Was it the return ofto the leadoff spot in the batting order? Was it coming back to give the middle of the lineup some thunder? Was it the warmer, almost summer-like weather at Comerica Park? Whatever the reason, the scored more than three runs with the game on the line. And some long-awaited offense got them a much-needed series win this afternoon.
The scoring outburst also bailed out, who was facing a loss after a rough first inning in which he allowed two home runs. (One of those long balls was the first of the season for , joining other sluggers who have taken Porcello deep, such as and , both of whom have two homers on the season.) But the rookie fought through another four innings, allowing just one more hit until he was taken out after 84 pitches.
Credit for the victory should also go to three extremely generouspitchers, who combined to allow nine walks. That was more than Detroit's hit total today. Best of all, the Tigers made the Angels pay for those mistakes, as six of those walks turned into runs.
And thanks to losses by the Twins and White Sox, the Tigers add a game to their lead in the AL Central. That cushion could be extremely important, with five games at U.S. Cellular Field, beginning with a doubleheader tomorrow.
Three of the aforementioned walks were driven in on one hit, a grand slam by. And Clete wasn't even supposed to play today. He replaced , who was taken out of the game in the fourth inning when it was clear that his sore hamstring wouldn't allow him to play at full speed. Kind of a bold move by Jim Leyland, with the Tigers protecting a one-run lead with five innings to go. But Clete made sure it paid off by taking deep, opposite field-style.
Sometimes, the boxscore doesn't tell the whole story. If you look at 's line, the 0-for-3 might lead you to think he didn't do much. But he did score one run, which ended up making all the difference.
In the eighth inning,hit a fly ball to shallow center, probably not deep enough to score on. But Raburn bluffed like he was going to try to score, which drew a throw from , Jr. Instead of letting the throw go through, however, tried to cut it off and ended up tipping the ball into foul territory. That gave Raburn the opening he needed to go for home. It was still a close play at the plate, but he slid in just under the tag to score the go-ahead run.
Comment of the Day:
You know, I was originally thinking of leaning another way, but I have to agree with the popular vote on this one.
Apparently, that's where the line starts, folks.