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Charlie Furbush to the rescue in Tigers' 6-3 victory over Rays

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Final - 5.23.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Tampa Bay Rays 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 3 6 0
Detroit Tigers 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 4 X 6 7 0
WP: Charlie Furbush (1 - 0)
LP: Jeremy Hellickson (5 - 3)

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BOX

KEY STAT

I'll use numbers straight from the Official Tigers Twitter::

Furbush goes 3.2 scoreless innings in his ML debut. Longest outing by a Tigers reliever in debut since Dave Haas with 4.1 innings in '91.

Rookie Charlie Furbush entered the game after starter Phil Coke went down to injury. Furbush came on in an emergency relief role, and shut the Rays down on 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, ultimately earning the victory in his first big league game.

Is Furbush the bullpen savior? Probably not. But for one night...I worship at the bullpen altar of Furbush.

KEY PLAY

Brennan Boesch scoring the lead run on Miguel Cabrera's single to right in the 6th. Boesch all but manufactured the run on his own. He legged out a hustle double, then scored on Cabrera's base knock as he half dodged, half belly flopped his way around an attempted tag. The play gave the Tigers a lead they would never relinquish...though they tried.

KEY THOUGHTS

Anyone else like this Andy Dirks kid? Then again, I may like him just because he's not Ryan Raburn. Regardless, Dirks got the Tigers on the board in the 5th with his first MLB home run.

Phil Coke followed up the best start of his career with a solid one for three innings. But in the 4th, after giving up a walk, a hit, and a sac fly, he landed awkwardly trying to make a play on a Ben Zobrist bunt, injuring his leg. That was the end of Coke's night. All we know at this point is the lefty has a right ankle injury. In the post game presser, Jim Leyland said the Tigers don't yet know if Coke will out for any length of time, and are waiting on test results.

Remember when Joaquin Benoit was going to work out his issues in low leverage situations? If you blinked, you missed it. Benoit is back in the 8th inning setup role, and had a relatively clean inning, walking one. But a 10-8 strike-ball ratio isn't exactly encouraging. At least it's, as they say, a start.

Victor Martinez continued his stellar work hitting behind Cabrera. In the 8th, the Rays walked Cabrera, loading the bases. Martinez then laced a double down the right field line, scoring Brandon Inge and Scott Sizemore, giving the Tigers what ended up being a pair of very important insurance runs, and a 6-1 lead.

Important in a 6-1 game? It didn't stay 6-1, as Jose Valverde channeled his inner Fernando Rodney. The Big Potato really should stop doing that, as I already have enough gray hair.

There were too many pitches, too many base runners, too many close calls. Valverde gave up two runs, and Johnny Damon ended the game with a a scorching liner that had double written all over it...but it was right at Cabrera.

But the night belongs to Charlie Furbush...and deservedly so. Who knew a bullpen could actually WIN you a game?