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Bullpen coughs up the lead, Tigers return home 2-4

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Final - 4.7.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R
Detroit Tigers 2 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 5
Baltimore Orioles 0 2 0 0 0 2 5 0 X 9

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BOX


Key stat

Five runs scored by the Orioles in the seventh inning off Brad Thomas and Enrique Gonzalez

Key play

(just gonna quote MLB.com's play-by-play)

Vladimir Guerrero singles on a ground ball to right fielder Don Kelly. Brian Roberts scores. Vladimir Guerrero to 2nd. Nick Markakis advances to 3rd, on throwing error by right fielder Don Kelly.

Key thoughts

Obviously we have to start in the seventh inning here. The Tigers led 5-4 at that point. With a switch hitter and left handed hitter (in that order) coming up to the plate to start the inning, Jim Leyland decided to bring in a lefty pitcher, Brad Thomas. Who promptly gave up a hit and a walk. So then he brings in Enrique Gonzalez. Who promptly gave up. Actually that would have been a better outcome than what happened: a boat load of Orioles runs and a giant deficit.

A gentle reminder: Seventh inning reliever Ryan Perry hit the disabled list today, and Robbie Weinhardt flew to Baltimore and arrived some time this afternoon. That left Leyland in a pretty bad situation. Well, his roster has a couple of guys who can face left-handed hitting and he's got to trust them to, you know, get some outs. Unfortunately Thomas didn't get the job done and left two runners on and no outs.

This might have been a great time to call for Joaquin Benoit in a high-leverage situation. Would Leyland even consider it, because Benoit is his eighth inning guy? He's old and set in his ways. Besides, what managers actually would do something like that? So no. If he even considered Benoit, he would have instantly worried about who would pitch in the eighth inning. (Note: Gonzalez?) Because it wouldn't have been Benoit. Nor would I want to see him go out there for two innings.

But getting back to the point and summing it up: Put the blame on Brad Thomas for not getting the job done -- and maybe Leyland for not thinking outside the box and having his second best reliever pitch in what was the game's highest leverage moment. And blame, well, whatever, for the Tigers losing Perry to the disabled list. The middle relief has definitely been exposed. That fact that two key middle relievers hit the disabled list already isn't really Leyland's fault. So I just can't rant and rave today. Hell, the whole thing seems destined to occur just like it did.

Just make sure to credit Vladimir Guerrero for leaning over the plate and just sort of golfing the ball that knocked in the game-winning run, too.

Now about Don Kelly batting sixth ... Sigh.

Earlier thoughts: Brad Penny seemed a bit better. But like every Tigers starter he suffered because he couldn't keep the ball in the park.

The play where Adam Jokes dropped the fly ball, it bounced off the wall, and Nick Markakis caught it was obviously a blown call by the umpire but it was not an easy call to make at full speed and ultimately wasn't a big deal.

Brennan Boesch doubled, Alex Avila homered; nice to see some production from the left-handed batters.

The team returns home a disappointing 2-4 but there's 156 to play. Give 'em a warm welcome anyway.