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It's never, ever easy: Tigers hold on for 5-4 win

Final - 4.22.2010 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Detroit Tigers 2 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 11 0
Los Angeles Angels 2 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 4 9 1
WP: Justin Verlander (1 - 1)
SV: Jose Valverde (5)
LP: Joe Saunders (1 - 3)

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It was one of those nights.

The Tigers took a 2-0 lead in the 1st inning, but immediately gave up 2 runs to the Angels in their half of the 1st.

Justin Verlander didn't have anywhere near his best stuff, as a 35 pitch 1st inning attests. He barely made it through 5 innings and 125 pitches.

Carlos Guillen pulled a hamstring badly enough to immediately leave the game and go directly on the DL. To rub salt in the wound, Guillen was going to score easily when his hammy went KA-BOOM.

Reggie Willits stole a pair of hits from the Tigers with diving catches in center field.

Squandering abounded. The most infuriating being serial squanderers Brandon Inge and Gerald Laird striking out looking after the Tigers loaded the bases with one out in the 8th.

Ryan Perry took us on a roller coaster ride.

The Big Potato walked the Angels' leadoff man to start the 9th, which never, ever bodes well.

It shouldn't have added up to a win, but the baseball Gods were lenient. The Tigers held on to salvage a series split in Anaheim, beating the Angels 5-4.

I'm still trying to figure out how they did it.

Despite how badly it looked for the Tigers at various times, they somehow pulled through.

Though he gave up the early lead, Verlander hung on long enough to get his first win of the young season. The Tigers didn't need Guillen's run (though they will miss his bat for the next few weeks). Willits' catches will make Sportscenter, but weren't game changers. The Tigers didn't need those runners left stranded in the 8th. Perry loaded the bases, but also struck out the side. Jose Valverde threw 5 consecutive balls to start the 9th, but induced Torii Hunter to ground into a 5-4-3 double play. He snuffed out a threat in the bud, nailing down his 5th save.

An odd game to be sure, but a win is a win...even it goes final at 1:40 in the morning.

Also worth noting:

The Tigers' bullpen was once again unscored upon. They are being used constantly thanks to the rotation struggles, but continue to be the strength of the team.

We can officially declare Johnny Damon's horrific white spikes retired. Damon also went 3-4 at the plate, with 2 runs scored. I'm still trying to decide which was better, but I'm leaning towards the shoes.

Austin Jackson only struck out once! Baby steps, folks.

Gerald Laird is now hitting .143, and Adam Everett .194. Somehow the Tigers are winning games with total non-entities at the plate manning the 7th and 9th spots in the batting order. They need to step it up, good gloves or not.

The Tigers now stand a much more respectable 3-4 for the 11 game road trip, with 4 games in Arlington against the Rangers on tap.

Personally speaking, as it's 3:05 in the AM as I wrap up, I really don't care how badly the Rangers may be playing, or the Tigers' chances of beating them. What's most important is we can finally get to sleep at a decent time! Goodbye Good riddance to the Pacific time zone!

Comment of the Night:

It was such a weird night of baseball, murrajo wasn't sure he was even in the right game thread.

Hello, I was looking for a Tigers game but I must be in the wrong place

this game shows the Tigers leading after 1 inning.

It's comparable to a blind squirrel finding a nut. It's inexplicable, but the Tigers can actually lead a game from the start...even if they did their damnedest to give give the lead back.