DETROIT -- Before injuries took Jordan Zimmermann and Miguel Cabrera out of the game, both contributed heavily to an eventual win. Backed by three consecutive innings where the offense scored runs, Zimmermann kept Tampa Bay guessing long enough for the Detroit Tigers to settle in, and Victor Martinez's blast in the eighth sealed the deal on a 9-4 win over the Rays.
Zimmermann may have left with an injury, but he was dominant beforehand. He made one mistake that ended up halfway up the right field seats for a two-run homer, but his dominance was on display nonetheless. The strikeouts were few but he walked no one and had the Rays off-balance. At one point he retired 12 straight batters with ease and he allowed only five hits in all.
With their starter keeping the Rays quiet, the Tigers offense went to work on Chris Archer, who has struggled quite a bit this season. Before the game, Rays manager Kevin Cash stressed Archer's need to get command of his fastball, which he's been unable to do, and that was again evident on Sunday. The Tigers teed off on Archer right from the get-go, tagging him to two runs in the first on three straight hits to start the game.
It was in the third that they nailed him for three more, which started with a Miguel Cabrera home run bang to center field. Cabrera later exited with an injury after being hit by a pitch, but before he left, he had a three-hit day and two RBI. Meanwhile, Andrew Romine knocked his first career triple, and Nick Castellanos had a two-double day.
As Drew VerHagen gave the Rays two of those runs back in relief, the seventh run scored in the seventh for the Tigers turned out to be crucial for insurance. Mark Lowe certainly wasn't sharp either as he gave up back-to-back singles to start the eighth, but he was able to come back and strike out the next two batters and get a weak popout to end the frame. V-Mart's two-run shot in the eight would be the final nail in securing the win.
Jordan Zimmermann: His day was shortened due to injury, but during his 5 2/3 innings of work he gave up just two runs on five hits and walked no one, striking out three.
Miguel Cabrera: Had a three-hit day, to include a solo shot to dead center in the bushes. He also reached in the seventh after being hit by the pitch.
J.D. Martinez: Had an RBI double up the left-center field gap in the first, and later had a leadoff single in the fourth.
Offense: The Tigers tallied double-digit hits against Chris Archer and Rays pitching. They put up two runs in the first, a run in the second, and a three-spot in the third. They wouldn't score again, but they did take advantage of Archer when he wasn't sharp, which has been a common theme for him of late.
Victor Martinez: Had only had a single in the third until his two-run home run in the eighth, but the dinger was a beauty. It gave the Tigers the breathing room they needed.
Drew VerHagen: Gave up two runs on three hits in one inning pitched, walking a batter and striking out one. He was fooling no one.
Injuries: They suck and should be banned.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Ian Kinsler's leadoff single to start the game gave him a 10-game hitting streak.
- Andrew Romine's triple in the second was the first of his career, surprisingly, considering the speed he has.
- Miguel Cabrera's home run in the third marked his ninth of the year, tied for second-most on the team with J.D. Martinez. Kinsler leads, with 10.
- Zimmermann left the game suddenly for an apparent groin injury in the sixth inning. Cabrera later left for his own HBP injury in the seventh.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: