Detroit's Zach wasn't quite as dominant tonight as Kansas City's Zack was last night. But after a shaky first three innings, Zach Miner settled in for what was probably the best start a pitcher has given the Tigers in their last five games. Granted, the Royals helped Miner out with some bad baserunning and a timely double play. But on a night where he wasn't all that sharp (throwing only 42 of 83 pitches for strikes and walking three batters), Miner still managed to go five innings while allowing only one run and three hits.
And making his long-awaited return to the Tigers bullpen tonight was Joel Zumaya. A big lead presented a good opportunity to break the seal on him. When Jim Leyland used Brandon Lyon and Nate Robertson, however, it seemed as if Zumaya might have to wait.
But he came in for the ninth, and brought the heat we love to see right away. Two of Zumaya's first three pitches were clocked at 100 m.p.h. (At least they were on Fox Sports Detroit. MLB.com Gameday had him at 99 m.p.h.) He gave up two hits, and was helped out by a double play, so you can't say Zumaya blew Royals hitters away. But I'm sure he felt good about pitching to major league hitters and getting through a scoreless inning. It was definitely fun to see him back.
How impressive has Gerald Laird been in his first three weeks as a Tiger? He seems to hit the ball hard in every game he's played, but one went out of the park tonight, giving Miner a 2-0 first-inning lead. With a 3-for-4 night, Laird is now hitting .340.
Also hitting his first home run of the season - finally - was Magglio Ordonez. Maggs was still without an extra base hit coming into the game, making many of us wonder when it was time to really begin worrying. Maybe that hasn't passed yet, but it was a relief to see him finally turn on a fastball and whip one into the seats.
Do we have to worry about Miguel Cabrera? He's hitting 1-for-11 in the last three games, and tonight, Rod Allen noted Cabrera was feeling some pain in his forearm and/or wrist. And it looked like there was some discussion between Cabrera and Kevin Rand as to whether or not he should bat in the ninth inning. He did, grounding out to shortstop. But don't be surprised if he gets a day off tomorrow to heal up a bit.
Miner walked Alberto Callaspo and Coco Crisp to lead off the third inning, and suddenly, that 4-0 Tigers lead didn't look very safe. From there, however, Miner struck out David DeJesus and got Mark Teahen to ground into a double play, neutralizing the last chance the Royals had to get back into the ballgame.
Comment of the Night:
I actually like watching our 3B hit this season...
what’s his name again?by Boney