The Minnesota Twins take two of three from the Detroit Tigers, fending off Detroit's sixth inning rally by scoring the game winner in the eighth, taking a 7-6 victory. The Tigers dropped their first series at home in five weeks.
Neither starting pitcher was around for a decision. Twins' rookie starter Andrew Albers allowed nine hits and five runs in 5 2/3 innings. Ex-Tiger Casey Fein (3-2) pitched a scoreless seventh to earn the win. Glen Perkins allowed the game tying run to reach base, but a double play secured his 30th save.
Justin Verlander was a victim of some bad luck, allowing several bloop hits. but he also had plenty of self-inflicted damage while allowing six runs and ten hits, walking three, striking out six in seven innings. The Tigers' sixth inning rally tied the game, giving Verlander a no-decision. The loss would go to Bruce Rondon (1-2), whose one out walk in the eighth would come around to score the game winning run.
The Twins were once again outhit by the Tigers 12-11. But the top of the order would carry the load. Lead off man Brian Dozier had two hits, a run scored and an RBI. Number two batter Chris Herrmann had three hits, a run scored and two RBI, including the game winner. Ryan Doumit had two hits, including a big three run home run in the fifth.
Austin Jackson had three hits for the Tigers, including a game tying three run homer in the sixth. Bryan Holaday had two hits, one his first career home run. Prince Fielder chipped in three hits and an RBI.
A bad series loss inflicted by the Twins? Id of the Tigers' fan base and BYB contributor David Tokarz sums up my thoughts on the last three days in four words.
I hate the Twins.— Tokarz (@tokarzontigers) August 22, 2013
Justin Verlander struggled right off the bat. His second pitch of the game almost ended up a home run for Brian Dozier. The lead off man yanked a low 90's fastball home run distance, but a couple of feet foul. Dozier would line a hard single to left, then come around to score when .221 hitting Chris Herrmann's fly ball found the gap in deep right center. Herrmann's double gave the Twins a 1-0 lead just two batters into the game.
Verlander then steadied himself, keeping damage to a minimum. He struck out Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham, Ryan Doumit bouncing out to end the inning.
The Tigers had their first base hit and TOOTBLAN* in the bottom half of the second. Fielder sent a line drive to left center, but head down, just kept running. Ex-Tiger Clete Thomas cut the ball off and quickly got the ball back in, making Fielder an dead first baseman running. Fielder was out by at least
five ten 15 feet.
*Thrown Out On The Basepaths Like A Nincompoop
Dozier received the throw, turned around ... and no one was there. The Twins' second baseman actually had to wait for Fielder, who was so far away from second, he wasn't yet on camera.
Fielder's base running faux pas may have cost the Tigers a run. Victor Martinez followed up a one out bloop single to right center, Omar Infante dropping a soft liner in left with two out. Andrew Albers was able to pitch out of further trouble by striking out Jose Iglesias.
After giving up the early run, Verlander turned on beast mode. He needed a mere six pitches to get out of the second inning, and just ten in the third.
Verlander was back on track (or at least it seemed he was), but would the Tigers' offense do the same? Two pitches into the bottom of the third, Bryan Holaday took care of that with one swing of the bat, getting all of an Albers off-speed pitch. Holaday launched a no-doubt shot well over the bullpens in left, his first career home run knotting the game at 1-all (MLB.com video).
Jackson followed the big fly up with a single to left, but for some silly, ridiculous reason, the Tigers felt they needed to move him over with a sacrifice bunt. Despite the Tigers having two straight hits off Albers and Hunter holding a .306 batting average, that's just what they did. Playing for just one run, Hunter moved Jackson over with a bunt.
First base open, the Twins surprisingly elected to pitch to Cabrera. A dangerous move paid off, Albers striking out MLB's leading hitter. But Albers couldn't do the same to Fielder, who made the bunt strategy pay off with a hard single to right. Jackson crossed the plate to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
The Twins weren't down a run for long, thanks to a couple of Twins Hits. Give Verlander some of the blame, as he committed a pitching sin to start the fourth, issuing a lead off walk. The beneficiary of the base on balls was Willingham. He advanced to second when Doumit's bloop dropped in center just past the outstretched glove of Infante. Verlander appeared to be on the verge of pitching out of trouble when he struck out Trevor Plouffe and Thomas. But the Revenge of Ex-Tigers continued when a completely fooled Wilkin Ramirez checked his swing, yet dropped an accidental single in short center for a game tying RBI single.
Meanwhile, soft-tossing lefties continued to be the Tigers' version of BYB contributors having writer's block. You can't do a thing with when they're/it's around. The Tigers couldn't counter in the bottom of the fourth, Albers needing just five pitches to retire Matt Tuiasosopo, Infante and Iglesias in order.
Top of five, Verlander found himself in more trouble. One out, Herrmann singled. He would have been thrown out trying to steal (HONEST TO GOD), but Morneau was able to hold up on Verlander's 3-2 breaking ball, drawing a walk.
After getting squeezed earlier in the count, a frustrated Verlander finally struck out Willingham. One again, Verlander appeared to to be out of trouble. Once again, Verlander wasn't.
Seeming rattled by not getting the calls he felt he should, Verlander served up an absolute meatball on a tee to the .242 hitting Doumit. The Twins' catcher crushed it over the scoreboard in right center for a killer three run bomb. The Earl Weaver Special was Doumit's 11th home run of the season, giving the Twins a 5-2 lead.
While Tigers fans grumbled about Verlander, Albers pitched himself into a two on, no one out jam. Holaday worked a walk, the Albers plunked Jackson. Proceeding to to throw soft junk, Albers was able to pitch out of the self-created threat. Hunter stuck out and Cabrera looped a soft liner to short. Fielder was the only batter to hit the ball hard, but it was a sharp one-hopper to short, Doug Bernier stepping on second to end the inning.
A bad afternoon for Verlander got worse in the sixth. The .225 hitting Doug Bernier bounced a single between Cabrera and Iglesias. Dozier made it a 6-2 game by yanking a double into the left field corner, Bernier racing around the bases to score standing up.
Bottom of six, the Tigers were able to solve Albers. With two out, Infante beat out an infield single. Iglesias followed with a line drive off the left field wall, sending Infante to third. Holaday's career day continued, driving in his second career RBI with a Twins Hit, beating out an infield single to pull the Tigers within three at 6-3.
His pitch count at 96 and the Tigers with the tying run at the plate in Jackson, Ron Gardenhire made the call to pull Albers. Right-hander Josh Roenicke got the call to face Jackson. Hindsight will show Gardenhire would have been better off with Albers still on the mound. Jackson rudely greeted Roenicke by smoking a line shot over the left field fence. The three run bomb was Jackson's tenth home run of the season, tying the game at 6-6 (MLB.com video).
After two were out, the Tigers needed just four hits to hang a both the worst start of his young career and a no-decision on Albers, and take Verlander off the hook from suffering his tenth loss. For the second game in a row, the Tigers' offense looked utterly futile ... until it wasn't.
Verlander would pitch the seventh, ending his 121 pitch day with a 1-2-3 inning. The Revenge of the Ex-Tigers became more pronounced in the bottom of the seventh, Casey Fein and Thomas combining to get out the inning. Fien allowed a two out single to Tuiasosopo, but was bailed out of further trouble when Thomas raced in to make his second diving catch of the series, taking a hit away from Infante.
Bruce Rondon took over for Verlander in the top of the eighth. One down (after Ramirez flew out to the warning track in dead center), he walked the number nine hitter, Bernier. Dozier bounced to deep short, moving the runner intro scoring position.
A pair of left-handers due up, Drew Smyly took over for Rondon. Herrmann sent a fly ball into the right center gap which looked catchable. Jackson got a bad jump, didn't take the best route, yet still could have caught the ball if he left his feet. But Jackson doesn't dive. He got his glove on the ball, but couldn't make the catch. Bernier scored on the play, Herrmann credited with an RBI double, the Twins taking a 7-6 lead. Jackson's refusal to dive was all the more galling when seeing Thomas take away a pair of base hits in this series because he left his feet.
Right-handed setup man Jared Burton had an easy time of it in the bottom of the eighth, retiring the Tigers in order. A bad inning for Jackson got worse, striking out to end the inning. Unfortunately, his game tying home run had now taken a back seat to his defensive misplay.
Al Alburquerque pitched the top of the ninth. In his second consecutive excellent outing, Alburquerque set the Twins down in order, striking out two.
The Tigers would have to come-from-behind off the Twins' closer, Glen Perkins. He needed only one pitch to get Hunter, popping up to short. Pitching carefully to Cabrera, Perkins walked him on five pitches, putting the tying run on base. Cabrera was pulled for a pinch runner, Don Kelly.
Fielder made things interesting , ripping a one-hopper to right, Kelly stopping at second. But first pitch swinging, Martinez bounced into an easy, tailor-made 6-4-3 Twin killing.
A lousy game over. Your final score is Twins 7, Tigers 6.
BYB's own HookSlide puts annoying loss in perspective:
#Tigers put the "ace" on the mound, the offense posts 6 runs, and they still lose the game. Welcome to the 2013 Verlander.— HookSlide (@CabrerasCorner) August 22, 2013
A frustrating loss, for numerous reasons. Inconsistent as ever, a hittable Verlander was rocked for ten hits and six runs. Three walks would come around to score, which includes the winning run scored by a player hitting .216 entering the game. The Tigers had a .300 hitter sacrifice bunt in the third inning. If Jackson dives, this game goes into extra innings. A banged up Cabrera was 0-for-4. There were Twins Hits aplenty, including an RBI checked swing single. Definitely one of THOSE games.
Despite all of the above, the Tigers still had the winning run at the plate with one out in the bottom of the ninth. As freaking frustrating the Tigers can be, you can never, ever consider them out of a game.
The Tigers lose their first home series since dropping 2-of-3 to the White Sox July 9-11. Their last two series losses coming against the dregs of the Central. The loss drops the Tigers' record to 74-53, their division lead over the Indians (who didn't play today) now at five games.
The Tigers head to New York City on a short three game road trip to take on the Mets, aka the Metropolitans. Game one features Doug Fister (10-6, 3.63 ERA) facing Mets' right-hnader Carlos Torres (2-2, 3.00 ERA). Fister has pitched well of late, even if his W/L record doesn't reflect it. The Tall Man hasn't logged a win since August 2, posting a 1-1 record and 3.42 ERA in his last four starts. The Mets are moving Torres out of the bullpen for a spot start in order to give Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler an extra day of rest. Torres had been excellent out of the bullpen, posting a 1.45 ERA in 19 appearances, but has struggled to a 6.43 ERA in three starts. First pitch at Citi Field is set for 7:10 PM.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:
Bryan Holaday hits his first career home run, but gets the silent treatment in the dugout.
Click pic below for GIF goodness.
The last time Justin Verlander had allowed at least earned runs to the Twins was September 19, 2009, 13 starts ago. I'm not at all happy with Verlander's performance either, but the overreaction was over the top.
People? Yes. Tigers? No. MT @jakeperucca Think people will talk about him being the bullpen option in the playoffs over Porcello?— Chris Iott (@Chris_Iott) August 22, 2013
These stats shows just how good Verlander has been before this season and how off kilter he's been in 2013.
4th time this season JV has allowed 10+ hits. He allowed 10+ hits just 5 times over the last FOUR SEASONS— Detroit4lyfe (@Detroit4lyfe) August 22, 2013
Number of games in which Justin Verlander allowed 10 or more hits: 2013: 4 2012: 2 2011: 0 2010: 1 2009: 2 2008: 0 2007: 1 2006: 3— Chris Iott (@Chris_Iott) August 22, 2013
Verlander may rank fifth among Tiger starters in FIP after today's game. Led Porcello by 3.42 - 3.46 starting today.— Patrick OKennedy (@Tigerdog_1) August 22, 2013
Verlander has allowed 6 ER. It's the 6th time this season he's given up at least 5 ER and most since he gave up 8 ER at Texas 5/16.— George Sipple (@GeorgeSipple) August 22, 2013
Bottom of six, a close-up of Cabrera's knee showed he either smashed a juice box or desperately needs a tourniquet.
Cabrera is now limping on both legs while favoring a hip, his stomach and his back. He looks like the Tin Man. #oilcan— Dave Hogg (@Stareagle) August 22, 2013
Miggy is so battered, this is what he's going to look like at the end of August. pic.twitter.com/RdmWC2C1G7— HookSlide (@CabrerasCorner) August 22, 2013
Post game, Jim Leyland confirmed it was blood, but from a raspberry caused by Cabrera driving while playing third.
Bryan Holaday: Two hits in two at bats, including his first career home run and first career RBIs.
Prince Fielder: Three hits and an RBI.
Austin Jackson: Two hits, two runs scored and a huge, game tying three run home run.
Al Alburquerque: Second straight excellent outing, setting the Twins down in order in the ninth.
Justin Verlander: The Tigers took him off the hook, but six earned runs and ten hits over seven innings is not what anyone expects from Verlander.
Bases on balls: Verlander walked the lead off man in the fourth, Josh Willingham. He scored. Verlander walked Justin Morneau in the fifth. He scored. Bruce Rondon walked the number nine hitter in the eighth, the .225 hitting Doug Bernier. He scored the winning run.
Austin Jackson's refusal to dive: What Tigers fans everywhere yelled in the eighth.
My thoughts on the Austin Jackson play. pic.twitter.com/GwFYKfD5aB— World of Isaac (@WorldofIsaac) August 22, 2013
The Minnesota Twins: Pissing off Tigers fans since 1987.
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Torii Hunter broke the game open in the seventh with both a big two out hit and smart base running. Hunter was rewarded by winning the PotG balloting with 63% of the vote.