|Final - 8.10.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|WP: Max Scherzer (11 - 6)
LP: Scott Feldman (6 - 7)
The Detroit Tigers took down the Texas Rangers 6-2 in the opener of their weekend series. Max Scherzer struck out 8 in taking the victory for the Tigers. Rangers starter Scott Feldman was knocked out of the game after 4 runs and 5 2/3 innings, taking the loss.
Prince Fielder hit a 3 run home run and Austin Jackson an inside-the-park homer for the Tigers. Josh Hamilton went deep for the Rangers
Hamilton put Scherzer and the Tigers in an early 1-0 hole, homering to dead center in the 1st inning. Hamilton took over the MLB lead in RBI at 96, moving ahead of Miguel Cabrera with his 31st home run of the year.
Scherzer danced on the edge of disaster in the early innings. The Rangers had runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out in the 2nd, but Scherzer got out the inning unscathed thanks to a strikeout of Mike Napoli and Mitch Moreland flying out.
The Rangers scored again in the 3rd, but I'm sure they would agree they shoulda
been a contender had more. Ian Kinsler led off by doubling into the left field corner, Elvis Andrus singling him home. But Elvis left the building bases, thrown out trying to take 2nd on the Tigers' relay. The Rangers would then proceed to load the bases. Scherzer squirmed out of the jam when David Murphy just missed a grand slam by a few feet, flying out to the warning track in center. WHEW.
The Tigers' offense started to get untracked in the 4th. Cabrera singled home Jackson, who had led off with a triple, rejoining Hamilton at the top of MLB's RBI leader board.
The tide finally turned for good in the 6th, the Tigers sending 9 to the plate, scoring 4 runs on 4 hits and a walk...all with 2 out.
The rally started off harmlessly enough, Andy Dirks dribbling an infield single, Cabrera dropping a bloop into short right. Then came the fireworks, the big boom from the big man, if you will. Just after FSD posted Prince Fielder's average with RISP (he's 2nd in the AL at .385), he crushed a Feldman fastball, airmailing it into the right field seats, adding a bat flip for emphasis. The 3 run shot, Fielder's 20th of the season, put the Tigers up 4-2.
With Robbie Ross on in relief for Feldman, the Tigers tacked on another run after Fielder had cleared the bases. Brennan Boesch worked a walk, then rode home on Delmon Young's double.
Scherzer wasn't sharp in the early innings, resulting in a high pitch count. Pushing 100 pitches going into the 6th, it was going to be his last. He allowed a lead off single, but ended the night on a high note, striking out Murphy, Napoli and Moreland.
With 1 out in the 7th, Jackson hit a liner toward Nelson Cruz in right. Cruz had 2 choices, pull up and hope to hold Jackson to a single, or lay out and try to be a hero. Cruz took the 2nd option...and got burned. Jackson's liner dropped in front of a splayed out Cruz, the ball bouncing over his glove and rolling to the wall. Jackson, who had not yet reached 1st base when the ball fell, turned on his inner Usain Bolt. Gene Lamont was windmilling like a madman at 3rd, and sent Jackson. It wasn't even close, Jackson easily beating the relay, sliding home with a rare inside-the-park home run, giving the Tigers a 6-2 lead.
No worries of a Joaquin Benoit or Phil Coke implosion tonight, as Octavio Dotel took over for Scherzer and pitched 2 scoreless innings.
Jose Valverde took the mound in the 9th in a dreaded non-save situation. As is his wont, the Big Potato allowed a base hit, but got Moreland to bounce into a game ending 5-4-3 double play. No drama, please thank the Baseball Gods.
Cue Potato dancing at the end of a nice bounce back Tigers victory after yesterday's tough loss.
- The Tigers are 61-52, 7-3 in their last 10 games. They remain 1 game back of the White Sox, but hold one of the 2 AL wild card spots (along with the Orioles) with a .540. winning percentage
- The ##$^&&^ White Sox beat the #@#$%^ Athletics on a walk off home run off the bat of Jordan Danks, who was slugging .289 going into tonight. And who the living Hell is Jordan Danks? (Turns out he's the younger brother of John Danks) The A's took a 3-0 lead after 2 innings, the Sox hitting 4 solo home runs to win. Thanks a ton, A's.
- Frustrating Max Scherzer is frustrating. Our good friend David Tokarz channels what we were all feeling early on in the game with this tweet: "Max Scherzer's strikeout rate is amazing. But then he does this and I want to punch him in his stupid brown eye."
- FYI, I heartily endorse following @TokarzOnTigers. David can rant with the best of them in 140 character blasts.
- When Scherzer was struggling through the first few innings, I doubt any one expected him to end up with a quality start. 6 innings, 8 hits, 2 earned runs and 8 strike outs later, Scherzer had his quality start and 11th victory.
- Alex Avila made as good of a play a catcher can make in the 4th. Scherzer threw a pitch that bounced 3 feet in front of Avila, who picked it clean, then threw out Moreland trying to steal. It was textbook catching.
- Avila's offense is picking up as well. His hitting streak is up to 11 games after doubling in the 5th.
- Delmon Young was 1-4 at plate. I blame his porn 'stache for the 3 hitless at bats. If there isn't a "Concerned Fans Against Delmon Young’s Mustache" Facebook page yet, there needs to be one.
- FSD stat of the night: Miguel Cabrera leads MLB in RBI since 2010 with 327. Of course he does.
- Feldman had won 4 consecutive starts going into tonight's game and hadn't lost since June 14th. Fielder ended the streak with his 6th inning big fly, Feldman pulled from the game as the pitcher of record and the Rangers down 4-2.
- I'm sure I'm not the only fan out there who was yelling "SEND HIM, SEND HIM, LAMONT!" as soon as Jackson's liner got past Cruz. Thank goodness I didn't have to append it with, "Lamont, you big dummy!"
- To quote Rod Allen as Jackson slid across the plate: "THE MOST EXCITING PLAY IN BASEBALL!" Jackson is one of the most exciting players in the game, period. FSD timed him at 14 seconds circling the bases.
- Surprisingly, the last Tiger to triple and have an inside-the-park home run in the same game wasn't known for his speed. It was one of my favorite players as a teen, Steve Kemp, back in the hazy days of September 1977.
- When asked about the non-use of Benoit in the post game, Leyland shut down any talk over his setup man's struggles with a "No, no, not tonight." So much for that discussion.
- Twttier meme of the night: Mlive beat writer Chis Iott asked which 3 Tigers' relievers you would most trust in a pressure situation. Names mentioned included C.J. Nitkowski, Todd Jones and Doug Brocail. Seems fan confidence in the bullpen is not exactly at an all time high.
- The Detroit Lions lost their
preseasonexhibition season opener, 19-17, over the Cleveland Browns. It's always bad night when a Detroit team loses a team from that state to the south, even when the game is meaningless (save for the Edmund Fitzgerald Trophy). Yes, there are football fans who think an August baseball game against a top opponent trumps a glorified scrimmage (such as yours truly, who didn't watch a down even though I'm a Lions blogger in my spare time),
Screen caps of the night:
Prince Fielder sure knows how to flip a bat:
Nelson Cruz shows how not to play right field:
Austin Jackson: He put on a show at the plate while playing flawless center field.
Prince Fielder: Had just 1 hit, but it was the game-breaker. Want to win games? Hit 3 run home bombs. They crush the hearts and minds of pitchers.
Alex Avila: Perfect night with 2 hits, 2 walks and a Ranger caught stealing.
Ron Washington: Because I'm still bitter over his post All-Star Game digs at Justin Verlander.
Nelson Cruz: HA HA! His outfield hi-jinks don't make up for the 2011 ALCS...but it's a start.
Oakland A's: The White Sox come back from 3 runs down and walk off? Dammit.
GAME 112 PLAYER OF THE GAME:
Alex Avila narrowly beat Doug Fister by 6 votes, 121 to 115, 40% to 38%. Let us never mention this game again.