|WP: Scott Diamond (12 - 8)
LP: Max Scherzer (16 - 7)
The Minnesota Twins rode a 5 run 6th inning to a 10-4 victory in the first game of a day-night doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers are now 1 game back of the 1st place White Sox in the AL Central.
Scott Diamond went 7 solid innings for the Twins, allowing just 2 run is winning his 12th game of the season. Max Scherzer left his last start after 2nd inning due to a shoulder issue, gave up 3 runs in 5 innings, falling for the 7th time in 2012.
Joe Mauer led the Twins with 3 hits and 4 RBI, Ben Revere joining the hit parade with 2 hits. Avisail Garcia paced the Tigers with a pair of singles and 2 RBI. Miguel Cabrera added an RBI double, holding his lead in the Triple Crown categories.
Declared healthy after a fatigued shoulder scare, Scherzer looked as if there were still issues with his arm in the opening inning. He allowed back-to-back singles to Revere and Mr. Hair, Mauer. Josh Willingham nearly gave the Twins a 3-0 lead, yanking a low 90's Scherzer fastball just foul. The near home run apparently woke Scherzer up, as he struck out Willingham and retired Justin Morneau on a fly to center.
Scherzer looked like his normal, dominant self after the Twins' 1st inning threat, setting down 10 in a row and 11 of 12 after Mauer's single.
Diamond was even more impressive than Scherzer. He set the Tigers down in order on 28 pitches, not coming close to allowing a base runner, let alone a base hit, through 3 innings.
Infante broke up Daimond's prefect game with 1 down in the 4th, lining a single to left. WHEW.
The shutout ended one batter later, thanks to the sabermatrician's nightmare, Miguel Cabrera. The Triple Crown threat extended his MLB RBI lead by ripping a double to left, Infante scoring as Willingham let the ball bounce around in the corner. 1 out later, Delmon Young, the Tigers fan's nightmare, followed with a single to right. Gene Lamont, knowing Revere throws worse than my little sister, sent Cabrera. The throw was far off line, Cabrera touching the late ahead of a diving Mauer, to give the Tigers a crooked number lead at 2-0.
The Twins threatened but did not score in the 5th, Eduardo Escobar singling and stealing 2nd. But Scherzer struck out Span to end the minor threat.
The Twins finally got to Scherzer in the 6th, opening the inning with 3 consecutive hits. Revere hit a fly to deep left, Dirks got his glove on the ball, but couldn't haul it in. As the ball fell to the turf, Dirks crashed into the fence. By the time Dirks corralled the ball, Revere has a stand-up triple.
The Twinkies then got a bit lucky. Mauer was fooled, but his swinging bunt toward Infate ended up an RBI single. Infante's bare hand throw was in the dirt, Prince Fielder unable to dig it out. Willingham ended Scherzer's afternoon by lashing a double down the left field line.
Dirk's rough inning continued, costing the Tigers 2 runs. Phil Coke took over, Morneau hitting a bloop to left. But Dirks, playing so far back he was closer to Oakland County than home plate, took a step back on Morneau's big swing. The flair would drop just in front of Dirks for a 2 RBI single, tying the game at 2-2.
Coke walked Ryan Doumit, loading them bases. Jim Leyland called on Brayan Villarreal to save the Tigers' bacon. He would help fry them instead.
Trevor Plouffe would rudely greet Villarreal, lacing his first pitch into left for an RBI single, keeping the bases loaded. Then Villarreal had a mental meltdown...or he just didn't know the rules of baseball.
Bases loaded, 1 out, the light hitting Escobar at the plate. Villarreal struck him out on a pitch in the dirt. But the ball skipped past Gerald Laird, Morneau taking off for home. Laird, hustling to run the ball down, threw to Villarreal in plenty of time to nail Morneau,
But Villarreal, not realizing he needed to tag Morneau, played it like a force at home, just tagging the plate.
Instead of a strange inning ending double play, Morneau was safe, the bases remained loaded and the Tiger's reputation as the most un-fundamentally sound team in baseball remained secure.
The Twins would tack on their 5th run of the inning on a ground ball off the bat of Florimon. By the time a miserable inning ended, 8 Twins had come to plate against 3 Tigers pitchers, scoring 5 runs on 5 hits. The Tigers were not charged with any errors, but the scorer doesn't track those of the mental variety.
The Twins would extend their lead to 6-2, manufacturing a run. Revere singled, stole 2nd, took 3rd as Laird's throw bounced into center for an error and score on Mauer's sacrifice fly.
While the Tigers were busy making Sportscenter blooper reels on defense, Daimond was making the Tigers offense look like...well, anything but a playoff worth one The Tigers were unable to advance a runner past 1st base after 4th.
The Twins kept pounding Tigers' pitching in the 8th, Darin Downs this victim as the lead was stretched to 10-2. The big hits of the inning were RBI singles by Escobar and Revere, and a monster 2 RBI triple off the bat of Mauer.
Fast forward to the 9th. Avisail Garcia singles home Don Kelly and Andy Dirks, making the final score a little more respectable at 10-4.
Gerald Laird ended the game in fitting fashion, striking out.
Tigers lose, fall to 1 full game behind the White Sox. Good thing there's only a few hours before they play the nightcap, so we can quickly forget what was a miserable game.
Bullets that aren't in the Tigers' feet are brought to you by a nightclubbing goateed baby.
- The Tigers are 80-71, 1 game back of the White Sox with 11 games left to play. At 5 games back, the wild card remains a pipe dream
- As this post goes live, the Angels and White Sox are scoreless through 5 innings. We're all fans of Wonderboy this weekend.
- Max Scherzer was pitching well early on, his fastball topping out at a low 92-93, rearing back to reach 94 a couple of times.
- Miguel Cabrera is a double short of 40/40, which would be the first for a Tiger since the great Hank Greenberg in 1940 (50/41).
- What Avisail Garcia giveth, he taketh away. Garcia singled leading off the 5th. But he made a rookie mistake by getting picked off. I love Garcia's potential, but it says volumes about the Tigers' incumbent corner outfielders Jim Leyland feels he has to play a kid with only 55 games of Double A experience in the middle of a pennant race.
- Mario Impemba on Garcia: "This is great experience for this young man to get!" Desperate times call for desperate measures, Mario.
- Rod Allen on Gracia: ":He looks good in his uniform, that much we do know!" Because looks just like Cabrera, Rod!
- To straighten out the ruling on Brayan Villarral's non-force play, I think frisbeepilot explained it best in the game thread: "The third strike went past the catcher. If first base was unoccupied, the batter could have tried to make it to first. But it was occupied, thus the batter couldn’t try to get on base via the wild pitch. Therefore, any runners who were attempting to advance a base were trying to do so on their own, which means the play isn’t a force play, and a tag is required."
- Despite all the ridiculous defense, the Tigers weren't charged with an error until Gerald Laird threw a ball into center in the 6th.
- Andy Dirks made an excellent diving catch on Hair -Boy's sacrifice fly, sliding into foul territory. But as soon as Dirks dove, it meant Revere would score easily. Should Dirks have let the ball drop in foul territory?
- Jim Leyland would wave the white flag in the 9th. Brennan Boesch taking over in rigtht, Danny Worth in for Cabrera at 3rd, Don Kelly replacing Fielder at 1st, Garcia moving to center, Jackson taking a seat.
- Mauer is making a run at Cabrera for the batting title. He was sitting at .312 on August 31st. Hitting .420 in September has raised Mauer's average to .326.
- When asked about the Tigers performance, Rasheed Wallace needed only 4 words.
- Jim Leyland on the fatal 6th inning: "All Hell broke loose. That happens sometimes."
- When asked about Villarreal's gaffe, Leyland replied: "He just got confused."
- Leyland knows his cliches: "You're not going to win every game." "It was just one of those games."
- Leyland on Scherzer: "I wouldn't have let him go more than 100 pitches." Adding, "I don't want to get him hurt."
MIGUEL CABRERA TRIPLE CROWN WATCH:
1st inning: Fly out to deep center. .33242/131
4th inning: Double to left, RBI. .333/42/132
6th inning: Strike out. .332/42/132
8th inning: Pop up to 2nd. .332/42/132
Cabrera: 1-4, double, RBI. .Finishes the day at 332/42/132, leading the AL in all 3 categories.
SCREEN CAPS OF THE GAME:
LOL WUT? Paws all the way!
Luke Putkonen: The only Tigers arm to not allow a run.
Avisail Garcia: 2 hits, 2 RBI.
Max Scherzer: Considering he was coming off the fatigued shoulder diagnosis, 5 innings and 3 runs was more than acceptable.
Brayan Villarreal: Learn the rules, kid.
Jhonny Peralta: Another hitless game extending his brutal 2nd half slump.
Fundamentals: Who needs 'em?
GAME 150 PLAYER OF THE GAME:
Doug Fister's first career shutout make him a runaway PotG winner, carrying 92% of the vote.