Michael Fulmer stepped on to the mound in Yankee Stadium Sunday afternoon as the owner of the longest active scoreless streak in baseball. The previous streak was ended Saturday when the Astros' Will Harris allowed his first run since the third game of the season. Harris' streak ended at 26 2/3 innings, and Fulmer took over the title with his 22 2/3 innings streak.
A couple hours later, Fulmer stepped off the mound with his streak intact, now at 28 2/3 scoreless innings, the longest such streak of the season by any pitcher in baseball. He pitched six innings, allowing only two hits and six total baserunners today, his fourth straight scoreless start. And yes, he's a rookie.
He did run into some trouble in the fifth inning, though. Austin Romine led off the inning with a ground-rule double, and after recording a pair of outs, Fulmer walked the next two batters to load the bases (the first of which appeared semi-intentional). Tigers' fans held their collective breath as a ball was lifted towards Yankee Stadium's short porch in right field, but the fly ball fell shy to end the inning and preserve the streak.
The Tigers plated a run in the fourth inning on three singles and a sacrifice fly, but they left the bases loaded when the bottom of the lineup came around. An inning later, they manufactured another run on a walk and a single, and Ian Kinsler scampered home on a groundout.
But Kinsler didn't need to manufacture anything in the seventh inning, when he took Anthony Swarzak deep. The home run scored Mike Aviles to give the Tigers a four-run lead, and the Tigers rode the insurance runs to a relatively smooth victory.
Shane Greene relieved Fulmer in the seventh and recorded a pair of strikeouts in a perfect inning. Justin Wilsonpitched the eighth and, knowing that Francisco Rodriguez wants to add to his league-leading saves total, allowed a run before escaping the jam. K-Rod came on in the easiest of save situations and made three Yankees hitters look foolish to lock down the series win.
The Tigers improve to 32-30 with the win, and remain in second place in the AL Central. Up next, they head to Chicago and Kansas City for a couple of big inter-divisional series' with the White Sox and Royals.
Michael Fulmer - Let the numbers wash over you. In his last five starts: 34 1/3 innings pitched, one run allowed on 13 hits, 37 strikeouts to 10 walks. That's good for a 0.26 ERA and a 0.670 WHIP.
Miguel Cabrera - Hit a single and a double, and scored the first run of the day, which was the only one the Tigers needed with Fulmer on the mound.
Ian Kinsler - Drew a walk in the fifth inning, and came around to score with some head's-up baserunning on a single and a groundout. Oh, and there was the dinger too.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Today marked Miguel Cabrera's 2,000th career game played, and he led off the afternoon with a double for his 2,400th career hit. Cabrera is the fifth-youngest player to reach the milestone, and the only active player under the age of 36 with at least 2,400 hits.
- Ian Kinsler extended his on-base streak to seven games with a fifth-inning walk, and a seventh-inning home run. The dinger was his 13th of the season, and it marked the fifth time this season he has hit home runs in back-to-back games.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: