Apparently, the run sponge was wrung dry last night.
Following Detroit's lineup exploded for 10 home runs (and four homers), was it utterly predictable that the Tigers would come back this afternoon with a two-run effort against a pitcher they'd destroyed in two previous meetings this season? This is the sort of effort that makes people say things like, "Hey, don't use up all your runs! Save some for the next game!"
It's not that the Tigers didn't hit Kyle Davies, however. They knocked out nine hits against him in six innings. But an all-too-familiar problem reared its head yet again, as batters just couldn't get that big one with runners in scoring position. One of the most egregious squanderings took place in the fifth inning. Adam Everett scored the tying run on a wild pitch, but with Placido Polanco on second base, Marcus Thames struck out and Miguel Cabrera followed up with a grounder to shortstop.
But maybe the blown opportunity in the sixth was even worse because the Tigers beat themselves. Carlos Guillen hit a leadoff double, but was then thrown out trying to steal third. Whose call was that? Jim Leyland's? Guillen's? Regardless of who was responsible, it was a huge out, as Ryan Raburn hit a single that would've driven in a run.
The Tigers also had a runner on second with less than two outs in both the seventh and eighth innings, but continually failed to get a key hit. It was just that kind of afternoon for the home team, and as a result, the Royals stole one on their way out of town. After 17 straight days of baseball, maybe all the Tigers could see was tomorrow's off-day, casting seductive glances at them from afar. But it's always frustrating to lose a game that was there for the taking - several times.
Failing to drive in those runners from scoring position was even more shameful, considering that it wasted a surprisingly fine performance from Armando Galarraga. After missing his last turn with flu and a sore throat, a newly lighter (15 pounds, by most accounts) Galarraga pitched five innings and struck out six batters. Giving up two runs should've been good enough to get himself a win.
Oh, Marcus Thames. You thrill so many with your power, but also frustrate us with your inconsistency. Thames went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts, leaving a team-high five runners on base. He also got a bad jump on a fly ball by Willie Bloomquist in the fifth inning, resulting in the ball going over his head for a double and bringing home the Royals' second run of the game.
And though Raburn has made some plays while filling in at third base, he provided a glaring reminder of how much the Tigers miss Brandon Inge when he's not out there. Raburn committed three errors, two of them in the tenth inning leading directly to the Royals' game-winning run. (Josh Anderson gets his revenge!)
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