The Tigers' offense remained in hibernation on Sunday, managing just three hits, giving them seven hits total for their last two games, and a defensive lapse handed the Angels just enough to spoil another fine outing by Rick Porcello. The victory gives the Angels a 4- 3 edge in the season series, and that could have implications in the post season, should the two teams finish the season winning their respective divisions with the same won- loss record.
Porcello pitched seven innings, allowing just one unearned run on five hits, no walks and six strikeouts, but was denied what would have been his major league leading 13th victory on the season. Porcello's shutout was spoiled in the fifth inning, when Erick Aybar singled to right, Howie Kendrick laid down a bunt single to put runners on first and second, and Porcello threw the ball into center field on a pickoff attempt.
Austin Jackson took his time coming in on the play, allowing Kendrick to cruise into second base, and then took his time lobbing the ball lazily into the infield, allowing Aybar to come home with the tying run.
The Angels scored the winning run on a solo home run in the eighth inning by David Freese off Joba Chamberlain. It was just the second home run that Chamberlain has allowed all season, but it was a monster shot to center field.
The Tigers scored their lone run in the first inning on a single by Ian Kinsler and a double into the gap by Victor Martinez. That was it for the Tiger offense for the day, their only other hit coming on a single by Jackson in the sixth inning.
Hector Santiago, the former Chicago White Sox pitcher who has been in and out of the Angels rotation, up and down from triple-A this season, pitched 5-1/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits, with no walks and three strikeouts, in a no decision. He retired fourteen Tigers in a row before Jackson's single, and was then relieved by rookie reliever Mike Morin.
The Angels' bullpen retired the last eleven Tigers to close out the game without much of a fight, concluding when Huston Street struck out Miguel Cabrera to end the game. Cabrera was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in the game.
If there is any bright spot at all over the past few days for the Tigers, it is that they got fine starting pitching throughout the series. MVP runner up Mike Trout went 2 for 15 in the four game series, while Angels' sluggers Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols were kept off the bases on Sunday, each going 0 for 3. GWilson and Single digit kept the Fish man off balance all weekend.
The Tigers held a lead in the season series of three games to one after their victory on Thursday night, but three straight losses have given the season series to the Angels, four games to three. Should the two teams finish tied with the best two records in the league, the Angels would have the first seed and play the wild card team in the division series. They would also have home field advantage if the two teams meet in the ALCS.
As one who attended all four games of this series, I can report that the frustration streak is alive and well for the Tigers in Anaheim. The Tigers were swept in six games in 2013 by the Angels, and haven't won a season series against them since 2010. This year's matches were all good, close games, but it sure looked like the Tigers had somewhere else they wanted to be on Sunday. They have a much needed off day on Monday, before opening a three game series against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park on Tuesday.
Rick Porcello pitched another gem, shutting down the Angels without an earned run, five hits, no walks and six strikeouts. He deserved to get a win.
Victor Martinez generated the only excitement for the Tigers, driving a ball into the gap to score Ian Kinsler with the Tigers' lone run.
Ian Kinsler singled and scored a run, and was at the keystone to turn key double plays and field several more ground ball outs.
Austin Jackson was mentally adrift when he Cadillac'ed in on an attempted pickoff throw, then made a bone headed, idiotic, lazy effort to get the ball back into the infield, allowing the Angels' first run to score.
Joba Chamberlain had a rare off outing for him, getting hit hard several times, including a 419 foot home run to left center field by David Freese, to take the loss.
The Tiger offense went into hibernation the past three games.