Of course this was going to happen, right? Match the teams with the top two ERAs in the American League against each other, both of whom are also among the lowest-scoring teams in the league, and you get a slugfest. Sure thing. Cue the Tim Kurkjian "this is what makes baseball so great" quotes.
Neither team waited too long to get the scoring started, either, as hits from Ichiro Suzuki and Jose Lopez put the Mariners on the board three batters into the game. The Tigers answered right back in the home half of the first, however, with hits from Curtis Granderson and Placido Polanco leading to a run. But Detroit wasn't finished.
Garrett Olson (who will hopefully pitch for Seattle when they return to Detroit in mid-August) walked Miguel Cabrera and Marcus Thames to load the bases for Magglio Ordonez. And with no outs in the inning, the snarky among us joked that Maggs could hit into a double play and still drive in a run. But The Big Tilde got the last laugh when Olson looped a 79 m.p.h. curveball right into his red zone.
When the Fox Sports Detroit cameras pulled back for the wide shot of left field, it almost didn't seem possible. Could this really be happening? Ordonez pulling a deep drive to left with that familiar whip of a swing? Ryan Langerhans backing up to the wall?
And... the ball went over the fence! Plus, it didn't just land in the Tigers' bullpen, but over the old Comerica Park wall, into the camera well. Grand slam home run! After four batters, Detroit had scored as many runs as they had all weekend at Yankee Stadium. (Cue a teardrop running down the cheeks of Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson.)
The Tigers added three more runs on a Placido Polanco homer and a Ryan Raburn triple that was aided by a scary collision between Franklin Gutierrez and the right-center scoreboard. And as it turns out, Detroit needed those extra runs as Rick Porcello looked like a pitcher who hadn't played meaningful baseball in more than two weeks. Giving up five runs and nine hits in five innings isn't going to boost the confidence of anyone concerned over how the rookie will contribute to a playoff run.
Chalk it up to rust, perhaps. Maybe a sharper Porcello doesn't hang his breaking ball for a couple of Mariners hitters to jack out of the park. Or maybe it was just one of those nights where the ballpark was a launching pad and bad pitching supplied the ignition. But it wasn't the most encouraging showing from a pitcher the Tigers will most certainly need to perform as well as he had in the first third of this season.
All in all, seven home runs were hit in the ballgame. If you were sitting the outfield at the CoPa, you stood a decent chance of getting yourself a souvenir, rubbed with Delaware mud, baseball. Just what you'd expect from the two stingiest pitching staffs in the AL, right?
Miguel Cabrera has compiled a 16-game hitting streak, but hadn't really been driving the ball with authority in recent games. Could that be about to change. Cabrera went 3-for-3 with a homer, and almost had two, but a drive to deep right-center hit just below the top of the wall. (Where would that one have ended up at Yankee Stadium?)
Last year, BigMig had a torrid second half, hitting .302/.350/.601 with 21 homers and 70 RBIs. If he's gearing up for a repeat performance, the Tigers might find themselves with the offense they need so desperately.
After an 0-for-4 night, Adam Everett is slogging through one of his worst slumps of the season. With just two hits in his last nine games (23 at-bats), his batting average has sunk from .275 to .254. His on-base percentage has also dropped 43 points.
Comment of the Night:
How I imagine them talking in the dugout
Edwin: What’s that funny number by our name?
Justin: It’s an 8.
Edwin: Is it more than 1.
Justin: Yes; I’ve had a those a few times.
Edwin: I hate you and everyone in this dugout.