Like many of our friends throughout the SB Nation network, we are simulating the 2020 MLB season with MLB The Show 20. While we are unable to stream the games as they would otherwise be happening, we will try to get ahead of the curve and post about the games on the same day they would have taken place. Or, you know, at least get them back on schedule. Now, onto the recap!
Harold Castro punched a two-out single to left field to score Dawel Lugo in the bottom of the ninth, clinching a 6-5 victory for the simulated Detroit Tigers on Thursday afternoon at Comerica Park. The win clinched the season series over the Seattle Mariners, who nearly overcame a 5-2 deficit in the late innings.
For a while, this game felt similar to Detroit’s 6-1 loss on Wednesday. The Tigers struggled to get much going against starter Dan Altavilla — another reliever asked by the CPU to throw far too many pitches — while their own starter repeatedly danced out of trouble. But unlike Wednesday, the Tigers scored first, plating a run in the bottom of the third. Lugo, who reached base four times on the game, worked a four-pitch walk to open the frame. After Grayson Greiner struck out looking, Castro lined a pitch into the left field gap, scoring Lugo from first. Cameron Maybin lined a two-out single to left later in the inning, but Castro was wisely held, and ultimately left stranded, at third base.
The Mariners tied the score in the top of the fifth, then (briefly) took the lead in the sixth. Austin Nola led off the fifth with a double, one of a few hard-hit balls against Michael Fulmer that inning. Fulmer retired the next two batters, but Dee Gordon came through with a single up the middle to score Nola, tying the score at 1-1. Mitch Haniger started the sixth in similar fashion, launching a ground-rule double to deep left. Carlos Gonzalez continued the inning with a single, moving Haniger to third, and Kyle Seager gave his club the lead with a seeing-eye single to right. The M’s appeared poised for a big inning, with runners on the corners and just one out, but Nola grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat.
The Tigers quickly took the lead back in the bottom of the sixth when Jeimer Candelario hit a two-run homer to right, his 13th of the season. They were unlucky to get more out of the inning — Christin Stewart hit a hard liner with a runner on base, but it went directly to first baseman Daniel Vogelbach, who turned it into an unassisted double play — but padded their lead in the seventh. Jonathan Schoop led off the frame with a single, then went from first to third on a Lugo single to right. Greiner hit a bloop single to center to score Schoop, then Castro singled up the middle to score Lugo, extending Detroit’s lead to 5-2.
But, like Wednesday, the bullpen couldn’t quite hold things together. Buck Farmer gave up two singles to open the top of the eighth, then bounced back to retire the next two hitters. He couldn’t escape the jam, however, and served up a game-tying three-run homer to Kyle Seager.
Fortunately, the Tigers were able to regroup. Joe Jimenez worked a scoreless ninth inning, and the bottom of the lineup came through once again. Lugo got the rally started with a double to right, and Castro followed with a single that was hit just softly enough for Lugo to scamper home, delivering the win.
The Tigers will hit the road for a nine-game road trip starting on Friday. They will play a three-game set against the Arizona Diamondbacks, followed by an off day on Monday. Next up is a series in Oakland, followed by the Tigers’ first meeting with the Chicago White Sox in 2020.