In dropping a 5-1 decision to the New York Yankees, the Detroit Tigers' offense was once again a no-call/no-show. In what was a sloppily played game on defense for both sides, the Yankees were charged with four errors and a wild pitch, the Tigers adding an error of their own in a badly played eighth inning. But the story of the night was the Tigers' missing bats and their inability to do anything with Yankees' starter Chris Capuano, who entered the game with a 4.50 ERA on the season.
Capuano held the Tigers' offense in check, allowing just one run and five hits, striking out a season high eight and walking only one in 6 2/3 innings. Capuano was rewarded with a no-decision for his efforts.
The Yankees' bullpen continues to give the Tigers fits. Adam Warren (W, 2-5) and David Huff held Detroit hitless over the final 2 1/3 innings. Warren received credit for the victory with his 1 1/3 innings of work in relief of Capuano.
Justin Verlander (L, 10-10) allowed just two runs for a second consecutive start, but it was one run too many on a night where Detroit's offense was AWOL. A pair of solo home runs did all the damage in Verlander's seven innings of work, giving up just five hits and the two runs, striking out five and walking only one.
If the Tigers' bullpen is forced to go deeper than Joakim Soria, Joba Chamberlain and Joe Nathan, trouble often ensues. Asked to keep it a one run game in the eighth, Blaine Hardy failed miserably. He would allow three runs, three hits and a walk in 2/3 of an inning. Phil Coke took over and retired the one batter he faced, but it was too little, much too late.
The Yankees had just eight hits, but two swings of the bat gave the Evil Empire all the runs they would need. Chase Headley's solo shot tied the game at 1-all in the fifth, Brian McCann supplied the game-winning run with a solo homer in the seventh. Mark Teixeira and McCann would each drive in a run during the Yankees three-run rally in the bottom of the eighth.
Helped by the Yankees' porous defense, the Tigers pushed across their only run of the game in the first inning without benefit of a hit. Miguel Cabrera drove in his 84th run of the season with a sacrifice fly.
Formerly dominant away from Comerica Park, Tigers haven't been road warriors as of late. Having lost 2-of-3 to the Yankees, they are now 1-5 in their last six road games. During that stretch Detroit is hitting all of .158, averaging just 1.3 runs per game and have struck out 54 times. But they weren't going to play .650 ball on the road for the entire season, so consider a correction underway. But the Tigers also need to greatly step up their game at home, where they are currently only three games over .500 for a mediocre .526 winning percentage.
Justin Verlander: Given next to no run support, Verlander was forced to pitch without a safety net for seven innings, ultimately allowing two runs on five hits, exiting the game down 2-1. On a night when Verlander could not afford any miscues, he made two. Unfortunately, both mistakes ended up in the right field seats. Detroit's either full blast or completely shut down offense was the latter, leaving Verlander in the lurch. He pitched damn well and deserved a better fate.
Andrew Romine and Ezequiel Carrera: Chis Capuano pitched into the seventh and held the Tigers to five hits. Four of those hits came from the bottom of the bottom of the order. Number eight hitting Romine doubled in the second and singled in the seventh. Number nine hitter Carrera reached via a bunt single in the fifth and also singled in the seventh.
New York's defense: Yankees defenders did their damnedest to give the Tigers the lead, committing four errors and tossing a wild pitch. The Tigers said, "No, thank you."
Detroit's offense: Take what Romine and Carerra produced out of the lineup and it gets real ugly, real quick. One through seven in the order were a combined 1-for-25 with two walks (both issued to Miguel Cabrera). The only Tiger not named Romine or Carerra with a hit was Victor Martinez. Number five hitter J.D. Martinez has been one of the more egregious offenders with the bat, now 1-for-13 with six strikeouts in the three games against the Yankees.
The Yankees gave the Tigers a gift run in the opening frame. A Derek Jeter error, a Chris Capuano wild pitch, Ian Kinsler's ground out and Miguel Cabrera's sacrifice fly allowed Rajai Davis to circle the bases station-to-station.
Chase Headley hit his second home run as a Yankee in the fifth, a no-doubt shot to right.
Brian McCann, Yankees catcher self-anointed arbiter of baseball's unwritten rules, took Detroit pitching deep for the second straight game. McCann's solo home run in the seventh was his 13th of the season.
The Tigers down 2-1 in the eighth, the Yankees' defense decided to throw the ball around while in the shift for Victor Martinez. They were ultimately charged with two errors on Martinez's ground ball, which put runners on the corners with one out. Reliever Adam Warren went to a 3-0 count on J.D. Martinez. Given the green light, Martinez swung at the next three pitches, striking out. Nick Castellanos was unable to pick up Martinez, ending the inning on a can of corn to right.
The Yankees added a trio of insurance runs in the eighth off Tigers' lefty Blaine Hardy. Mark Teixeira singled in the first run of the inning. Two more runs scored on McCann's ground ball when the Tigers did their own impression of the Yankees' defense by trying to turn a double play without anyone covering first base. Miguel Cabrera made a diving stop, firing to second from his knees for the second out of the inning. Romine fired to first, but Hardy took his time leaving the mound and was nowhere near the bag as the throw sailed past. Romine was charged with an error and McCann credited with an RBI as two runs scored on the play, giving the Yankees their final 5-1 advantage.
6) Profit? RT @NeilWeinberg44: Okay: 1) Cabrera made a great play 2) Romine turned it well 3) WTF? 4) Nice recovery! 5) Uh oh, was he safe?
— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) August 7, 2014
STREAKS AND STATS:
Andrew Romine has five extra base hits this season, only three since May 31. But two have come in the last two games, much in thanks to Yankee Stadium's short right field porch. Romine homered to right last night, and doubled off the right field wall in the second inning tonight.
Justin Verlander retired the first 11 Yankees he faced before giving up a two out single to Jacoby Ellsbury in the fourth inning.
Verlander's last two starts combined: 15 innings, 215 pitches, 13 hits, four earned runs, two walks, nine strikeouts.
Verlander fell to 10-10 on the year, giving him double-digit losses for a second straight season. It's the third season of his career with 10 losses or more. Verlander was 13-12 last season and 11-17 in 2008.
Chris Capuano temporarily set a season high of six strikeouts when both Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez went down swinging in the sixth. Recently acquired from from the Rockies for cash, the Yankees right-hander would end his night with eight strikeouts on the night. Capuano's previous high for strikeouts in 2014 came in his last start, whiffing five in 6 1/3 innings versus the Red Sox (the team which cut him in July).
In the Tigers' two losses in New York, they combined for two runs and 11 hits. Even during the one victory in which they scored four runs, the offense was far from effective with just eight hits in 12 innings.
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