The last time a Tigers' rookie registered a shutout was 10 years ago, when a goateed fireballer named Justin Verlander blanked the Royals in late May. Since then, only two Tigers' rookies have come within five outs of the feat. The first was Kyle Lobstein last year, and the second was Michael Fulmer. Five days ago. And then also tonight.
Fulmer was the story of the night yet again, as he shut down the Angels for 7 ⅔ innings, and flirted with a no hitter. He struck out eight, including Mike Trout twice, and didn't allow his first hit until the seventh inning, when a C.J. Cron single broke up the no-hit bid.
There was one small scare with Fulmer on the mound, as a hard line drive whistled down the left field line and put the tying run on second base. The hit would end Fulmer's night at 102 pitches, but Francisco Rodriguez came in to finish off the inning and record the four-out save without incident.
The Tigers got on the board in the fifth inning when Jose Iglesias scored on a single from Ian Kinsler. They added another run in the sixth inning when a double off the bat of Victor Martinez was followed up by a pair of singles from Nick Castellanos and Cameron Maybin.
They also added an insurance run in the ninth inning without the benefit of a hit, as three walks and a fielding error scored Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The run wasn't needed, but Tigers fans always appreciate a little margin or error for their closer.
Michael Fulmer, duh: 7 ⅔ innings pitched, two hits, two walks, eight strikeouts. If you're not excited about this guy yet, get excited.
Nick Castellanos: Three hits on the day, one of them contributing to a run when runs were looking scarce. Castellanos has cooled off a bit lately, so it's nice to see a big day from him.
Brad Ausmus: Recognized when Fulmer was tiring and pulled him before any damage was done. He also turned to his closer and most reliable bullpen arm for a four-out save, something he doesn't do often. Credit where credit is due, you couldn't manage the pitching better than he did tonight.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- With his RBI single in the fifth inning, Ian Kinsler has reached base in 16 of his last 17 games.
- With Victor Martinez's single in the first inning, he has reached base in 11 of his last 12 games.
- Jose Iglesias hit a double and a single tonight for his first multi-hit game since May 1st.
- Nick Castellanos is batting .750 this month.
- The Tigers improved to 3-17 in Anaheim over the last six years.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: