|Final - 7.24.2011||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|WP: Rick Porcello (10 - 6)
SV: Jose Valverde (26)
LP: Francisco Liriano (6 - 8)
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4: In the third inning, a walk, four consecutive singles and an error helped Detroit score three runs and knock Twins starter Fransisco Liriano out of the game.
Michael Cuddyer grounds into double play to end the first. I chose this one because the Twins had a bit of momentum after winning on Saturday and getting two of the first three runners of the first inning on base. Getting out of the inning without allowing a run was just what the Tigers needed.
The Tigers have now passed the midway point in a key road trip. Seven games on the road at Minnesota and Chicago had the potential to go a long way toward securing the division against what appeared at the beginning of the season to be the key competitors. A good showing would add some nice distance, and a bad showing could tighten to Central and scare the gee-golly-willikers out the fans. Taking 3 out of 4 in Minnesota should at least soothe some of the doubters who believe every season will play out identical -- and poorly -- for Detroit. So far, so good. Part one of the test has been passed.
Key today was Rick Porcello staying out of trouble for the most part, and getting out of trouble the few times he got there.
Nickel and diming the Twins for the first couple of innings was another key. Like I noted, Detroit actually had four consecutive singles in the third inning. I'm not sure I'd call any of them hard hit. Victor Martinez hit the ball about as hard as a bunt for one of them. Plus the Twins defense helped Detroit on multiple occasions. An error gave the Tigers a run in the third. A wild pitch accounted for a run in the sixth. They just don't look like the same Twins, as I've written before.
Here's an interesting note. The last time a team led by 2 or more games in the AL Central was on June 5 when Cleveland ended the day 2 1/2 up. Detroit now leads by their season-high of 2. The Indians are fading, but ever-so-slowly. So a good showing during this Chicago series is important.
Things seem to be going pretty well right now. I like it.