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Tigers 7, Rangers 3: Peralta digs deep, comes up big

Wily Peralta had his longest outing since the Obama administration, and the Tigers capitalized on some big fielding miscues.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Texas Rangers Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The first game of a seven-game, seven-day, pre-All-Star-Break road trip, and the first of a three-game series in Texas against the Rangers, saw the Tigers win 7-3, but only after the Rangers scored all their runs with two outs in the ninth.

This was Detroit’s first visit to Globe Life Field, not to be confused with the Rangers’ previous home, Globe Life Park, across the street. (Confused yet? I sure was!) For the record, the roof was closed tonight.

Kolby Allard got the start for Texas. Before tonight he’d made 16 appearances, the last six being starts, and had a very respectable 1.077 WHIP in 52 innings. The Rangers have gradually built his stamina up, to the point he’d gone a full six innings in his previous three starts. In those starts he averaged three earned runs, walking very few and averaging a bit under a strikeout per inning.

Wily Peralta took the hill for the Detroiters, and his last start was undoubtedly the best he’s had in a while: he held Cleveland to a lone run in five innings, scattering three hits and walking none. Before that, he’d struggled with his command and got the early hook in a doubleheader against the Astros.

Today we got one heck of an outing from Peralta, as you’ll see.

A couple of seeing-eye singles by Nick Solak and Brock Holt put runners on the corners for the Rangers with one out in the third. Eli White hit a comebacker; Solak ran on contact and was eventually thrown out. A groundout got Peralta out of the inning, and if there were worms in the infield in Texas, they would have been greatly annoyed by all those ground balls. (It’s an artificial-turf field there, though.)

In the top of the fourth, a pair of singles and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases with one out for ex-Ranger Nomar “Wheels” Mazara, who hit a ground ball to second. With Texas trying to turn a double play, he hustled and beat the throw to first, scoring Miguel Cabrera and making it 1-0 for Detroit.

Through four mostly-uneventful innings, Peralta had thrown 48 pitches, 33 for strikes; lots of sinkers and splitters—and a generous zone from Doug Eddings—made for tons of ground balls. Hold on... have the Tigers found another diamond in the rough here?!

In the sixth, Cabrera led off with his second single of the night. After an Eric Haase flyout, Jeimer Candelario doubled to push Cabrera to third. Grossman worked a walk to load the bases with one out, again for Mazara, who hit a grounder to first. Nate Lowe bobbled the ball (error #1 on the play) and blindly tossed to first (error #2 on Lowe), expecting Allard to be covering the bag, but he was standing on the mound. Catcher Jonah Heim had to run down the first base line to field the ball, leaving the plate wide open, because Allard was still standing on the mound watching this all unfold around him like he wasn’t involved. Candy saw the opportunity and waltzed home uncontested. Everyone was safe, two runs came in, and the Tigers were up 3-0.

That sequence chased Allard; on came Brett Martin with one out and runners at the corners, with Willi Castro up. On the very first pitch, Castro surprised everyone by bunting up the first base line, scoring Grossman. If your bow-tie wasn’t already spinning from the bunt, Zack Short would’ve definitely gotten it twirling by smacking a two-run home run to left after striking out in six straight at-bats before that, making it 6-0.

Meanwhile, Peralta had another a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the sixth; Lowe’s strikeout to end the sixth was the 11th Ranger retired in a row since the third inning. He’d pitch into the seventh inning for the first time since September 6, 2016, a game in which he also hit a double. (No such hitting feats here, folks.)

Adolis Garcia doubled to lead off the seventh, and you had to wonder if Peralta was starting to wobble a bit. But the dangerous Joey Gallo struck out, and then Jonah Heim and Isiah Kiner-Falefa grounded out, and Peralta finished strong. His final, delightful line: 7 innings, 3 hits, no runs, no walks, 6 strikeouts. Also, consider this:

Look out, Orel Hershiser.

The Tigers started the eighth with a pair of hits and a walk, loading the bases yet again. Short nearly had a grand slam to the same spot he hit his earlier home run, but he’d have to settle for a long sacrifice fly, making it 7-0. Ah well.

Erasmo Ramirez came on for the eighth, and David Dahl greeted his first pitch with a single to right. Then, well, Short struck again, but this time with the glove:

Bryan Garcia started the ninth for the Tigers; coming into tonight, the number of runs allowed by Garcia in each of his previous six outings went like this: 0, 1, 0, 4, 0, 4. So, when Gallo hit a two-run home run with two outs, that broke the pattern... and Heim followed with a solo shot. Thankfully, Kiner-Falefa grounded out to end the game, but you have to wonder what happens next with Garcia.

“Doug Eddings’ Strike Zone Was So Big...”

You can finish that joke any way you like, but just consider that all the red pitches shown here were called strikes.

That ain’t good.

Well, There’s No Rule Against This (Yet)

“But, what have you done lately?”

Notes and News

  • The number of coaches the Detroit Tigers have lost to college coaching jobs this past month-ish now stands at 2, with third-base coach Chip Hale leaving for a head coaching position at the University of Arizona (after assistant hitting coach Jose Cruz Jr. left for Rice). This was his last game with the Tigers; George Lombard will move into the third-base coach’s box for Tuesday’s game. Best of luck in all your future endeavours, Chip.
  • Austin Jackson, who grew up in Denton, Texas, joined Dan Dickerson in the radio booth tonight. If you’ll recall, he famously hardly ever dove for a ball — and cited the inside-the-park home run Eric Haase hit (or, perhaps, the judgement call Billy Hamilton made to dive for it) as a major reason why he rarely left his feet.
  • Daz Cameron was taken out of the lineup just before game time, spraining his right big toe in the warmup.
  • P.T. Barnum was born on this day in 1810, and if you believe that, I’ve got some oceanfront property in Arizona I’d like to sell you. (Not a joke: he was elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives in the late 1860s.)