Up 4-3 with one out in the ninth, eight consecutive Tigers reached base on seven hits and a walk against a pair of Mets' relievers. Ultimately, the Tigers would send 11 to the plate in the ninth while scoring seven runs, ending any ninth-inning drama with total malice.
Tigers starter and winner Rick Porcello held the Mets to three runs on four hits in seven innings of work. In winning his tenth game of the season, Porcello became the fifth Tigers' starting pitcher to reach double digit victories. Porcello now has at least ten wins in all five seasons of his career.
Dillon Gee was tagged with the loss, allowing four runs on ten hits over six innings. The Mets used six pitchers on the day, but the final two relievers, LaTroy Hawkins and Scott Atchison, were knocked around by the Tigers in the big ninth inning. Hawkins was charged with five runs on four hits, Atchison two runs and three hits.
The Tigers outhit the Mets 18-4 on the day and 41-17 over the three game series. Today, the Tigers' offense was led by Miguel Cabrera, who had three hits, two runs scored, two RBIs and a massive home run. Cabrera leads MLB with 128 RBIs, and is second in home runs with 42. Andy Dirks also went yard, hitting a two-run homer in the sixth, driving in three runs total. Utility man Ramon Santiago had three hits, a run scored and an RBI.
Mets rookie catcher Travis d'Arnaud supplied most of the Mets' offense with his first career home run, a two-run shot in the fourth. Daniel Murphy chipped in an RBI single.
The Tigers have made their mark against the inferior NL East with an 8-2 record, including sweeps of the Nationals, Phillies and Mets. The only games the Tigers have dropped against NL East opposition was a two game road series with the Nationals on May 8-9. The Tigers have gone 8-0 since. Overall against the Junior Varsity (aka National League), the Tigers are an impressive 12-5.
Facing Dillon Gee with one out in the first, Miguel Cabrera hit a shot heard 'round the baseball world.
Austin Jackson on first base with a lead-off single, Tigers' play-by-play man Mario Impemba set the stage, saying:
"When he (Cabrera) hits them, he usually clears the fence by a wide margin."
Served an 2-0 fastball on a platter, Cabrera absolutely crushed it to deep, DEEP left. Lets just say, even by Cabrera's standards, he cleared the left field wall by a wide margin. The moonshot landed in a concourse tunnel in the second deck of Citi Field. (Click for MLB.com video, GIF via the Twitter must-follow @WorldofIsaac)
Holy expletive— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) August 25, 2013
Cabrera's ridiculously long two-run homer was number 42 on the season, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
The Mets and their crowd still in shock over Cabrera's rocket, Rick Porcello followed up with a shutdown inning, setting the side down in order.
Top of two, Gee found himself in further trouble. Andy Dirks reached base for the fourth straight at bat, drawing a lead off walk. Ramon Santiago, getting the start in place of a banged up Jose Iglesias, singled to right. Porcello was asked the bunt, couldn't, then hit a comebacker to Gee, but instead of throwing to second to start a double play, Gee hesitated, then went to third. Dirks was out on the fielder's choice, but Porcello beat the throw to first, extending the inning. Runners on the corners, the Tigers couldn't make Gee pay for his fielding faux pas. Jackson hit a line drive on the screws, but it was right at second baseman Daniel Murphy, ending the threat.
Two down in the second, Porcello allowed his first base runner, Juan Lagares singling to left. Porcello would then record his third ground ball out of the game, Travis d'Arnaud sending a bouncer to Omar Infante to end the inning.
The Mets manufactured a run in the third, thanks to the pitching Cardinal sin, the lead-off walk. Porcello walked Omar Quintanilla, who would advance to third on a bunt and ground ball. Then the Mets got a little lucky. Porcello exploded Murphy's bat, but he was able to muscle a looper to center which dropped just over the infield. The Twins Hit plated Quintanilla, pulling the Mets within one at 2-1. Lucky or not, bad things happen when you walk .224 hitters.
Top of four, Rational Tigers Fan had a completely rational rant:
WHY IS EVERYONE BUNTING?— Rational Tigers Fan (@Rational_Tigers) August 25, 2013
ALL THREE BATTERS SHOWED BUNT STOP IT RIGHT NOW— Rational Tigers Fan (@Rational_Tigers) August 25, 2013
None of the three batters who squared around were a pitcher. With two out, Ramon Santiago came to his senses after showing bunt and singled to right. Porcello swung away, grounding out to end the inning.
Porcello walked the lead-off man for the second straight inning. Guess what? Bad things happened for the second straight inning. Though this time, the walk wasn't to blame. A two-out single was.
Two down, Lagares lashed a single past a pulled in Cabrera, who was very slow to get up after diving. Rookie Travis d'Arnaud, playing in only his seventh career game, took Porcello deep for his first career home run. This home run was a fence scraper, just clearing the wall in left center, but it counted the same as Cabrera's blast. Regardless, the big fly gave the Mets a 3-2 advantage.
In a slumber after Cabrera's long bomb, the Tigers' offense woke up in the sixth. Victor Martinez, catching for the second time in three games, led off with a line single to left. After sending an line drive foul on a hit and run, Dirks decided a hit and jog would better serve the Tigers.
Dirks got all of Gee's knee-high, off-speed pitch, ending a 23-game homerless streak by smashing a two-run shot over the wall in right. Dirks' seventh home run of the season allowed the Tigers to retake the lead at 4-3 (MLB.com video).
At 73, Porcello's pitch count was in solid shape entering the bottom of the sixth. It was also the first inning since the second in which Porcello didn't walk a batter, protecting a one-run lead by retiring the Mets in order.
Gee wasn't in as good of shape at 108 through six, manager Terry Collins replacing his starter with right-header David Aardsma.
NL style ball began in earnest, the bullpen door in revolving mode.
Once Aardsma allowed a lead off single to Cabrera, with Fielder on deck and Dirks due to hit, Collins brought in lefty Scott Rice. He proceeded to strike out Fielder, Martinez flying out to right, Dirks bouncing out to end the inning.
The Tigers up 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh and Porcello still on the mound, BYB contributor did a little math.
Tigers win % with Porcello pitching & scoring at least: 3 runs: .182 4 runs: .250 6 runs: .375 We need more runs.— HookSlide (@CabrerasCorner) August 25, 2013
Even if MOAR RUNS were needed, Porcello was rolling. He set down the Mets in order, now having retired seven straight. But being his spot in the batting order was coming up third in the top of the eighth, Porcello's afternoon was quite likely over.
Surprisingly, in spite of Pena pinch hitting, Martinez remained in the game behind the plate. Bruce Rondon was now on the mound in place of Porcello. Heavy B went to a full count on pinch hitter Lucas Duda before issuing the dreaded lead-off walk. Eric Young didn't lay down a very good bunt, directly in front of the plate. Martinez should have had Duda at second, but fumbled the bare-hand pick, and was forced to go to first.
Murphy sent a can of corn to center for the second out, but Rondon wild-pitched Duda to third with Marlon Byrd at the plate. Rondon bore down, striking out Byrd to strand the game tying run 90 feet away. Not the prettiest of innings for Rondon, but the scorecard will read zero runs, which is what counts.
In case you didn't know (and I didn't), after 19 seasons and ten MLB teams, ancient right-hander LaTroy Hawkins is still in the big leagues, pitching the top of the ninth for the Mets. One out, Hunter singled to center, forcing Hawkins to pitch to Cabrera. A long at bat finally ended with Cabrera victorious, bouncing a single to left.
Hunter got a bad read on Fielder's looping single to left, forced to stop at third base, loading the bases with one out. Martinez made the misread moot, everyone moving station-to-station when he lined a single to right. Hunter had scored, Bryan Holaday ran for Martinez, the bases remained loaded and the Tigers pushed their lead to 5-3.
Hawkins' afternoon came to a quick end when he walked Dirks, driving in the second run of the inning, the Tigers up 6-3. This led to the pinnacle of NL strategy (at least, that's what we're always told), the double shift! Both right-handed reliever Scott Atchison and right fielder Andrew Brown entered the game.
Despite strategy ensuing, it didn't help the Mets. A close game quickly turned into a blowout.
Infante greeted Atchison with a single to left to plate Fielder. 7-3 Tigers.
Atchison uncorked a wild pitch, Holaday sliding home. 8-3 Tigers.
Santiago singled to right, Dirks scoring. 9-3 Tigers.
Matt Tuiasosopo pinch hit for Rondon, singled to center, Infante racing home. 10-3 Tigers.
Jackson lifted a sacrifice fly to right, Santiago tagging up to score. 11-3 Tigers.
Hunter struck out to mercifully end the ninth. Eight straight batters reaching base at one point, the Tigers had scored seven run on seven hits, a wild pitch, walk and sacrifice fly off a pair of Mets' relievers.
The save situation long having evaporated, Joaquin Benoit took a seat during the Tigers' parade around the bases. Jeremy Bonderman got ninth-inning mop up duty instead. One double play and three outs later...
The dismantling of the Mets was thorough and complete. Over the three games, the Tigers outscored the Mets 20-4 while outhitting them 41-17.
As for the Central standings, the Tigers are a season-high 24 games over .500, leading the AL in both total wins and winning percentage at 77-53, .592. The Indians are running out of time, but are hanging around at six games back after beating the Twins this afternoon.
Having wrapped up their short three-game road trip, the Tigers head back to Detroit for a seven-game homestand. First on tap is four games with the Athletics, game one featuring A's right-hander A.J. Griffin (10-9, 3.84 ERA) taking on Anibal Sanchez (11-7, 2.45 ERA). Griffin has a knack for allowing home runs (an MLB-leading 30) and is winless since July 29. Griffin may be 0-2 in his last four starts, but it's due to a lack of run support than his own performance, posting a solid 3.47 ERA. Sanchez is 4-0 with a 1.51 ERA in his last six appearances, all Tigers' victories. He leads the AL in ERA, at 2.45. First pitch at Comerica Park is set for 7:08 PM.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:
FSD caught Rod Allen on an open mic before the start of the game. We got a "Mic check, have a nice game boys and girls" and a little Telestrator art!
It's official. Rod Allen is the Czar of the Telestrator.
Even Rod and Mario, who have seen Miguel Cabrera do wondrous things, were stunned by his monster two-run homer which landed in the second deck of Citi Field.
"OH MY GOODNESS!"
"DID YOU DO THAT, MIGUEL?!"
Absolutely nothing Cabrera does should surprise us anymore, not even ridiculously long, 500-foot moonshots. But ESPN Stats & Info claims it was much shorter.
Miguel Cabrera’s 1st inning HR went 429 feet. Since 2009, Cabrera has 34 HR of 420+ feet. That's 5 more than any other player.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 25, 2013
Cabrera now has 42 home runs, four back of the MLB lead. Could someone be hearing footsteps?
Chris Davis hears a voice...looks over his shoulder. "Si or no?" And it's getting louder...— Scott Rogowski (@DNR_Rogo) August 25, 2013
Miguel Cabrera has 86 HR in the last 2 seasons. No other player even has 80 in that span.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 25, 2013
Prince Fielder has a doppelganger:
Andy Dirks is on a tear. Since his 4-for-4 outing in game one of the Royals series last week, Dirks entered today hitting .375/.464/.500 in his last nine games. Today, Dirks necked a two-run home run and walked in another in his ongoing attempt to keep Nick Castellanos at Triple-A Toledo.
Mr. and Mrs. Met made a seventh-inning stretch appearance, red flags going off for our friend Rogo.
Judging by his head size, I suspect Mr. Met of PED use. Someone get on this, please.— Scott Rogowski (@DNR_Rogo) August 25, 2013
Rick Porcello: Solid game for the Tigers' fifth starter, allowing three runs on four hits over seven innings. At the plate, Porcello added a single.
Miguel Cabrera: Reached base four times, 3-for-4 with a walk, two RBIs, two runs and one of the longer home runs you'll ever see.
Andy Dirks: Huge series for Dirks, necking out four hits in seven at-bats, walking twice, scoring three runs, driving in three more. Today, Dirks' two-run home run gave the Tigers a lead they would never relinquish, chipping in a bases-loaded walk in the ninth.
When a three-game sweep ends with a blowout victory, it's hard to be upset about anything ... even NL-style baseball!
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Max Scherzer won his 19th game by holding the Mets scoreless for six innings on three hits and 11 strikeouts. He also drove in the game-winning RBI with a double. Scherzer was rewarded for his all-around efforts by winning PotG balloting in a blowout, carrying 94% of the vote.