In his return to the Bronx, making his home season debut, Alex Rodriguez was greeted by more cheers than boos from Yankees fans. But the cheers turned to jeers when A-Rod struggled through an 0-for-4, three strikeout night.
As for the game itself, a quiet game turned dramatic in the ninth. The Yankees up 3-1, Miguel Cabrera hit a game tying two run home run off Mariano Rivera to send the game into extra innings. The Yankees would bounce back to win in walk off fashion in the tenth on Brett Gardner's bases loaded single off Tigers' reliever Al Alburquerque.
Rivera's second blown save in as many appearance cost starter Ivan Nova the victory. Nova pitched seven innings, allowing one run and eight hits. Shawn Kelley, (4-1) the fifth and final Yankees' pitcher, was credited with the win.
The Tigers used seven pitchers on the night, Alburquerque (2-3) suffering the loss. Starter Rick Porcello was pulled after five innings after giving up three runs on six hits.
Cabrera had the Tigers' highlight of the night, but Austin Jackson led the way with four hits, three falling for doubles. Cabrera had two hits and all three Detroit RBIs. Brayan Pena added a pair of singles.
The Yankees' offense was triggered by the top of the order, Tigers' pitchers unable to contain Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki. Gardner had three hits, a walk, two runs scored and the game winning RBI. Ichiro added three hits and a run scored. Robinson Cano added a two RBI double.
There were story lines to burn - The Tigers' long winning streak came to an end, the surrounded by controversy Alex Rodriguez made his return to the Bronx and the Yankees walked off in extra innings. But all anyone will ultimately remember is the ninth inning match up between a pair of future Hall of Famers, Miguel Cabrera and Mariano Rivera, and the dramatic home run which resulted.
After a 47 minute rain delay, Tigers and Yankees got underway. Ivan Nova finally fired the first pitch of the game at 7:52 PM. Austin Jackson promptly sent it right back through the box for a single to center. Make it back-to-back singles, Torii Hunter's bouncer through the left side getting past Eduardo Nunez at short.
Miguel Cabrera followed by hitting the ball on the screws (Rod Allen: "that ball's lopsided!"), but his scorching line drive was directly at Brett Gardner in center. Jackson was able to tag up and take third on the play. Prince Fielder didn't fish for any bad pitches, working a walk to load the bases for Victor Martinez.
Nova got a huge out, striking out Martinez on three pitches. It would be up to Andy Dirks to come up with a two out base hit. Dirks stuck out on four pitches, the Tigers squandering a bases loaded opportunity.
Two batters into the bottom half of the first, Rick Porcello found himself in a jam. Unlike Nove, he didn't get completely out of it.
Porcello walked Gardner, looking as if he was squeezed in the process. Ichiro did what Ichiro has done for years, and slapped a single to center. Procello got the ground ball he needed of off the bat of Robinson Cano, but second baseman Hernan Perez had trouble getting the ball out of his glove, and was forced to throw to first. One out and runners in scoring position, Alfonso Soriano got the run across on a high chopper to third, Cabrera's only play was to first.
Batting sixth, Alex Rodriguez received a mixed reception from Yankees fans in his first home at bat of 2013, yet received far more cheers than boos. But he boos increased exponentially when Porcello struck out A-Rod to end the threat, the Yankees up 1-0 after one.
A-Rod strikes out. Now fans who were cheering are booing.— Shawn Windsor (@shawnwindsor) August 10, 2013
Top of two, the Tigers threatened with two out. Brayan Pena leading off with a single, Jackson's leg double sending the Food Truck to third. But whenever Nova got into trouble, he would have back on his curve ball, which was near unhittable. This time the Tigers would strand two, Hunter pounding a Nova breaking ball into the dirt for an inning ending ground ball to short.
The top of the Yankees' order continued to cause trouble for Porcello. Bottom of three, Gardner and Ichiro opened the inning with back-to-back singles. Cano proceeded to clear the bases, sending a long drive over Jackson's head in left center for a two RBI double. Despite having no chance to make a play at the plate, Jose Iglesias' ill-advised throw home allowed Cano to advance to third.
Porcello would nicely pitch out of further trouble, striking out Soriano and Rodriguez (even more booing this time around) and a Curtis Granderson ground ball. The Yankees were up 3-0 after three. Online, the Tigers' fan base was ready to jump off a cliff.
Top of four, the Tigers put a runner in scoring position, but couldn't get a two out hit. Leading off, Pena was plunked by Nova, Iglesias' swinging bunt good for a one out infield single. Jackson's high chopper forced Iglesias, Pena advancing to third. Hunter made a bid, but his drive to right center died on the warning track, Gardner running the fly down near the '385 mark. For the third time in four innings, the Tigers had stranded a runner in scoring position.
Porcello had his first 1-2-3 inning of the night in the fourth. After allowing the run scoring double to Cano, Porcello had retired six straight.
Porcello appeared to have gotten straightened out, but would the offense get untracked against Nova?It didn't happen the bottom of the fifth, Nova stranding Martinez at first after giving up a two out single.
Top of the Yankees' order meant more trouble for the Tigers. Gardner, who had Porcello's number all evening, led off with a single, reaching base for the third straight at bat. He advanced to second on Ichiro's ground out, then stole third without a throw. One out and Gardner now 90' away, Jim Lelyand elected to walk Cano, preferring to pitch to Soriano.
The move worked perfectly, Soriano striking out swinging, badly missing Porcello's inside breaking ball. But Porcello still had to retire A-Rod. As Rodriguez was swinging at strike two, Cano stole second. The New York crowd ready to pounce on A-Rod, they got their chance when he sent a can of corn to right, stranding a pair in scoring position.
With that, Porcello was pulled by Leyland after five innings and 100 pitches. It was Porcello's shortest stint since June 25, when his nemesis, the Angels, knocked him out of the box after 4 1/3 innings. The only shorter start for Porcello this season was the infamous "Death by paper cuts" game back on April 20.
The sixth was another fruitless inning against Nova, the Tigers going down in order. Bottom half of the inning and pair of left-hand bats due up, Phil Coke took over for Porcello. October 2012, Coke dominated the Yankees. Tonight, he was only going to face Granderson and Lyle Overbay. Granderson whiffed, but Overbay dropped a single over short, despite Coke shattering his bat.
Coming of his brilliant three innings in Cleveland Wednesday night, Jeremy Bonderman replaced Coke. He wasn't quite as sharp in this outing, walking Chris Stewart with two out. But Bondo kept Gardner off the bases for the first time all night, flying out to left, stranding both runners
The Tigers finally got to Nova, but Max Scherzer was tossed from the game in the process. Jackson led off with his third hit, doubling to left. Taking third on a wild pitch, Jackson scored on Cabrera's single to left.
Holding a 3-1 lead, Yankees' skipper Joe Girardi decided to keep Nova in the game. Nova had no issue getting out of further trouble, ending the inning on ground balls off the bats of Fielder and Martinez.
While all the above was going down, Mad Max Scherzer was tossed after Hunter struck out, apparently a little too mouthy for the taste of home plate umpire Will Little. Or was Hunter the one causing all the trouble?
I am suspicious here. I honestly think the young ump panicked and changed the ejection from Hunter to Scherzer.— Tony Paul (@TonyPaul1984) August 10, 2013
Replays did show a very pissed off Hunter yelling at Little from the dugout. Regardless, Scherzer getting the thumb was in the Tigers' favor.
Drew Smyly, pitching for only the third time in nine days, started the eighth. Ichiro greeted Smyly with his third single of the game. A Cano double play later, Leyland was still playing match ups, bringing Bruce Rondon out of the bullpen. Hunter remaining in the game paid off, as he covered a huge amount of ground to make a spectacular sliding catch on Soriano's pop up in foul territory, ending the inning.
Nova's night was over after seven innings and 97 pitches, scattering eight hits and allowing just one run. Girardi was managing by the baseball bible, bringing on his setup man, right-hander David Robertson, to start the eighth. Three outs and 12 pitches later, Robertson was done for the night, Mariano Rivera warming up.
Rondon remained in the game, starting the bottom of the eighth for the Tigers. Once he struck out A-Rod, Rondon got into trouble, the Yankees loading the bases with one out. Rondon walked Granderson, who stole second (Pena taking two steps and double pumping on the throw.). That was followed by a walk to Overbay.
Nunez followed with a high bouncing comebacker. Rondon made the right choice, firing to second. But his throw was high, almost sailing into center and pulling Perez off the bag. The throwing error loaded the bases for Stewart. Rondon managed to keep the Tigers within shouting distance, Steward bouncing into a slickly turned 6-4-3 double play.
The Tigers may have been within shouting distance, down 3-1. But they would have to come back against Rivera. One down, Jackson's marvelous game continued with a double to left center. Rivera retired Hunter on a hard one-hop comebacker for the second out.
That left it up to Cabrera. The count 1-2, he fouled a ball off his knee (or twisted it),and needed to walk it off.. After fouling off the next pitch off the same knee, Cabrera was in quite a bit of pain, limping around the batters' box. After walking it off and the count 2-2, Rivera's cutter didn't cut. A one-legged Cabrera launched a fly ball to the deepest reaches of Yankee Stadium, clearing the center field wall over 400' feet away (MLB.com video). The streak wasn't dead!
The Yankees could only stare in disbelief as Cabrera circled the bases, the game miraculously knotted at 3-all. A still stunned Rivera then severed up a fat pitch to Fielder, which the big man yanked into the right field corner for a double. Smartly, the Yankees walked Martinez in order to pitch to Dirks. The move worked, Dirks hitting a soft looper to short, ending the rally.
But the Tigers had come back from two down against a Hall of Fame bound closer. It would be up to Jose Veras to send the game into extra innings. Veras did just that, striking out Soriano to end the ninth. On to the tenth we went.
There would be no vultured win for a still shocked looking Rivera.
In extra innings this season, the Tigers are 5-9, the Yankees 3-5. But the Tigers have won their last three extra inning games, while the Yankees had lost their lost four. Turned out recent momentum didn't make any difference.
Top of ten, Pena greeted lefty reliever Boone Logan by singling to center. Playing for one run, Perez laid down a sacrifice bunt, Pena taking second. Kelly, having entered the game at second base in the ninth (Perez moving to short, Iglesias was out of the game), drew a base on balls.
There were runners on the pond for Jackson, who already had four hits on the night. But Logan caught Jackson looking on a looping off speed pitch for the second out. Strategy ensued.
Playing percentages, Girardi brought in right-hjander Shawn Kelley to face Hunter. Percentages worked, Hunter popping up to end the threat.
Bottom of ten, Leyland was running out of arms, going with Al Alburquerque. It went as you would expect.It was a roller coaster half inning.
Alburquerque walked Jayson Nix, then gave up a single to Granderson. Leyland went out to the mound to either - discuss strategy, read Alburquerque the riot act, or discuss candlesticks and place settings.
Alburquerque got a needed strikeout of Overbay ... but, in a scenario we've seen before, the pitch was in the dirt, and skipped through Pena's five hole. Both runners were able to move into scoring position. First base now open, the Tigers had no choice but to intentionally walk Nunez.
Stewart could only stare at a slider for strike three, Alburquerque suddenly throwing strikes after Leyland's visit. But Alburquerque's luck finally ran out. Gardner reached base for the fourth time, slapping a seeing-eye RBI single through the left side.
Game over. Winning streak over. Your final score is Yankees 4, Tigers 3.
The Tigers drop to 5-10 in extras, 13-15 in one run games and suffer their eighth walk off loss of the season, though the sting is lessened when it comes after a 12 game winning streak. But the thought of the Tigers stranding seven runners in scoring potion with two out does sting, if only a little. They had their chances, but just couldn't convert.
A loss was bound to happen, sooner than later. Much sooner when you use Alburquerque in anything resembling a high leverage situation. No wonder Evan Reed was upset when he was sent down. He deserved to remain in Detroit. Alburquerque is still the same pitcher he was after being sent down earlier this season - completely untrustworthy.
Waiting for the 2011 version of Alburquerque to return will just result in more drama like tonight's.
But I'm not going to get up in arms over the Tigers losing a game to the Yankees in New York, with their fifth starter on the mound, Cabrera still gimpy, their second baseman and catcher out with injuries and coming off crushing the Indians' hopes and dreams. But I will get up in arms if we keep seeing Alburquerque used in the late innings.
Now owners of a one game losing streak, but still winners of 12-of-13 and 16-of-18, the Tigers drop to 68-46 on the season, But their lead over the Indians holds at seven games. The gobsmacked Tribe fell to the Angels tonight, 5-2.
Game two of Tigers versus the Evil Empire features Anibal Sanchez (9-7, 2.58 ERA) taking on right-hander Phil Hughes (4-10, 4.87 ERA). Sanchez is 2-0, 1.31 last three starts, all Tigers' victories. Hughes hasn't won a game in over a month, 0-3, 7.30 in his his three appearances and is coming off a loss to the Padres, allowing six runs on five hits in 2 2/3 innings. First pitch at the remodeled House that Ruth Built is 1:05 PM.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:
Miguel Cabrera stat of the day:
Miguel Cabrera has 33 HRs and 105 RBI on Aug 9. Last season, only 6 players had those power numbers for the entire season. He was 1 of them.— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) August 9, 2013
Investigative reporting on the FSD broadcast:
John Keating: "A-Rod talked to Rod Allen."
Mario Impemba: "Want to share any of that?"
Rod Allen: "Not really!"
Mario Impemba: "All righty then."
As usual, whenever the Tigers face once beloved, now the enemy, Curtis Granderson, the fan base is torn.
Love you, Curtis. Please don't kill the #Tigers this series, okay?— Cath (@Baroque97) August 10, 2013
I don't care how much you loved Granderson when he was here. He is the enemy. You do not support him at all this series— rcloserwashighonweed (@spacemnkymafia) August 10, 2013
Alex Rodriguez looked a little out of sorts. Phil Coke's Brain has a solution.
A-Rod looks a bit weak and sluggish. I wonder if they make medication for that.— PCB (@PhilCokesBrain) August 10, 2013
The Tigers down 3-0 after three? EVERYBODY PANIC! Wait, what? Oh, yeah.
99.5% lock to make the playoffs 99.5% lock to make the playoffs 99.5% lock to make the playoffs 99.5% lock to make the playoffs 99.5% lock t— NERTS ATTACK BABY (@catswithbats) August 10, 2013
PHil Coke has just one job. He's a LOOGY. But not a very good one.
.274/.304/.387 for Phil Coke against lefties now, btw.— Grow your football (@ChampaignCaviar) August 10, 2013
For comparison's sake, lefty vs. lefty, Darin Downs is .233/.270/.383 and Drew Smyly is a ridiculous .141/.177/.152
How rare is it for Mariano Rivera to give up the lead on a home run with two outs in the ninth? This is baseball. Of course it's been tracked.
Cabrera's home run made it consecutive blown saves for Rivera, which happens about once a generation.
This is the first time Mariano Rivera has blown consecutive save chances within 3 days since April 5-6, 2005, when he blew 2 vs Red Sox— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 10, 2013
It was also the first blown save for Rivera against the Tigers since July 6, 1999. Rivera blew that save, but vultured the win.
I love it when beat writers get snarky. Matthew B. Mowery referenced this ESPN insider column in praise of Wonderboy, tweeting after Cabrera's home run.
What you have to remember, after watching that historic Miggy vs. Mo matchup, and game-tying HR, is that Mike Trout does the little things— Matthew B. Mowery (@matthewbmowery) August 10, 2013
The tile of the column?
Trout again AL's most valuable
His mastery of the "little things" makes him even better than you think
Austin Jackson: Has busted out of a slump in a big way, Jackson was 4-for-5 with three doubles tonight, 8-for-17 over the last three.
Miguel Cabrera: Drove in the only Tigers' runs of the game with a seventh inning single and ninth inning home run. Now has 108 RBIs on the season.
Alex Rodriguez: Three strikeouts, 0-for-4, boos galore. A-Rod's awful night in his return to New York will upstage the the Tigers' win streak coming to an end. ... but not the Cabrera - Rivera dramatics.
Andy Dirks: Stranded three runners in scoring position with two out, including a huge one in the ninth. An 0-for-5 night dropped Dirks average to .245. The whispers for Nick Caastellanos aren't going to remain whispers much longer.
Hernan Perez: Not a good night for the rookie, starting with an 0-for-4 night at the plate. Defensively, his inability to start a first inning double play ended up costing the Tigers a run.
Al Alburquerque: With an ERA of 5.12, unable to trust him in any kind of tight situation, all you can ask is, "Why is Alburquerque still on the roster?" Evan Reed should still be in Detroit, Alburquerque in Triple-A Toledo.
Brett Gardner and Ichiro: Outright killed the Tigers, combining for a 6-for-10, three run scored, game winning RBI night. Ichiro added a defensive gem early on, robbing Cabrera of extra bases with a lunging grab in the right field corner.
TOP TEN COMMENTERS:
|3||Joaquin on Sunshine||135|
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Max Scherzer's 17th win put MLBs leader in pitching victories over the top in the BYB PotG poll, carrying 55% of the vote.