When most of your games are played while the eastern time zone sleeps, pitching for the San Diego Padres means you will slip under the radar of fans and media.
Padres' starting pitcher Andrew Cashner is no longer under the radar in the eyes of Tigers fans after a dominant one-hit performance in a 6-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers.
Tonight it was Andrew Cashner's world, the Tigers had the misfortune to be living in it.
Cashner (1-1) had no-hit stuff, a first inning walk the only blemish through five innings. Losing the no-no on a seeing eye single in the sixth, the 27-year-old right-hander went on to toss the second complete game shutout one-hitter of his career, striking out a career high 11 while walking just two. Cashner didn't get the no-hitter, but it was as dominant of a performance as you'll ever see. To rub it in, Cashner added a single and scored a run.
Tigers starter and loser Rick Porcello (0-1) was, well, Rick Porcello. He kept the Tigers in the game and pitched into the seventh, exiting with the score 4-0 Padres. But two bad innings did him in. Porcello would allow five runs on ten hits over 6 1/3 innings, striking out five. But facing a pitcher who was throwing the ball like the next coming of Cy Young, Porcello never had a chance.
As for the Tigers' beleaguered bullpen? In his first appearance of the season, Luke Putkonen allowed a hit and run in 2/3 of an inning. Evan Reed pitched the ninth, giving up two hits, but kept the Padres off the scoreboard.
The Padres' have had trouble scoring this season, entering the game hitting .209/.261/.304 as a team. It would be Chase Headley's bat that woke up the Padres, leading their 13 hit attack with a double, a two-run home run and three RBI. Jedd Gyorko also homered, Everth Cabrera adding two hits and two runs scored.
The Tigers' offense could be summed up in two words - Rajai Davis. He broke up Cashner's no-hitter with a softly hit, but clean, sixth inning single. Davis also stole a pair of bases, extending his stolen base streak to four games.
And that was it for the Tigers' offense.
Sometimes the other guy just beats the Hell out of you and there not a damn thing you can do about it. Tonight was one of those games. The Tigers were very, very lucky they weren't no-hit.
You could tell early on Cashner was on his game. When the Tigers weren't striking out, they were pounding ball after ball after ball into the Petco Park turf. When the opposing pitcher is throwing that well, he makes everyone, even the Miguel Cabrera's of the world, look completely lost at the plate. Cashner allowed only three balls out of the infield, one of those being Davis' bloop which found green.
All you can do after being nearly no-hit is move on and forget the loss as quickly as possible. The Tigers have proven to be quite resilient over the years, so that just what I expect them to do.
The Tigers manufactured a scoring threat without a hit against Padres' ace Andrew Cashner in the top of the first, but couldn't convert. Miguel Cabrera reached base on third baseman Chase Headley's two-out throwing error, taking second on a Victor Martinez walk. But Austin Jackson was unable to handle Cashner's 98-MPH chest-high fastball, striking out swinging to end the threat.
Bottom of one, the Padres threatened to score as well. Unlike the Tigers, the Padres were able to take a lead. Apparently, SoCal and Rick Porcello don't mix. (No need to remind you of Porcello's first west coast start of 2013, the infamous "death by papercuts" 10-0 loss to the Angels.
Everth Cabrera led off with a single off Porcello, moving station to station on ground outs (including a very nice bare-handed play by Andrew Romine to retire Chris Denorfia). Two down, Jedd Gyorko (yes, that's spelled correctly) lined a drive to deep right. Don Kelly got his glove on the ball, but it popped out a split second before he crashed knee and head-first into an unpadded scoreboard (MLB.com video).
A very lucky Donnie Baseball wasn't hurt, but Cabrera was able to circle the bases on what was scored a triple and RBI for Gyorko.
Rand's test for Don Kelly was "What do you say to someone who cuts you off in traffic?" Answer was, "He must be having a tough day" a-ok— PCB (@PhilCokesBrain) April 12, 2014
The Padres' extended their lead to 2-0 when Chase Headley's fly ball landed in the right-center field gap for a double. Porcello was hanging his breaking stuff, resulting in a two-out, two run, rally for San Diego. The two runs scored was only the second time this season the Padres had scored in the opening inning.
Cashner was making the most of his two-run lead, motoring through the Tigers' lineup without allowing a hit through three. He had struck out five, including whiffing the side in the third.
How tough was Cashner? Really tough.
I've never faced Cashner, but I've played MLB The Show on the "Veteran" level, so I get it.— HookSlide (@HookSlideBYB) April 12, 2014
How tough was Porcello? More like the "Rookie" level on MLB the Show.
The Padres were hitting the ball hard, Porcello allowing six hits through three innings. Bottom of three, he was bailed out of a one-out, two on jam by Alex Avila. The Tigers' catcher leaped from behind the plate to pick up Headley's nubber off the plate, firing a strike to Romine, starting a beautiful 2-6-3 double play.
But the Tigers' offense could not do a damn thing with Cashner. The hard-throwing 27-year-old was pounding the strike zone with high-90s heat, while keeping the Tigers' out-of-sync with breaking stuff. The fourth was more of the same, three up, three down.
don’t worry it’s another 2 innings before the no-hitter flare gets fired— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) April 12, 2014
The Padres continued to rake against Porcello. Yonder Alonso led off the bottom half of the fourth with a double into the right field corner (thankfully, no Tiger crashing into a wall this time), advancing to third on a ground ball. A twin killing would bail out Porcello for a second straight inning, Miguel Cabrera turning an unassisted double play on Rene Rivera's line shot to third, doubling off Alonso, who never had a chance.
Kelly accomplished one thing as the Tigers went down in order ... again. He became the first Tiger to hit a ball out of the infield, flying out leading off the fifth. Since Martinez's first inning walk, Cashner had set down 13 straight Tigers, striking out six.
With everyone's jaw was dropping thanks to Cashner's performance, Porcello was hanging in there for the Tigers, holding the Padres scoreless since the first inning. Porcello set the Padres down 1-2-3 in fifth, the Tigers still within shouting distance at 2-0.
But two runs were going to be more than enough to Cashner.
As the no-hitter alerts were being spread online, Rajai Davis made them moot with a soft, looping liner which just got past a diving Gyorko with one out in the sixth. It wasn't a hard hit ball, but there was no controversy. It was a clean base hit.
Thanks to Davis' legs, the Tigers would manufacture a scoring threat. He started by easily stealing second. Ian Kinsler reached via the second walk Cashner issued, Davis stealing third with Cabrera at the plate. The hope of a rally was quickly extinguished when the Padres' turned Cabrera's ground ball into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.
Despite getting hit hard, Porcello had been keeping the Tigers in the game. Unfortunately, he Padres kept hitting the ball hard in the bottom of the sixth, and Porcello's luck ran out.Seth Smith led off the inning with a double and rode home on Headley's one-out bomb to right field. The two-run run homer increased the Padres' lead to 4-0 (MLB.com video).
As well as Cashner was pitching, it might just as well have been 100-0. He motored through the seventh, recording his eighth K as the Tigers, once again, went down in order.
After Porcello gave up a single to of all Padres, Cashner, the lone Tigers pitcher to yet see action took the mound with one down in the seventh.
LuPu freed!— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) April 12, 2014
Luke Putkonen took over for Porcello and was greeted with a bleeder through the right side off the bat of Cabrera, putting runners on the corners. Cabrera proceeded to steal second without a throw.
The infield playing in, Denorfia rocketed a one-hopper to Romine, who fired home. But Cashner was able to just beat Avila's tag to make it
101-0 5-0. A second run would score on a fielder's choice off the bat of Smith, Martinez's off-line throw to second making it impossible to turn a tough 3-6-3 double play. Putkonen would muddle through the inning, allowing an inherited run to score and charged with the second as the Padres took a 6-0 lead into the eighth.
The game entered the eighth essentially in the Padres' hip pocket. It was obvious the Tigers weren't going to score. At that point it was just a matter of seeing if Cahsner could finish off a complete game one-hitter.
Cashner did just that, retiring the last ten Tigers he faced to compete his second career one-hitter. The cherry on top was his striking out Cabrera to end the game, giving him a career high 11 K.
Game over. Your final score is Padres 6, Tigers 0. At least it was a quick loss.
After watching Cashner blow away the Tigers, I now know what the opposition feels like when Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez are at the top of their games. Let's hope Verlander gives the Padres a dose of their own medicine on Saturday.
Game two of weekend series features Justin Verlander (0-1, 2.57 ERA) facing Padres' right-hander Ian Kennedy (1-1, 3.27 ERA). Verlander has pitched well, allowing four earned runs in 14 innings, but is still looking for his first win of the season. Kennedy, who was one of the puzzle pieces in the three-team trade which ultimately gave the Tigers Max Scherzer, Austin Jackson and, well, uh...Phil Coke, allowed just one run and three hits in his last start, a victory over the Marlins.
After three straight post 10 P.M. starts, Saturday's first pitch at Petco Park is set for a far more reasonable 8:40 P.M. eastern time.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:
Before tonight's game, manager Brad Ausmus gave out surfing advice:
Surfing 101 from #Tigers Ausmus, home by the sea in SD: "Small waves dangerous if water is shallow; bigger risk of death in bigger waves"— Tom Gage (@Tom_Gage) April 12, 2014
In the minutes before the start of tonight's telecast on Fox Sports Detroit, the dysfunctional Pistons were on FSD, the playoff bound Red Wings on FSD Plus. With the threat of OT looming in the Red Wings game and the Pistons a hot mess, we at BYB had a well-received suggestion.
Suggestion for Fox Sports Detroit: Next year don't show the Pistons at all, no one will notice.— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) April 12, 2014
The Red Wings game ended with 10 minutes to spare. Tigers fans would get to see the start of the game.
Due to the knee injury he suffered in the first game of the west coast swing, Torii Hunter didn't get the start in right field, but was available to pinch-hit if needed. It's just precautionary, Hunter remains day-to-day, as are we all. Don Kelly got his first outfield start of the season.
There was a Luke Putkonen sighting in the sixth. The mysterious reliever who is on the team but never pitches was warming up while Pocello was giving up two runs. I was beginning to think Putkonen was only a figment of my imagination. That figment actually got to throw the ball in anger, replacing Porcello in the seventh.
Evan Reed made his first appearance since April 5, getting the ninth inning garbage time assignment. Online reports mentioned Reed's off-field allegations (and at this point, they are just that) were addressed by the radio crew, stating only the facts with no opinion either way.. If you had the TV call, you'd never know there were legal issues over his head.
The Padres deservedly celebrated Cashner's win with the traditional Gatorade bath.
Rajai Davis: A base hit and two stolen bases was the Tigers' entire offensive output. Davis became the first tiger to steal a base in four consecutive games since the immortal Josh Anderson in 2009. Up next for the speedster is Ty Cobb (five straight games in 1915) and Ron LeFlore (five in 1979, six in 1977).
Andrew Romine's defense: I want to see this kid play the field more and more. The Tigers were going into this season with a shortstop in Jose Iglasias who was a vacuum in the field, with a questionable bat. Romine doesn't have the upside of Iglesias, but I feel far more confident about the Tigers' infield defense when he is in the lineup.
Andrew Cashner: When you were as good as Cahsner was, all you can do is tip your cap. He had no-hit stuff and looked well on his way until Davis broke it up.
Miguel Cabrera: Since his 4-for-5 game against the Orioles, Cabrera has gone into a slump. He's just 3-for-20 in the five games since. An 0-for-4 night drops his average to just .250.
Rick Porcello: The Padres aren't known to be much of a threat on offense, not that you would know it by how they hit the Tigers' starter. Tonight the Padres teed off on Porcello. He didn't allow the game to spin wildly out of control, but he gave up several loud outs and was lucky to only be down 4-0 when pulled in the seventh.
Unprotected outfield walls: I never understood why every MLB stadium doesn't have padding on every bit of wall surrounding the field. Don Kelly was extremely lucky he was not severely injured after running into the scoreboard in the first inning. Kelly's head damn near left a divot in the Petco Park scoreboard, but he was able to remain in the game.
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GAME SEVEN PLAYER OF THE GAME:
Victor Martinez's three hits, the biggest being a tenth inning, game-winning home run, pushed the Tigers' cleanup man to the top of PotG ballot with 90% of the vote.