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Tigers 3, Reds 2: Prince Fielder comes through late, takes Delmon Young off the hook

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Jun 9, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder (28) hits a home run during the fourth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE
Jun 9, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder (28) hits a home run during the fourth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE


Final - 6.9.2012 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Detroit Tigers 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 3 7 0
Cincinnati Reds 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 0
WP: Brayan Villarreal (2 - 1)
SV: Jose Valverde (11)
LP: Sean Marshall (1 - 3)

Complete Coverage >


The Detroit Tigers bounced back from Friday night's walk off loss to beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-2. Prince Fielder's 2 out, 8th inning single brought home Brennan Boesch to give the Tigers their winning margin. Brayan Villarreal (2-1) was the winner in relief of Justin Verlander. Jose Valverde closed out the Reds for his 11th save. Sean Marshall (1-2) took the loss in relief of Bronson Arroyo.

Of all people, Ramon Santiago gave the Tigers an early 1-0 lead with his 2nd inning solo home run, his 2nd of the season. As he was coming to the plate, I'm thinking, "The Tigers bottom of the order is so bad, Santiago is hitting 6th?!" Then he goes and smokes an Arroyo pitch for a no-doubt home run. Baseball really is a funny game...

The Tigers extended their lead to 2-0 in the 4th. I imagine Fielder looked at Santiago and said, "Pffft. Just clearing the wall in right? That was nothing." Fielder jacked a monster shot far into the right field seats (another solo home run, of course), his 10th home run of the year.

Thanks to their patience at the plate and knack for for fouling off close pitches, the Reds were successful at running up Verlander's pitch count all day long. But I wasn't expecting a Tiger to help in the Reds' quest in their half of the 4th.

With a runner on 1st and no one out, Joey Votto hit a fly ball towards Delmon Young in left. Young fought the ball and sun the entire time...and the ball and sun won. Young made a futile stab at Votto's fly, but it fell for a 2 base...hit? A homer scorer ruled the error a hit, successfully keeping Votto's hitting streak alive. Regardless of the scorer's allegiance, Young's gaffe extended the inning.

A visibly pissed off Verlander started throwing 100 MPH gas. He got Brandon Phillips to ground out and Jay Bruce to strike out on high heat. But even the best can only get away with just fastballs for so long. Todd Frazier timed a Verlander heater, and lined it into right for a 2 RBI single. Thanks to Young's (not an) error, the Reds were able to knot the game at 2 all. The arguments of playing Young over Quintin Berry may commence.

As to the differing approaches at the plate? After 5 innings, Arroyo's pitch count was 57, Verlander's 113 (and that was with one 6 pitch outlier inning). Verlander ultimately kept his streak of 6 inning starts alive at 55, but it took 127 pitches to do so. Verlander ended his day with a no-decision, 9 strike outs and 2 unearned earned runs.

In the 8th, Brennan Boesch continued his resurgence from irrelevance, drilling a 2 out double off the wall in dead center, missing a home run by a couple of feet. The Reds gave Miguel Cabrera an intentional pass, setting up the force, but also bringing Fielder to the plate with RISP. He foiled the Reds' plan, lining a single to center, Boesch just beating Chris Heisey's strong throw. to give the Tigers a 3-2 lead.

The Tigers short-handed bullpen came through with flying colors, holding the Reds in check. Bryan Villerreal and Joaquin Benoit tossed a scoreless 7th and 8th. Though Villarreal, as is his MO, made things far too interesting with 2 walks and 2 wild pitches, before getting out of the inning. Who needs a trip to Cedar Point? Just watch Villarreal pitch for all your white knuckle chills and thrills.

Jose Valverde finished off the Reds in uncharacteristic 1-2-3 fashion. Thanks to some late inning heroics, the short-handed Tigers even the series at 1-1.

Everyone exhale.

Of note was Heman Perez making his MLB debut as a pinch hitter in the 8th. He grounded out to 3rd. Why Perez is in the bigs with his .589 OPS remains a head-scratcher

Quintin Berry made a cameo appearance as a defensive replacement, taking over left field in the 9th. Let the "FREE QUINTIN" cries begin.

Thanks to the Reds' approach at the plate, we saw the reappearance of inefficient Verlander. With 127 pitches, it was the second most pitches thrown by Verlander in a game this season. Of course, his season high was 131 pitches in 9 innings. Today he only took 6. Yet it shows just how good Verlander has become. Even when he doesn't have close to his best stuff, he still gives the Tigers their best chance to win.

3 ROARS:

Prince Fielder: That is the Fielder we've been wanting to see. The one with prodigious power making teams pay for pitching around Cabrera.

Joaquin Benoit: Back from his forearm strain, Benoit's 8th inning was a thing of beauty - a 1-2-3 inning with 2 strike outs. Benoit has been sorely missed.

Ramon Santiago: Had 2 hits from the 6 spot in the order. His home run gave the Tigers a needed early boost after last night's heart breaking loss.

3 HISSES:

Delmon Young: With a hitless day and massive outfield gaffe, Delmon lost what goodwill he gained after last night's 8th inning home run.

Austin Jackson: He may be healthy, but 0-4 shows the rust was still evident after his extended DL stint. Did not have good at bats, though it was to be expected.

Justin Verlander (on offense): Was 0-1 at the plate, remains 0 for his career. To Verlander's credit, he did manage to lay down a sac bunt with 2 strikes.

GAME 58 PLAYER OF THE GAME:

3 hits and 2 RBI put Brennan Boesch over the top with 78% of the vote.