DETROIT -- Matt Boyd had some inconsistencies but it was the bullpen that collapsed. Were it not for the Detroit Tigers' offense that peppered 14 hits and two home runs by Rajai Davis and J.D. Martinez this game would've ended differently. In the end the Tigers won 8-7 in the 13th over the Tampa Bay Rays to take the series. And it's all thanks to Rajai Davis, who scored the winning run.
Boyd wasn't completely awful. In fact, he was one of the solid Tigers pitchers. The bullpen was just a flaming mess with the exception of Alex Wilson and Drew VerHagen. Boyd got through five innings having given up just one run on a triple that scored on a sac fly to left. He would start the sixth but after a leadoff walk and single to start the frame he was pulled for the bullpen.
Yet, the bullpen once again betrayed the team per the usual. They gave up six runs including two of Boyd's, and with some help from a dropped flyout by Davis in the ninth sent the game into extras. It would never have come to that, though, were it not for the flaming inferno that Bruce Rondon put up in the ninth when he walked a pair of batters and singled the bases full. The bullpen then opted to put up four scoreless frames.
Double-digit hits, six runs, and threatening to score in three straight extra innings seems like it'd be enough to win a ballgame. But the Tigers found ways to ruin scoring opportunities. Twice in extras the Tigers stranded a runner at third, and despite homers from Rajai Davis and J.D. Martinez, Detroit managed to drag out the game. Even a slump-busting two-run day for Andrew Romine wasn't enough in nine innings.
But patience paid out. A single and a bunt that resulted in an error on the Rays started another opportunity. Thanks to a sac bunt by Jefry Marte, who got McCann over to third, Davis drove in the winning run on a sac fly in the 13th.
Rajai Davis: Hit yet another home run, this one a solo shot in the third inning on a 1-1 pitch. The left field shot gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead at the time. He also made an outstanding catch in left in the fourth. While it was a sac fly, it resulted in an out that would've otherwise dropped in for an extra-base hit and extended the inning. He also made a questionable catch in the eighth that was reviewed because the ball looked like it fell out of his glove, but replay couldn't prove that Davis didn't catch the ball before it hit the ground again. Thus, the call was upheld as a catch. He also drove in the winning run on the sac fly.
Andrew Romine: Got a crucial two-run single in the sixth to the the game. He'd been in an awful funk until that moment. Well, he still might be but it was good to see him get a solid knock in a key moment. It should be noted that James McCann allowed himself to get caught in a rundown on the bases when J.D. Martinez made an awful baserunning mistake and would've otherwise been a dead duck. He did this all after being hit on the head by a pitch.
Anthony Gose: Created a run in the seventh. After getting a one-out single he then reached second on a wild pitch. While attempting to steal third, the Rays catcher J.P. Arencibia threw the ball past third and it sailed into left field. Gose scored to tie the game 6-6 at the time.
J.D. Martinez: His monster bomb to left untied the game in the eighth and gave the Tigers the go-ahead homer they needed.
Tigers bullpen: Oh that bullpen. A combination of three pitchers gave up a four-run spot in the sixth. Then if that wasn't enough, the seventh saw four (!) pitchers -- one whom didn't record an out. If anything they were more responsible for the runs scored in the sixth -- two charged to Boyd -- than Boyd was. They can't get outs and they can't keep opposing hitters from scoring.
Bruce Rondon: Was as shaky as ever. He gave up two walks and a single to load the bases in the ninth with a 7-6 lead. He gave up that lead with some help from Davis, who dropped what should've been a flyout. A run scored. Nevertheless, Rondon stunk to high heaven and there's no excuse for using a guy as long as he was used when he was performing poorly on back-to-back days.
Brad Ausmus: His management of the bullpen continually astounds in the worst ways possible. He burned through relievers then left Rondon in far too long when it was clear that he had no business closing a game with a one-run lead that he blew.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Miguel Cabrera had been 0-for-11 in his last 13 plate appearances -- two walks -- until he ended the mini skid with a two-out single in the first inning.
- Entering Tuesday night's game Romine is batting .088/.162/.118 with just one double and two walks. He has just one hit, a single, since the start of Sept. and has struck out eight times in 38 plate appearances.
- Rajai Davis hit home runs in back-to-back games for the second time in his career on Tuesday night. His last occurred on Sept. 3-4, 2013 for the Blue Jays.
- Alburquerque allowed his third balk of the season in the sixth inning. He is now tied with five other pitchers in the majors for second-most balks this season, along with teammate Anibal Sanchez. Only Johnny Cueto has more, with four.
- J.D. Martinez's home run in the eighth marked his 36th of the season. His home runs rank fourth-most in the AL and are a three-way tie for fourth-most in the majors.
- The Tigers used 10 pitchers in the game, just the second time in the club's history they've used nine or more in a game. The team used 10 pitchers in a 12-inning, 17-16 loss to the White Sox in 1998. (h/t @Stareagle)
- The Tigers' series win marked their first since the two-game series win on Aug. 18-19 vs. the Cubs. It's their first walkoff win since Aug. 6 vs. the Royals. The time of game was five hours and three minutes.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: