pitched carefully to Brantley, ultimately walking him on a full-count curve (which could have been called strike three). But the walks became moot when Aviles stranded a runner in scoring position for the second straight at-bat, popping up to end the threat.
In the sixth, after walking Martinez and Peralta just missing going yard, Terry Francona decided Kazmir had done enough. Pulled after 5 2/3 innings, Kazmir was replaced by right-hander Bryan Shaw. Jim Leyland countered by pinch-hitting Andy Dirks for Tuiasosopo. Dirks singled, moving Martinez to second. But Pena sent a can of corn to short left to end the inning, the game still knotted at 2-2.
Scherzer had his best inning of the game in the sixth, striking out two while retiring the side in order. His pitch count at 101 in miserable weather, still in line to keep his undefeated record intact, the Tigers were hoping to get one more inning out of Scherzer.
Bruce Rondon and Smyly were warming up in the top of the seventh, so Scherzer wasn't going to pitch more than one inning, if that.
One out in the seventh, Jackson laced a line drive to right center. Swisher left his feet and slid on the wet turf while flagging the ball down, Jackson taking advantage by legging out a two-base hit.
Francona went back to his over-extended bullpen, right-hander Cody Allen coming on to face Hunter and Cabrera. Hunter struck out trying to hit a six-run homer. Allen would get out of the jam when, first pitch swinging, Cabrera bounced out to short.
Bourn led off the bottom half of the seventh by slapping a single to left. But the Tigers caught a break, Bourn slipping while trying to steal second. They needed a couple of throws too many, but were able to make the tag, removing the speedy Bourn off the bases. Score it caught stealing 2-6-3-4-2-3. I'm sure that's just how Leyland drew it up.
Scherzer would end his seven-inning stint in style, striking out both Asdrubal Cabrera and Jason Kipnis. It would be up to the Tigers' offense to get Scherzer win number 14 by scoring a run in the top of the eighth. At the very least, Scherzer guaranteed he would remain undefeated with his fifth no-decision of the season.
Rain still coming down hard, Allen pitched into the eighth. But Francona was still channeling his inner Captain Hook, pulling Allen for right-hander Joe Smith. Pitching to Peralta with one out, the Tigers' shortstop bounced into a 6-4-3 double play, even with Fielder running on the pitch.
The score tied at two going into the bottom of the eighth, Scherzer was officially on the scorecard with a no-decision. The streak lives,13-0 in 19 starts.
Rondon, aka Heavy B, came on to pitch for the Tigers. He showed just what Tigers fans wanted to see from the young fireballer, tossing a 1-2-3 eight pitch inning.
After the Tigers went down in order against Chris Perez in the top of the ninth, Leyland tempted fate by going with Rondon for a second inning. Fate slapped right back when Reynolds turned on a 3-2 fastball smack-dab down the middle and singled to left. He was immediately replaced with the Tribe's speed merchant, Drew Stubbs. Leyland countered by going to his own Drew out of the pen, Smyly.
Post game, Leyland revealed that Rondon was only intended to face one batter in the eighth, Reynolds. Why not just start the inning with Smyly?
Smyly and Pena made things more difficult for themselves, getting crossed up on a breaking ball. The resulting wild pitch allowed Stubbs to take second. So much for the left-hander coming in to hold the runner close.
Smyly got the first out of the inning when Chisenhall flew out to center, not deep enough for Stubbs to tag. If there was ever a perfect time to bunt, this was it - in the bottom of the ninth inning, no one out, the winning run on second and a .243 hitter at the plate. Francona thought differently.
Smyly struck out Gomes for the second out of the inning, but still had to face the dangerous Bourn as the rain poured down. Smyly completed his Houdini routine when Bourn flew out to left.
On to extra innings, where the Tigers fear to tread. Being the Tigers were 2-9 in extras and the Tribe 5-0, this did not bode well. The one good sign for Detroit was the Indians were extremely deep into their already overused pen. Matt Albers started the tenth, the sixth Indians pitcher of the evening.
With two down, Albers pitched around Cabrera, preferring to take on Fielder. Pitching a tad too carefully, Fielder was given a five-pitch free pass. As we've seen with the Tigers' bullpen, late inning free passes rarely end well.
Martinez made the Tribe pay for walking the two sluggers, crushing an 0-1 fastball to dead center, his liner hitting the wall at the 400-foot mark as Bourn couldn't run it down. Martinez cruised into second with a double as both Cabrera and Fielder scored to give the Tigers a 4-2 lead (MLB.com video).
It would be up to Joaquin Benoit to close out the game.
The badly struggling Asdrubal Cabrera struck out. Ramon Santiago made a very nice play on a slow dribbler off the bat of Kipnis, making a bare-hand play to nail him at first. Swisher kept the game alive with a two-out single, giving Brantley a shot at extending the game.
Swisher took second on defensive indifference, and should have scored on Brantley's single. But in a bit of deserved bad karma for starting the game in the rain, Swisher slipped on the wet grass while rounding third, forced to retreat back to the bag.
That left the potential tie runners on the corners for Aviles. But Benoit blew Aviles away, striking him out on four pitches to end a wet-but-thrilling (well, thrilling late) game.
GAME OVER. Your final score is Tigers 4, Indians 2, Karma 1.
Battling both the elements and a pesky Cleveland team, the Tigers gutted out a key win to take the series and head home on a very high note. The Tigers end a marvelous 7-4 road trip with a huge win, taking three of four from the Tribe. Things are looking up for the Tigers, with six games at home against the White Sox and Rangers, and then the All-Star break. Even better for the Tigers, 13 of their next 32 games are with the bottom-feeding White Sox.
Now 3-9 in extras, the Tigers are back at their high-water mark of ten games over .500 on the season at 49-39. The Tribe drop to 46-43, 3 1/2 games back of the Tigers.
Up next for the Tigers are three games with the last place team in Central. The White Sox come to town owning the second-worst record in the AL at 34-51. In game one, left-hander Jose Quintana (3-2, 3.69 ERA) takes on Justin Verlander (9-5, 3.54 ERA). Not having won a game since May 21, Quintana has pitched in a bit of hard luck as shown by seven straight no-decisions. Verlander is coming off one of his better performances of the season, shutting out the Blue Jays over seven innings. First pitch at Comerica Park is scheduled for 7:08 PM.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:
The radar looking ugly, and the forecast filled with rain, the Tribe started the game anyway. Media, start your conspiracy theories.
@TonyPaul1984 To get Max off the mound in the second inning.— Dave Hogg (@Stareagle) July 8, 2013
I blame the fact that Cleveland didn't schedule a getaway game during the afternoon.— BYB Rob (@Detroit4lyfeRob) July 9, 2013
Meanwhile, in the Progressive Field stands:
Uh ... wha ... I have no freaking idea.
This series needs to end. Tigers fans are getting really fed up with playing the Indians.
Do they sell the field-level tickets at Progressive based on level of douchiness?— Melissa Heyboer (@MelissaHeyboer) July 9, 2013
Shut up, Indians fan.— Chet Lemonade (@AdSal44) July 9, 2013
@tokarzontigers Tigers 2, Indians 2, Drum Guy -683— Donnie Kelly (@AceRHPDonKelly) July 9, 2013
Bottom of the sixth., Lets Go Tribe made a prediction.
Mark Reynolds to lead off the inning with a strikeout.— Let's Go Tribe (@LetsGoTribe) July 9, 2013
Close. Reynolds popped up. But Lonnie Chisenhall and Yan Gomes did whiff. So I'll give LGT half-credit.
Max Scherzer wasn't just going for an 14-0 start to the season. Scherzer was also out to equal Bobo Newsom's franchise record of 18 consecutive starts without a loss, which ran from April-July 1940. Newsom lost his first start of the season, then went 13-0 over his next 18 starts. The Tigers won 15 of those games. Newsom ended the 1940 season at 21-5 with a 2.83 ERA and finished fourth in the AL MVP vote. The no-decision means Scherzer now holds the franchise record at 19 straight starts without a loss.
Scherzer kept another streak alive with his sixth strikeout of the game:
Asdrubal Cabrera's strikeout means Scherzer's streak of starts with 6+ K's rolls on, now at 18 starts.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) July 9, 2013
Scherzer ended his seven-inning stint with seven punch outs. Scherzer has the longest six-plus K streak to start a season since Pedro Martinez was in his prime, reaching 29 straight games in 2000.
There was another streak on the line for Scherzer as well. Tonight was his tenth straight quality start.
Bottom of the eighth, Brayan Pena made the defensive play of the game. Conversely, I'm sure Tribe fans are saying Bro King Nick Swisher pulled the brain fart of the game. Swisher hit a dribbler into foul territory, and then stepped away from the plate. But Pena realized the ball had just enough spin to possibly roll back into fair territory. While Swisher was just hanging out near the batter's box with his back turned, Pena grabbed the ball the moment it touched the third base line. Smiling all the way, Pena sprinted over to the clueless Swisher and tagged him out. All Swisher could do was grin.
Post game, Francona was asked why he didn't bunt in the ninth. He said Stubbs was going to try and steal third, but couldn't get good footing. Francona also added he thought Chisenhall could pull the ball on Smyly, moving Stubbs over. Francona couldn't have been more wrong.
Max Scherzer: Wasn't at his sharpest, but much of that had to do with pitching in ridiculous weather. Regardless, Scherzer had another excellent outing, seven innings, two runs, seven hits, seven strikeouts, all streaks intact.
Victor Martinez: Had two doubles on the night, but the second was massive. Hits don't get much bigger than a two-out, two-run, game-winning double in extra innings.
Drew Smyly: Always cool as ice, Smyly entered the game with the winning run on base and no one out. The old-school fireman put out the blaze, retiring all three batters he faced to send the game into extras.
Matt Tuiasosopo: All Tuiasosopo does is hit! His game-tying home run in the fourth raised his average to .342.
The Cleveland Indians: Scheduling a night game on a getaway day forced the two teams to play in miserably wet conditions. Considering the trouble the Indians had with their footing, costing them at least one run, karma gave the Tribe a little payback.
|Roll Call Info|
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TOP TEN COMMENTERS:
|2||Joaquin on Sunshine||110|
|7||There Can Only Be One Verlander||59|
|# Recs||Commenter||Comment Link|
|6||Rob Rogacki||Tigers win!|
|4||Emil Sitka||He could have bro-ken his ankle|
|4||Joaquin on Sunshine||[no title]|
|3||RedWingedLigerFan||BOOM! 3 out of 4 in Cleveland! 3.5 up !!|
Miguel Cabrera's four hits, a home run, and two RBIs gave the Tigers' All-Star slugger a narrow victory over All-Star outfielder Torii Hunter's two hits, a home run and four RBIs in the PotG vote, 51% - 42%.