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Tigers 4, Rangers 0: Alfredo Simon throws 1-hit gem in shutout win

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No bullpen was needed this night.

Leon Halip/Getty Images

DETROIT -- Alfredo Simon was stellar on the mound for the Detroit Tigers on Thursday. Backed by key runs from Nick Castellanos and Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers won 4-0 over the Texas Rangers, picking up their first three-game win streak since June 21-23. The game marked the first shutout and first complete game of Simon's career.

The first-half Simon made an appearance on Thursday night. He gave up just one hit and had to deal with just five baserunners throughout the game. Two of those were the result of walks in the fifth and sixth innings. The fourth was attributed to an error in the second by Ian Kinsler. The fifth produced a two-on two out situation, which Simon got out of on a strikeout of Chris Gimenez. None reached third base.

Simon kept Rangers hitters off balance throughout the night, totaling five strikeouts and allowing just two walks. He took a no-hitter into the fifth inning. Simon retired all three batters in the eight on just nine pitches and came back out in the ninth to finish the shutout. This was the third shutout of the season, the Tigers' first since Anibal Sanchez threw one on June 15.

With Simon on a roll, the Tigers needed to put up some runs. While it was nothing close to their blowout win on Wednesday night, Detroit got significant contribution from Castellanos and key knocks from Cabrera and Victor Martinez. Cabrera reached base in all of his four plate appearances

There was no more than one run scored in any inning, but the Tigers quietly built up their lead in every other inning -- starting in the first. They did spoil a bases-loaded opportunity in the first and a two-on chance to pile on in the third and sixth innings -- mostly because of James McCann's quiet bat, but the runs were enough to get the job done.

ROARS:

Alfredo Simon: Was a reflection of his dominance of old. Nine stellar innings, one hit, and two walks. That's it. Desperately needed and a welcome sight to see from Simon.

Miguel Cabrera: Reached base all four times and drove in Kinsler in the fifth inning, walking in the first. He was also intentionally walked in the seventh.

Nick Castellanos: Drove in the Tigers' first two runs of the night on a single and a sac fly. He later walked in the sixth inning.

Victor Martinez: Smacked two hits, including a double in the third inning. Martinez also scored the fourth run of the night for Detroit on a sacrifice fly in the seventh. He and Cabrera were the only two players to finish the night with multiple hits.

HISSES:

James McCann: Stepped to the plate in the first with the bases loaded and then in the third with two on-base. In both at-bats, McCann grounded out to end the inning, stranding five runners. Not what you want to see from McCann primarily when he's hit lefties at a significantly higher rate than right handers.

Anthony Gose: Snapped his 13-game on-base streak by having an 0-for-3 night with three strikeouts.

STREAKS AND STATS:

  • Since going 0-for-3 in his first game back from the DL, Miguel Cabrera is 10-for-19 with seven walks, a home run, five RBI, and three doubles. Cabrera went on the DL with a .350 batting average. Since his return on Aug. 14, Cabrera has a .600 on-base percentage (including the 0-for-3 day) and his average is .358 for the season.
  • Ian Kinsler bobbled a grounder from Mitch Moreland in the top of the second. It was his third error in the last two games, matching his total for his previous 68 games.
  • J.D. Martinez had back-to-back walks on Thursday night, marking just his fifth multi-walk game of the year and just the 14th of his career.
  • In his last six games, Nick Castellanos is batting .391 with 10 RBI, two home runs, and two doubles. He's struck out just four times in 26 plate appearances.
  • The Rangers challenged a play in the sixth inning, saying that Iglesias was pulled off the second base bag on a throw by Victor Martinez for an inning ending 3-6-3 double play. After a review of two minutes and four seconds, the call on the field stood and the double play ended the sixth.
  • Miguel Cabrera was intentionally walked for the 14th time this season, which leads the American League and is second in all of baseball. Only Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks has more, with 24.
  • This marked the first time Simon has pitched a shutout and is, in fact, his first complete game, as well. Simon had not even come out for the ninth inning during a start in his career.
  • Thursday was the fewest hits allowed by the Tigers this season (1). They allowed two hits on two prior occasions (April 15 by Simon and Joakim Soria, June 15 by Anibal Sanchez).
  • The Tigers' prior shutouts were thrown June 12 by David Price and June 15 by Sanchez. The Tigers have nine team shutouts, with Sanchez's the most recent one before Simon's.

WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:


Source: FanGraphs