Sunday afternoon the Tigers, riding a four game winning streak since a goose ran across the field at Comerica Park, faced off against the Blue Jays looking for a series sweep. Featuring Michael Fulmer and Aaron Sanchez, two pitchers with marketed success who have gotten off to poor starts, it was a fine pitcher’s duel through five innings before the Blue Jays opened up the scoring and didn’t look back. Thanks to a big seventh, the Blue Jays took the series finale 8-4.
The first half of the game looked like a pitching duel between Aaron Sanchez and Michael Fulmer, who are linked by their 2016 breakout campaigns. Fulmer cruised through the first five innings and got the first two outs in the sixth, but the wheels were coming off. He suddenly couldn’t locate with any consistency. He walked Yangervis Solarte, and then Justin Smoak then took a full-count fastball and sent it way out to right-center field to put the Jays up 2-0.
The Tigers’ offense made Aaron Sanchez throw a lot of pitches, but that’s about all they could do against him. Leonys Martin led off the top half of the sixth with a monster home run to right field to put the Tigers on the board, but that was all they could muster against Sanchez, who went six innings with seven punchouts and just the lone run allowed.
Ron Gardenhire looked to squeeze another inning out of Fulmer in the seventh. His pitch count was in good shape, but his command wasn’t. Fulmer came out and allowed a single and a walk before getting yanked for Warwick Saupold with no outs.
Things didn’t go well for Saupold again. After a stellar catch by Nicholas Castellanos up against the wall in right field, Randall Grichuk, hitting .099, hit a ground ball double down the left field line to put Toronto up 3-1.Aledmys Diaz then singled to right field that Castellanos failed to make a diving catch on, scoring another run. After a two-out RBI single from Solarte, Smoak again punished the Tigers with a ground rule double to dead center, scoring another run to give the Blue Jays a 6-1 lead.
Zac Reininger came on for Detroit to pitch the eighth and allowed a two run homer to Grichuk, the guy who was hitting .099, to push the lead to 8-1.
After poor pitching performances from just about everyone for the Tigers, they found themselves down seven runs in the eighth inning. With two runners on and one out, back-to-back RBI singles from Jeimer Candelario and Niko Goodrum pulled the score to 8-3. John Hicks, who didn’t start the game but replaced James McCann after an apparent injury in the sixth, then struck out on a slider in the dirt, but the ball got away from the catcher Russell Martin to allow Candelario to score from third and make it a four run game. However dreams of a rally goose inspired comeback died in the ninth, as the Tigers went quietly for their first loss of the #RallyGoose era.
Again, Fulmer’s final line was underwhelming, throwing six-plus innings, allowing four earned runs while striking out only three but allowing three walks and five hits. Even when he was cruising early, he still was struggling to locate his offspeed stuff. The Tigers need better from their top starter, and they need it soon.
Additionally, James McCann left the game in the sixth inning with a left sided intercostal spasm. I have no idea what that means, but it doesn’t sound fun. We may see a quick turnaround for Grayson Greiner, who only recently returned to Toledo.
Who was the Tigers’ player of the game?
This poll is closed
Leonys Martin: 1-3, 2 R, RBI, HR, 2 BB, SO
Jose Iglesias: 2-4, 2B
Jeimer Candelario: 1-2, R, RBI, 2 BB, SB