Making his fifth start of the season, Mike Pelfrey underwhelmed again. When he was pulled in the fifth inning things looked grim, but Nick Castellanos powered the Detroit Tigers to a come-from-behind 6-5 win to sweep the Minnesota Twins on Sunday afternoon.
There was a small ray of hope when Pelfrey retired the first two batters of the game, perhaps signaling a positive afternoon from the struggling righty. However, a Joe Mauer single, Miguel Sano walk, and RBI-knocks by Byung Ho Park and Oswaldo Arcia -- all with two outs -- gave the Twins a 2-0 lead after the first inning.
The Tigers were able to get one run back against Ricky Nolasco in the top of the second. Victor Martinez crushed a double off the center field wall and moved to third on a Justin Upton single. Nick Castellanos the brought home Martinez on a sacrifice fly to make it a 2-1 game.
Pelfrey continued to give up hard contact in the third inning, but somehow escaped without harm after having men on second and third with no outs. The Tigers’ offense was fairly quiet until a two-out Anthony Gose triple to left field. Jose Iglesias then hit an infield single that was tipped by Nolasco, tying the game at two apiece. Castellanos made a couple nice plays at third base in the fourth and Pelfrey retired all three batters.
Unfortunately, Pelfrey’s day was ended in the fifth inning before recording an out. After Pelfrey allowed the first four runners to reach base, Kyle Ryan came on and promptly surrendered a bases-loaded single. Ryan was lifted after one out for Alex Wilson, who gave up a sacrifice fly to Kurt Suzuki before finishing the frame. By the time the inning was over, the Twins were up 5-2.
Like they did in the second inning, the Tigers’ offense again responded immediately after the Twins scored in the frame before. Though the first two batters were retired, Victor Martinez and Justin Upton both singled with two outs in the sixth before Castellanos launched a shot to left, tying the game 5-5.
After both teams went scoreless in the seventh, the Tigers took the lead for the first time in the afternoon in the eighth. Victor Martinez and Justin Upton led off with back-to-back singles, prompting manager Brad Ausmus to replace Martinez with a pinch runner. Andrew Romine was double offed instantly on a Castellanos liner to short, but the Tigers went up 6-5 on a Jarrod Saltalamacchia double that scored Upton.
The Tigers' bullpen locked down the end of the game by keeping the Twins off the board for the final three innings. Mark Lowe, Justin Wilson, and Francisco Rodriguez allowed just two baserunners over three frames and the Tigers ended the weekend with the sweep.
Nick Castellanos: A homer, four RBI, and some sure-handed defense for the current American League batting average leader.
4-5 hitters: Victor Martinez and Justin Upton combined to go 4-for-8 with four runs scored. Upton also stole a base.
Back of the bullpen: Mark Lowe, Justin Wilson, and Francisco Rodriguez pitched a scoreless inning each to close out the game.
Mike Pelfrey: Eight hits, five runs, three walks, and three strikeouts in four-plus innings. If these types of starts continue for Pelfrey, some changes need to be made.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- The Tigers scored runs for Mike Pelfrey for the first time this season. Pelfrey entered the game with zero runs in support through 21 1/3 innings pitched.
Victor Martinez’s second-inning double was his tenth of the season; he had a total of 20 doubles last year.
Nick Castellanos has recorded a hit in 15 of his last 17 games.
Justin Upton stole his first base this season.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: