Baseball is weird.
Seriously. Nothing about this game made sense. These were the feeble Detroit Tigers, returning home where they last lost nine (possibly 10) games in a row, to face the hot and ready Tampa Bay Rays. The Tigers were sending out the woeful Ryan Carpenter to face off against the reigning American League Cy Young winner, Blake Snell. Oh, and before the game, it was just announced that Miguel Cabrera has a chronically old knee and would be relegated to the designated hitter spot for the foreseeable future.
Naturally, the Tigers ended up winning by a final score of 9-6, a score that does not tell the story of how weird this game was.
Out of the gate, the Tigers were clearly not phased by facing Snell. They scored a run in the first inning on a Cabrera double that was badly misplayed on an ill-advised dive. Thankfully for the Rays, Cabrera’s trick knee held him to a double. The Tigers continued putting the pressure on Snell through the second but did not score.
Snell settled into a small groove after that, until the Tigers thrashed him in the fifth inning. Three consecutive one-out singles from Jacoby Jones, Niko Goodrum, and Christin Stewart, tied the game at two apiece. Then, Nicholas Castellanos walked to bring up Cabrera. Looking like the Triple Crown champion of old, Cabrera smoothly deposited a curveball below the strike zone into the Tigers’ bullpen for a grand slam. Snell left the game, and the Tigers were sitting on a 6-2 lead.
They weren’t done yet. In the seventh, a Dawel Lugo triple scored two more runs, then a wild pitch scored Lugo standing up to make it a 9-2 Detroit lead.
The rout was on, thanks in no small part to the Tigers’ ace for the night, still managing a low pitch count. Carpenter scattered the hard hits enough, with the only damage coming on a two-run homer in the second by former Tiger Avisail Garcia. After that home run, however, Carpenter allowed just two hits to the next 15 batters he faced. He ended up pitching through the seventh, and finished with easily the best outing of his major league career.
Carpenter’s final line: seven innings pitched, seven hits, two earned runs, zero walks, three strikeouts. Not too bad.
Going into the eight inning, the Tigers were sitting on a 9-2 lead, and looking like a very good team. Unfortunately, sanity returned briefly to the baseball universe. Joe Jimenez and Buck Farmer struggled to get outs in the eighth, culminating in a two-out grand slam to former Tigers farmhand Willy Adames. Suddenly, the rout felt like a nail-biter.
Fortunately the drama had reached its crescendo, as Shane Greene worked a clean ninth for his 19th save of the season.
Stats of the Game
- Miguel Cabrera’s grand slam was his first home run in Comerica park since April… of 2018.
- Miguel’s grand slam was his first grand slam since 2013.
Who was the Tigers Player of the Game?
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