For a while there, things were looking pretty good. Justin Verlander wasn't sharp, and the defense wasn't exactly stellar either. But they jumped out to an early lead. It didn't last. The Minnesota Twins jumped all over the Tigers' ace and the bullpen in the sixth and ran off with a 6-3 victory.
Justin Verlander's stuff started out sizzling, with some funky sliders goin' on; Jim Price's "Late Movement"-meter nearly snapped off at one point. A second-inning walk, stolen base and McCannon-misfiring placed a runner on third, but Verlander got the next batter to fly out harmlessly. Walks would prove to be a problem, though.
With two outs in the third, Nicholas Castellanos hit a line-drive single, and Miguel Cabrera followed with a popup single into No Man's Land along the right field line; Castellanos went to third, and Victor Martinez singled him in with a ground ball that snuck past the shortstop. Upton followed with a double to deep center past Byron Buxton to score Cabrera from second and put the Tigers up 2-0.
Buxton led off the bottom of the third with what should've been scored as an Andrew Romine error, and Brian Dozier followed with a single to left. Mikie Mahtook nearly got fooled by a frozen rope by Max Kepler which advanced Buxton to third, but Miguel Sano got a taste of Verlander's hard stuff with a bevy of 97-mph fastballs, getting frozen for a third strike by a 98 mph fastball on the outside corner. Joe Mauer ended the threat by flying out to left, and Verlander the Gunslinger was in vintage form.
Verlander's pitch count rose quickly, but an efficient fourth and fifth helped out with that; he finished the fifth at 87 pitches. James McCann blasted a two-out solo home run to left-center in the sixth on a 1-2 sinker that, well, didn't sink quite enough to make the score 3-0.
Unfortunately, Verlander walked his fourth, fifth and sixth batters to start the bottom of the sixth; a two-run single from Robbie Grossman eluded both Cabrera and Ian Kinsler to score two and end Verlander's day at exactly 107 pitches. Kyle Ryan retired Jason Castro on a groundout but Grossman advanced to third, and Joe Jimenez returned from the frying pan to the fire.
...whereupon Jorge Polanco blooped a soft one into left to score Mauer, and Eddie Rosario hit a not-so-soft one into the stands in center to make it 6-3 Twins rather quickly. All six runs by the Twins were scored in the sixth. Is this a coincidence? I would say yes.
Hector Santiago's day ended with one out in the seventh, but Ryan Pressly put down the next two Tigers rather quietly. Blaine Hardy's return to the major leagues went a lot more smoothly than Jimenez's, putting the Twins down in order in the seventh. Wait, why was he in Toledo again?
Anibal Sanchez came on in the bottom of the eighth and the Twins went down 1-2-3, because baseball's a funny game. Brandon Kintzler set the Tigers down 1-2-3 in the ninth for a save, because the save rule is dumb. In conclusion, this road trip can't end soon enough.
James McCann: Hit a solo shot in the sixth to stake the Tigers to a 3-0 lead.
Miguel Cabrera's bat: Went 3-3 and scored a run.
Justin Verlander: Hurts to give JV a hiss, but seriously, when you walk six guys, I mean, c'mon.
Miguel Cabrera's groin: Strained it. Probably tweaked it during a routine play receiving a Nicholas Castellanos throw. Groins are funny things sometimes.
STATS AND INFO:
- Justin Verlander walked six batters, which is one off his career high.
- Anibal Sanchez's ERA dipped below 10.00 tonight. Progress!
- JaCoby Jones' troubles continue, as he struck out twice. His average now sits at .154. Could it be time for a little break?