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!
Jonathan Schoop and Christin Stewart hit back-to-back home runs in the seventh inning, giving the simulated Detroit Tigers a 4-3 lead they would not relinquish in a victory over the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Matthew Boyd gave up three runs in six innings to pick up his 10th win of the season.
This game felt similar to Detroit’s previous win over the Astros, especially after they took an early lead. Jeimer Candelario put the Tigers on the board with a solo home run in the second, his 24th of the year. The Tigers then added another run in the third, but could have come away with a lot more. They loaded the bases against Astros starter Jose Urquidy with no outs, then plated a run when Harold Castro’s shallow pop fly landed in front of center fielder George Springer. But with runners frozen in between bases when the ball landed, Springer was easily able to record a force out at second base.
What made matters worse was that Castro was also tagged out at second — an unfortunate consequence of the game’s mechanics. In forcing the runners to advance (namely Clint Frazier, who was horribly lost), Castro was also sent beelining towards second, where he was tagged out easily.
That unlucky play seemed as if it would come back to bite the Tigers later on. The Astros plated three runs against Boyd in the fourth, when two bad pitches were both launched to deep left-center field for home runs. Alex Bregman started off the festivities with a solo shot after a long battle, and Yuli Gurriel gave his club the lead three batters later with another towering blast.
But Boyd regrouped after that, keeping the Tigers offense within striking distance. They forced Urquidy out of the game after just 4 2⁄3 innings, but looked out of sorts against lefthander Framber Valdez until Schoop sent a fastball on the outer half into the right field seats to tie the game. Valdez then put Stewart in a 1-2 hole before the Tigers’ left fielder sent another hanging fastball over the wall for his second home run in as many days.
There was little drama to speak of from there, as Tyler Alexander and Joe Jimenez shut the door in the final three innings. Alexander gave up a single to lead off the seventh, but quickly erased that runner with a double play, then stranded another runner after a two-out single in the eighth. Jimenez worked an easy 1-2-3 ninth for his 20th save of the year.
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