The Detroit Tigers signed Mike Pelfrey to a two year, $ 16 million contract this past off season. He carried a record of no wins and four losses with an ERA of 5.55 and 4.98 strikeouts per 9 innings. There were rumblings of his rotation spot being in jeopardy. Oakland signed Rich Hill to a one year, $ 6 million contract in the winter. He entered Sunday's action at 7-3 with a league best 2.18 ERA and 10.14 K/9, looking for his fifth consecutive win and a heavy favorite do just that.
Hill wasted no time, striking out the Tigers in order in the first inning. Detroit drew first blood in the second inning with singles by Victor Martinez, Cameron Maybin, and an RBI knock from James McCann to give the Tigers a 1- 0 lead.
Pelfrey worked around a pair of singles, stranding runners at the corners in the first frame. He gave up a two out single in the second frame to escape unscored upon first time through the A's order.Another two out single in the third inning was followed by a deep fly to the warning track that was flagged down by Cameron Maybin to keep the A's scoreless through three inniings.
Ian Kinsler and JD Martinez drew back to back walks to start the Tigers third inning, but Cabrera hit into a double play, leaving Kinsler on third base with two outs. Victor Martinez laced another single down the third base line (two doubles for most base runners) to drive in a run. Hill struck out Castellanos to end the inning making it 2- 0 Tigers.
Hill retired the Tigers in order in the fourth inning, mixing 92 mph fastballs with curves that dipped into the low 70's. Pelfrey countered with his first 1- 2- 3 inning of the day, heading to the fifth with his shutout in tact after 55 pitches. Hill followed suit with his second consecutive clean inning, and the improbable pitchers' duel was on.
Pelfrey struck out Coughlan, got Billy Burns on a grounder to Castellanos, and Coco Crisp flied out to Maybin making it seven straight A's retired. We had now entered the third time through the batting order with Pelfrey throwing five scoreless innings, four hits, no walks, and three strikeouts.
Victor Martinez laced a one out single off the left field wall in the sixth inning, but Castellanos flied out and Upton grounded out to strand him.
Pelfrey walked Jed Lowrie, then got Steven Vogt to ground into a double play. A pair of two out singles by Valencia and Khris Davis put runners on first and third with two outs. That got the Tigers' bullpen stirring. Kinsler booted an easy ground ball, allowing a run to score and put the tying run in scoring position with two on and two outs.
After two quick strikes on Semien, Pelfrey followed with three balls, the third going to the backstop to move the runners up to advance the runners. Ball four loaded the bases and Pelfrey's day was done with the Tigers leading, 2- 1, but bases loaded as he left in favor of Justin Wilson
Wilson got Billy Butler to hit a pop fly to center field, but Maybin hesitated, dove, and missed the ball that should have been caught. He struck out Burns, but the lead was gone with two more unearned runs charged to Pelfrey.
Maybin walked to lead off the Tigers' seventh, but Hill struck out McCann before being replaced by right hander Ryan Dull, who then finished out the inning. Wilson retired the A's in order in the bottom half of the seventh, leaving the Tigers trailing, 3- 2.
Mark Lowe pitched the bottom of the eighth, giving up a single, double, an intentional walk. A sacrifice fly scored an insurance run to make it 4- 2 Oakland.
Ryan Madson, who is normally the A's closer, came in for the eighth inning and retired the Tigers in order. Sean Doolittle came in for the ninth inning, set the Tigers down in order, and the A's take a 4- 2 win and take the series, two games to one. Detroit falls a game under .500 and three games behind first place Kansas City, who swept the White Sox to take over the division lead.
- Mike Pelfrey gets his third roar with Tigerdog doing the recaps (see a pattern, here?). 5- 2/3 innings, no earned runs, six hits, two walks, three strikeouts.
- Victor Martinez had a three singles and an RBI.
- Justin Wilson faced five batters and retired four of them, plus the dropped ball by Maybin.
- Ian Kinsler booted a routine ground ball that would have ended the sixth inning, and led to three A's runs.
- Cameron Maybin botched an easy pop fly after playing way too deep, then hesitating, then missing the ball for a two base error and two more unearned runs.
- The official scorer failed to give Maybin an error on his flagrant error that ruined the game for Detroit.
- The top of the order, Kinsler, JD Martinez, and Cabrera, were a combined 0 for 12. Martinez struck out three times, while Cabrera and Kinsler whiffed twice each.
- Castellanos and Upton were a combined 0 for 6, with one strikeout each
STREAKS AND STATS:
- The Tigers have four hitters: Cabrera, Castellanos, V Martinez, and Kinsler, all in the league's top 13 in batting average, wOBA, and OPS.
- The Tigers now head to Anaheim, where they have 10 wins and 30 losses over the past ten seasons.
- Mike Pelfrey almost escapted the month of May with a 0- 0 record, but the botched fielding by Kinsler and Upton gave him a hard luck loss.