The Tigers got off to a rough start tonight when their starter was chased from the mound early in a seven-run third inning. They mounted a miraculous comeback to take the lead late, but the fireworks were just beginning. In a roller coaster game that featured five lead changes, lasted 13 innings and nearly five and a half hours, the Tigers came away with a tough loss.
Ian Kinsler drew first blood in the contest, scampering home on Victor Martinez’s groundout after doubling to lead off the first inning. But the Orioles would respond in a big way with a seven-run effort in the third inning.
A leadoff home run tied the game, and Boyd allowed a hit to four consecutive batters, a walk, and another hit, ballooning the score to 5-1 and ending his night early. He was relieved by Chad “Taco” Bell, who allowed the two inherited baserunners to score as well, but was able to escape the inning without any further damage. He remained in the game to eat another three-plus innings, as well.
The Tigers’ offense did manage to close the gap a bit after the disastrous third inning when Victor Martinez turned on a pitch that was off the plate inside and launched it over the left field wall, scoring himself and Cabrera. Two batters later, J.D. Martinez took a pitch that was off the plate outside and deposited it into the seats beyond right field, making the score 7-4, where it would stay until the seventh inning.
The Orioles called on Mychal Givens, who walked the Tigers’ first three batters in the seventh, forcing Buck Showalter to yank him favor of strikeout artist Brad Brach to escape the jam. But J.D. Martinez worked the count to 3-1 and had a green light, blasting a middle-middle fastball to the deepest part of the ballpark for his second home run of the night, taking an 8-7 lead. The six-run comeback would have been the Tigers’ largest come-from-behind victory since 2013, and the first comeback win of the season.
Justin Wilson came within one out of ending the game when Mark Trumbo added a bit of drama of his own by taking an elevated fastball deep to send the game into extra innings.
The 10th and 11th innings were handled cleanly by Shane Greene, who has not allowed a run in his last nine appearances. The Tigers loaded the bases in the bottom of the 11th, but with Tyler Collins due up the Orioles turned to their left-handed specialist Donnie Hart to retire Collins.
Blaine Hardy came on in the twelfth, and served up the third lead-change of the night in the form of a second-pitch home run to Chris Davis, followed by a pair of insurance runs. The game looked like it was finally ready to end, but the Tigers weren’t ready to roll over yet.
A James McCann double eventually cut the deficit to two, followed by Kinsler crossing the plate to make it a one-run game again. With the tying run on second base, Alex Avila drove it home with a single to send the game to the 13th inning.
But with the Tigers fresh out of reliable arms, Francisco Rodriguez took the mound and soon thereafter the Orioles broke the tie. Again. Unfortunately, the offense only had two epic comebacks in their bats, and they went down quietly to end the game.
With the loss, the Tigers drop below .500 at 18-19, two games behind the first-place Twins. They’ll continue the homestand tomorrow night against the Orioles.
Chad Bell: He did allow both of his inherited runners to score, which should not be excused, but he pitched into into the seventh cleanly, and kept the Tigers’ offense within striking distance.
J.D. Martinez: Two more home runs. Ho hum. Oh, and a pair of walks too. J.D. is now hitting .500/.647/1.500 since returning from the DL. We need to find a way for him to return from injury once a week, without having to miss any time due to injury. Get on that, scientists.
Victor Martinez: Victor was the MVP of the initial six-run comeback, with a two-run dinger and an RBI groundout early in the game, plus he drew a walk and scored on J.D.’s grand slam. It’s always nice to see him turn on an inside pitch and prove he’s still got good hands.
Matt Boyd: A seven-run inning speaks for itself, even if two of them were bequeathed to a reliever. Boyd just didn’t have any control tonight.
Nick Castellanos: After an 0-for-5 night, Castellanos is now hitting .150/.222/.200 over his last 10 games. He’s still hitting the ball as hard as anyone, though, and they’re bound to start falling in soon.
Tyler Collins: Somehow got four at-bats after pinch-hitting for Mikie Mahtook, and stranded six runners on base. Going 0-for-4 isn’t the end of the world, but that one hurts.
Tigers Live: Tonight was Fox Sports Detroit’s “Analytics Night” broadcast, and while Kirk Gibson did a swell job of talking through some of the finer points during the early parts of the game, the pre-game show was sadly lacking. With Craig Monroe’s old-school viewpoint featured prominently, the show really served more to disparage advanced stats than to promote or educate.
Stats and Info:
- Victor Martinez’s home run was his second of the year, and his first right-handed home run since he hit one off of Danny Duffy last September 23rd. Victor is hitting .394/.459/.606 in his last nine games.
- Today marked only the second start in the month of May for Mikie Mahtook. He hit a line-drive double in the third inning today, but stranded four runners in his other two at-bats before being lifted for Tyler Collins.
- Jose Iglesias came into the game with a .393 OPS in his last 15 games. He hit two singles in his six trips tonight.