The Cleveland Indians are chasing a playoff berth and the Detroit Tigers are watching their window close more and more. Both teams put up a good pitching fight but the Indians would scratch out the bare minimum offense needed to win a game. Tigers would come close in the final frame but could not score and drop the second of the four game series by a score of 1-0.
The first batter of the game that Fulmer faced drew a nine pitch walk on a questionable ball four call. But, Michael battled back to strike out the next batter, also on nine pitches, and then got two pop outs to end the inning. He would go on to finish his three innings strongly, needing just forty-four pitches and giving up no runs, one hit, one walk, and striking out two.
Tyler Alexander came on in the fourth inning and got into some trouble right away, but then with two outs and the bases loaded something strange happened. If you said that the bases suddenly turned into to interdimensional portals and swallowed up the Cleveland base runners and out sprang five legged sentient alien guitars that ran on unicorn farts and played nothing but Crystal Castles songs...well...that’s quite the imagination and I commend your creativity and question your choices of food and drink, but no that’s not what happened.
What did happen was more strange. Jose Ramirez decided to steal home. To his credit he had a great jump and if he slid to the correct side of the plate might have scored, but instead he dove inside, Romine applied a great tag, and the threat was over.
Cleveland would eventually plate their lone run in the fifth thanks to a Delino Deshields Jr. triple and a sacrifice fly from Francisco Lindor. Joe Jimenez and Jose Cisnero would follow with scoreless innings each. Buck Farmer came on in the eighth and pitched a scoreless frame as well, thanks to a fantastic running catch from defensive substitute Derek Hill.
In my estimation, Derek Hill ran a bajillion feet to make this catch. pic.twitter.com/4C2XosSXLd— Chris Brown (@ChrisBrown0914) September 19, 2020
Defensive sub Derek Hill ran over from right-center to catch his Franmil Reyes drive in stride, keeping this a 1-0 game. pic.twitter.com/0l0glc8gOT— Jason Beck (@beckjason) September 19, 2020
Meanwhile the Tigers looked like they might get to Zach Plesac tonight, getting a one out double from Willi Castro and a rare walk against Plesac from Miggy. But Plesac attacked the hot hitting Candelario with nothing but changeups and got him to strike out on a check swing and then dispatched Harold Castro easily to end the threat.
At just over twenty pitches it looked like maybe the Tigers could wear down Plesac tonight. Unfortunately, they didn’t and things got easier for Plesac from there. He threw an immaculate inning in the second (three strikeouts on nine pitches), and then when Isaac Paredes led off the third with a single, Plesac picked him off standing just a few steps off the bag, clearly catching Paredes off guard. He would last into the eighth inning when, at over 100 pitches, Victor Reyes lined a single off him, the tigers first base runner since a Harold Castro single in the fifth.
Plesac finished with seven and two third scoreless innings and a stellar final line. No runs, five hits, one walk, and eleven strikeouts. The Indians brought on their ace setup man, James Karinchak who did what ace setup men do and ended the brief threat.
To the ninth inning they would go. The Tigers brought in their closer, Bryan Garcia and things went as usual for a Tigers closer in the ninth inning, which is to say, not well. He would walk the bases loaded with two outs and force Ron Gardenhire to go to Gregory Soto to try to get out of the jam. Somehow things got much much worse.
Soto’s second pitch bounced in the dirt and as Romine went to block it it bounced and hit his left wrist. Romine immediately went down in pain and left the game. Miraculously, the ball did not bounce away allowing the runner to score. Eric Haase replaced Romine behind the plate and on the ninth pitch of the at bat, he got the groudball out to end the inning. He threw only fastballs, touching 99 mph, and did not use his slider once.
To the bottom of the ninth we went. Brad Hand came on for the Indians and Jeimer Candelario saw a pitch he liked but just got under it and flew out to the warning track for out number one. Daz Cameron came on to pinch hit for Hill and drive a ball up the gap to the center field wall for an easy stand up triple. Jorge Bonifacio struck out on a check swing which left it all up to Niko Goodrum. Sadly, he also would strike out on a check swing. A fitting end to the game. Tigers were close, but couldn’t pull out the win.