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Tigers 4, Rockies 1: Doug Fister leads Tigers to victory, Miguel Cabrera takes a wild ride 'round the bases

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Final - 6.16.2012 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Colorado Rockies 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 6 2
Detroit Tigers 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 X 4 7 1
WP: Doug Fister (1 - 3)
LP: Christian Friedrich (4 - 3)

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The Detroit Tigers bounced back from Friday's extra innings loss by taking down the Colorado Rockies in dominant fashion, 4-1. Doug Fister (1-3) made an impressive return from the disabled list in his first start since May 28th. He fired 6 scoreless innings to win his 1st game of the season. Rockies' starter Christian Friedrich allowed only 3 hits, but was in trouble all game long thanks to 5 walks. Friedrich took the loss, falling to 4-3 on the season.

Miguel Cabrera led the Tigers' offense with 2 hits, 2 runs, 1 RBI and a home run. Prince Fielder and Austin Jackson also chipped in with RBI. Carlos Gonzalez paced the Rockies with 3 hits.

Cabrera put the Tigers up 1-0 early, smoking a Friedrich pitch over the wall in deep right center. The opposite field solo home run was Cabrera's 14th of the season.

The Tigers stretched their lead to 2-0 on Jackson's bases loaded walk, the 5th and final free pass given up by Friedrich. But the Tigers were unable to draw more blood with the bases loaded, Brennan Boesch grounding out to end the inning.

What just may have been the most entertaining play of the season went down in the Tigers' half of the 5th. Cabrera hit a hard ground ball off the glove of Friedrich. Despite having plenty of time to get the lumbering Cabrera, Friedrich rushed his throw, sailing it into right field. Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario was backing up the play, and ran the ball down. By this time, Cabrera was cruising into 3rd standing up. Rosario's needless throw wasn't much better than the one that caused all the commotion in the first place, arriving on 2 short hops and skipping past Friedrich, who was covering 3rd. A visibly gassed Cabrera scored without another throw. The Tigers were given a gift, extending their lead to 3-0. The little league home run was scored E-1 and E-2.

While the Rockies were channeling their inner T-baller, a healthy Fister was in 2011 mode. He retired the first 11 Rockies he faced, Carlos Gonzalez ending the no-hit bid before it got serious with a 2 out infield single in the 4th. The Rockies threatened in the 5th and 6th innings, putting runners in scoring position. But a tiring Fister masterfully pitched out of trouble in both instances, his day coming to an end after forcing Michael Cuddyer to ground into an inning ending double play in the 6th.

The Tigers scored in more conventional fashion in the 7th. Jackson led off with a walk, advanced to 3rd on a Cabrera single, and scored on Fielder's sacrifice fly to make it a 4-0 game. Not nearly as entertaining as Cabrera's rumbling around the bases, but just as effective.

The Rockies scored a meaningless run off of Joaquin Benoit in the 9th, but the game never felt in danger. A refreshing thought, especially after Friday's late meltdown. A meltdown which will be all but forgotten if the Tigers can win their 3rd consecutive series by beating the Rockies in Sunday's rubber game.

Bullets:

  • The Tigers played much better defense today. Cabrera, Ramon Santiago and Ryan Raburn all flashed the glove leather, making the afternoon easier for Fister and Phil Coke. I'm not asking for spectacular plays from the Tigers, just competent defense. We saw that today.
  • I can now say I've hit a ball and scored like Miguel Cabrera. Too bad I was 6 years old at the time.
  • This was the second 4 walk game of Jackson's career. Like Fister, he's hit the ground running after his return from the disabled list. FYI, Delmon Young has 7 walks and Boesch 8...this season. (Hat tip to Rogo for the numbers). They need to learn patience is a good thing. I have hope Boesch will. Young...not so much.
  • The Tigers are 6-3 over their last 9 games. If only they hadn't blown those games in Cincy and Chicago...let alone last night.
  • Anyone else feeling better about the rest of the season with the Tigers finally showing a semblance of health? This looks like an entirely different team with a healthy Jackson and Fister. They'll look even better with Alex Avila, Octavio Dotel, Andy Dirks and Drew Smyly back over the next few weeks, Al Alburquerque arriving at mid season and the possible return of Victor Martinez for the stretch run.
  • After the game, Jim Leyland said the Tigers would be short in the bullpen again tomorrow. Coke is officially out, Benoit is also likely to take a blow.
  • With the victory, Leyland tied a former Tiger on MLB's all-time managerial win list. He's at 1619, knotted at 15th overall with The Major, Ralph Houk. Lou Pinella is next on the list with 1835, well within range of the Marlboro Man.

3 ROARS:

Doug Fister: This is what the Tigers have been missing for a good 6 weeks of the season - 6 IP, 82 P, 3 H, 1 BB, 6 K. I'm still amazed the Tigers were able to get a legit number 2 starter from the Mariners for spare parts.

Miguel Cabrera: A full day for the Tigers' superstar, drilling a big league home run and legging out a little league home run.

Austin Jackson: AJax didn't have a hit, but was a thorn in the side of Rockies regardless. He was on the bases all day long, working Rockies' pitching for 4 walks, including one of the RBI variety with the bases loaded.

3 HISSES:

I'm not going to bother. Today was a solid win for the Tigers, with multiple contributors.

BONUS HISS:

4 PM starts on Saturdays: Baseball was meant to be played at 1 PM in the afternoon or 7 PM in the evening..Case closed.

GAME 64 PLAYER IF THE GAME:

In the narrowest PotG contest of the season, Brayan Villarreal out polled Bryan Holaday and Duane Below, 36% to their 34% and 29%, respectively. Too bad their play went to waste in such an awful loss.