Michael Fulmer brought the fire on the opening night of Detroit’s annual road trip. He poured strikes in on a hapless Oakland Athletics lineup in a 7-2 win. Jim Aducci chipped in with a pair of extra-base hits, including a three-run triple in the sixth as the Tigers made a tiny step towards erasing the years of pain that the words “West Coast Trip” bring on.
Fulmer is on a mission to prove that his 2016 Rookie of the Year was no fluke. Tonight was a banner night for the big righty, with nine strikeouts marking a best on the 2017 campaign for him. The A’s could only manage a single earned run off of Fulmer through eight innings of work.
The Tigers played some inspired defense behind Fulmer as well, proving that West Coast baseball is actually a parallel universe of weirdness. Justin Upton had an excellent day in the field, robbing the A’s of several hits. Andrew Romine and Nick Castellanos made excellent picks on a pair of ground balls. Miguel Cabrera even managed to cross the prairie-like expanses of Oakland’s foul ground to make a catch against the railing. Seriously, this all happened.
Victor Martinez got the offense started with a ground ball that squirted through the left side of the shifted infield to score a pair of runs in the third. The Tigers added on a pair of insurance runs in the 8th when Jose Iglesias hit an RBI triple and later scored on a sacrifice fly from Nick Castellanos.
Shane Greene slammed the door in the 9th, but not before allowing a Rajai Davis single. As weird as West Coast baseball is, the Tigers are still not allowed to pitch a 1-2-3 9th inning. That might break the space-time continuum.
Michael Fulmer: Tonight was a vintage outing from Fulmer. He attacked the strike zone on the A’s and dared them to hit his fastball, which they were unable to do. On top of being effective, Fulmer was efficient, being the first Detroit starter to finish off the 8th inning in 2017.
Jim Adduci: Chipped in another pair of extra-base hits, including a huge three-run triple to break the game open in the sixth. Adduci is making his case to stick around when JaCoby Jones and J.D. Martinez are healthy.
Victor Martinez: Reached base four times, including a double into the corner and an intentional walk (lol). Those who feared Victor’s days of producing offensively were over (this author included) should now have cause for hope.
James McCann: McCann went 0-4 with three strikeouts. In other news, Oakland had a right-hander on the mound.
Stats and Info:
- Adduci has 12 hits on the season. Six have gone for extra bases (four doubles, two triples).
- Martinez drew his 61st intentional walk since joining the Tigers in 2011. That mark is good for 8th in the MLB over that span (trailing Prince Fielder and Cabrera). When you consider that Martinez has spent a significant portion of that span trailed in the lineup by J.D. Martinez, that is an impressive testament to his career in Detroit.
- Fulmer lowered his 2017 ERA to 2.77. You can start the All-Star talk now.
- Tonight marks Detroit’s first ever win on the West Coast. Don’t look this stat up.