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Blue Jays 6, Tigers 5: Detroit drops 19 inning marathon

In a 19 inning marathon, the Tigers' offense was held scoreless for the final 15 2/3 innings by the Blue Jays' bullpen. Much in thanks to Joba Chamberlain's blown save, Detroit's short-handed bullpen was left in shambles.

Tom Szczerbowski

The Detroit Tigers blew a 5-0 fourth inning lead, finally caving to the Toronto Blue Jays in 19th innings, 6-5. Jose Bautista drove in the game-winning run off Rick Porcello, who was forced into relief duty after the Tigers ran out of relief arms. Both the Tigers and Blue Jays would use eight pitchers, combining for 629 pitches thrown. Detroit drops 2-of-3 to Toronto, both losses of the walk-off, extra inning variety.

Neither starting pitcher would be around to see the end of the game, exiting relatively early.

David Price was far more inefficient than he was in his Tigers debut. Price was pulled two batters into the seventh after 112 pitches, ultimately charged with four runs on five hits, striking out six and walking three in six plus innings.

Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle was victimized by the Tigers' bats for five runs (two earned) and nine hits over just 3 1/3 innings, striking out two and walking one.

The Blue Jays bullpen proved to be absolutely lights out, holding the struggling Tigers' offense scoreless for 15 2/3 innings. Chad Jenkins tossed a scoreless 19th to earn the win.

The Tigers' bullpen had their issues, specifically Phil Coke and Joba Chamberlain. Coke allowed both inherited runners to score in the seventh inning. Joe Nathan was scheduled to have the day off, so Chamberlain entered the game in the bottom of the ninth with a one run lead. Chamberlain would cough up the lead, recording his third blown save of the season.

Asked to pitch in extended outings, Blaine Hardy and Pat McCoy combined for six scoreless innings of work. Nathan followed with a scoreless inning of his own. The bullpen left shorthanded due to Joakim Soria's injury, Porcello was forced into a relief role. He tossed two scoreless frames before not recording an out in the bottom of the 19th, taking a loss he never should have had to worry about.

Both offenses ended up with impressive numbers, but it was due more to the length of the game and each team having wasted several scoring chances. Detroit would finish with 22 hits, Toronto 17.

But in a game of attrition taking 6:36, the Blue Jays ultimately prevailed.  The loss cuts the Tigers lead in the AL Central to just 1/2 game over the Royals. The Tigers owned a seven game lead on July 24.

Post game, when asked about his overworked bullpen, manager Brad Ausmus (who watched most of the game from the clubhouse after being tossed for arguing balls and strikes five hours earlier) would only say this:

"We'll have to do some shuffling."

That may be the understatement of the season. Expect numerous moves to be made in the next 12-16 hours, if only to get fresh arms for a couple of days.


David Price: His final line took a hit when two inherited runners scored on Phil Coke's watch, charged with a four earned runs. Regardless, Davis pitched well but inefficiently, throwing 112 pitches in six-plus innings.

J.D. Martinez: The slumping outfielder snapped out of a lengthy post All-Star game funk with two early hits, driving in three of Detroit's first four runs.

Rajai Davis' defense: Davis has made three excellent catches since Friday night. Two came this afternoon, both off the bat of Jose Bautista. Davis made a leaping catch at the base of the center field wall to take away extra bases to end the third.

Bautista's bid for a sixth inning single ended in the Davis' glove thanks to a sliding grab.

Al Alburquerque: Taking over for Phil Coke, Alburquerque was in rare form. He faced four Blue Jays batters in his 1 1/3 innings, all four went down on strikes.

Blaine Hardy: Say what you will about the bullpen, but Blaine Hardy stepped up big time. The rookie lefty took over in the tenth, allowing two hits in his three scoreless innings of work.

Torii Hunter: The veteran right-fielder had four hits with a run scored.

Nick Castellanos: The rookie third baseman was 3-for-4 with an RBI before being pulled in the eighth inning.

Pat McCoy: Picked up where Hardy left off with three scoreless innings.

Joe Nathan: Supposed to have the day off, ended up tossing a scoreless 16th inning.

Rick Porcello: Left with no other options, Porcello pitched the last three innings. Two were scoreless. Things went south in the 19th, but if the Tigers do anything on offense, Porcello is back at the hotel instead of pitching in a ridiculously long game.

Your recapper and fans who watched the entire game: I watched, tweeted and recapped all 19 innings. Seven plus hours of my life I'll never get back. It was all I could to keep from getting out the pitchforks and torches. I'm sure most, if not all, fans feel the same way.


Alex Avila's offense: Slash numbers continue to drop, hitting just .216/.319/.366 on the year after an 1-for-5, two strikeout day.

Tigers' base running: Once again, Detroit's aggressive approach on the bases cost them dearly. Nick Castellanos was thrown out trying to steal third in the fifth inning. Rajai Davis was doubled off first base in the sixth on a botched hit and run. Capping off a bad day on the bases, Ezequiel Carrera was caught stealing in the eighth and Andrew Romine was retired in a rundown for the second out of the 13th.

Phil Coke: The first left-hander out of the pen had been pitching well as of late. But Coke wasn't effective today, allowing two hits and both inherited runners to score in his 1/3 of an inning.

Joba Chamberlain: Asked to get the final three outs, Chamberlain instead blew the Tigers' second straight save by giving up two hits, two walks and a run in his inning of work. He proceeded to load the bases and was one pitch away from also taking the loss, but struck out Juan Francisco on a full count to send the game into extra innings.

Tigers' offense post fourth inning: From the fifth through 19th innings, the Tigers were unable to mount any sustained offense. Seven Blue Jays bullpen arms combined to shut out the Tigers over the final 15 plus innings.


If you were wondering why numerous Tigers were wearing bright green wristbands, they were in honor of former Tigers catcher Joe Siddall, now the Blue Jays radio broadcaster. Siddall recently lost his 14-year-old son to cancer.

After both Nick Castellanos and Alex Avila were punched out by home plate umpire Bill Miller to strand a pair and end the third, a feisty Brad Ausmus took issue. He was tossed for arguing balls and strikes. It was the third ejection for Ausmus this season.

The Tigers allowed David Price to remain in the game with two down in the sixth after a smoked line drive off the bat of Danny Valencia caught him in the left thigh/knee and caromed into right field. Price retired the final better he faced in the sixth via a strikeout. Despite the liner and a pitch count north of 100, Price started the seventh inning. He didn't retire the batters he faced and was replaced by Phil Coke after six plus innings and 112 pitches. Both runners would come around to score.

The Tigers were shorthanded in the bullpen thanks to Joakim Soria's injury and not calling anyone up for today's game. By the time the 19th inning rolled around, the Tigers were out of relievers. Detroit also ran out of position players in the 11th when Eugenio Suarez pinch-hit for Ezequiel Carrera and Bryan Holaday pinch-ran for Alex Avila.

Ultimately, these tweets say it all about the loss:

"I'll put on the rally cap, but I ain't happy about it."

— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) August 10, 2014