Matt Andriese and the Rays took care of business on Tuesday night, plating three runs on the reigning AL Rookie of the Year while holding the potent Tigers’ lineup to only one run. They also tacked on a pair of insurance runs against a perpetually porous bullpen, handing the Tigers their fifth loss of the young season.
The Rays must have heard that Fulmer threw a first-pitch strike to every batter in his last start, because they came out swinging early and often when they saw a fastball in the zone. After several hard-hit outs in the first couple innings, they capitalized in the third when Tim Beckham crushed a two-run home run over the left field wall.
Fulmer’s command was spotty all night, but give credit to the Rays’ hitters for executing a good gameplan. However, in the sixth inning Fulmer’s spotty command turned into nonexistent command. Brad Miller drew a walk and was plated on a pair of singles as Fulmer struggled to keep the ball in the strike zone. He was able to complete the inning, but his night was done at only 88 pitches and he left the game with a manageable two-run deficit.
But Kyle Ryan relieved him in the seventh and promptly turned it into a four-run deficit by allowing a single and a pair of doubles. Shane Greene bailed him out of the inning, and Warwick Saupold pitched a clean eighth inning.
The Tigers’ sole run came in the first inning on a patented monstrous home run to center field off the bat of Miguel Cabrera. After the first inning, the Tigers’ bats went silent until the seventh inning, when Victor Martinez drew a walk and moved up to third base on a pair of groundballs.
With runners on the corners, the game was delayed for a replay review after Justin Upton’s wrist came into contact with a Tim Beckham’s throw as Upton slid into second base. Upton headed to the dugout shaking his right hand and clearly in pain, and was replaced in the field by Andrew Romine.
After a three minute, eight-second review the call was upheld — which appeared obvious to most viewers at home with about 20 seconds of deliberation. After at least another minute of umpire explanation to the Rays’ dugout, the game resumed with one out and the tying run at first base.
The Tigers did not score in that seventh-inning opportunity, and were subsequently blanked by Jumbo Diaz and Alex Colome to close out the game. The loss drops the Tigers to 8-5 on the season, but they’ll retain that super meaningful possession of April first place. They’ll play the second game of this three-game series tomorrow night in St. Petersburg.
Miguel Cabrera: Miggy went boom again.
Victor Martinez: Hit a single and drew a walk to start the Tigers’ threat in the seventh.
Warwick Saupold: Issued a walk but also got two strikeouts in his 2017 debut. And most importantly got through a clean inning, which is far too rare from this bullpen.
The top of the lineup: Ian Kinsler and Nick Castellanos went hitless in eight combined plate appearances. The Tigers need to get more production in front of Cabrera.
The bottom of the lineup (minus Jose Iglesias): Tyler Collins, Alex Avila and JaCoby Jones went 0-for-9, including an epic fail to strand runners on the corners with no outs in the seventh inning.
Kyle Ryan: He was given a clean inning and only managed to record one out while allowing two runs. His ERA ballooned to 8.31 on the season.
STREAKS AND INFO:
- With Cabrera’s first-inning blast, the Tigers have hit a home run in each of their first 13 games this season, just one shy of the MLB record.
- Cabrera has hit a home run in three of the last four games. Tonight’s blast left his bat at 110 miles per hour and was estimated at 451 feet.
- Cabrera’s home run was the 449th of his career, which moves him into a tie for 38th most in MLB history. He needs 62 more home runs to catch Norm Cash for the second-most in Tigers’ history.
- Ian Kinsler did go hitless, but he hammered two baseballs and came up empty both times. The first was a loud line drive that defied the laws of physics to stay in the park, and the second was a 400ish-foot foul ball.
ROD ALLEN QUOTE OF THE GAME:
“Oh, he hit the snot outta that thing.”