Coming home after a 3-3 west coast road trip, the Detroit Tigers got their four-game series against the defending American League champions off to a good start.
Rick Porcello shook off his bad performance last Sunday in Oakland (as well as his 1-3 record against AL East teams), pitching into the sixth inning and holding the Rays to one run and four hits. (Errors by Brandon Inge created a bit more tension than necessary in the first and third innings, however.) In addition, Kid Rick threw five strikeouts, tied for his second-highest total this season. He surpassed 100 pitches in a game for the first time, throwing 104.
Meanwhile, Matt Garza continues to struggle against the Tigers. He came into tonight's game 0-3 versus Detroit in five starts, and fell behind early on a home run by Inge. (That one was for you, Noah.) The Tigers fully pounced in the fourth, putting six straight runners on base. Three consecutive doubles by Gerald Laird, Adam Everett, and Curtis Granderson caused the big damage, driving in five runs.
All that was left was the finish, but the Tigers' bullpen had a little bit of trouble closing the door in the ninth. With a five-run lead, Fernando Rodney presumably wasn't necessary, so Bobby Seay was brought in to get some work. Seay just couldn't get that third out, however. First, he left a pitch up in the zone for Gabe Kapler to smack off the left-field foul pole for a home run. Then he fell behind B.J. Upton 3-0, before leaving another pitch up high that was blooped into right field for a single.
Enter Rodney, as the rain began to come down. Under normal circumstances, the umpires surely would've stopped play and called for the tarps to cover the field. But with only one out remaining, no one wanted a delay. Whether it was because of a wet ball or having to throw through a downpour, Rodney missed badly on several pitches and walked Jason Bartlett. But Rodney found his grip against Carl Crawford and got him to chase a change-up, thus ending what was beginning to look like a terribly ugly inning.
Would you have believed the Tigers scored six runs on a night in which the #2 through #5 spots in the order didn't get a hit? The bottom of the order got it done tonight, with five hits and five RBIs.
Comment of the Night:
They’re hitting Garza like he’s an effing piñata in this inning.
And your runner-up, which provided some beautiful visual accompaniment.