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Marlins 8, Tigers 6: Dodgy defense and dingers doom Detroit

It was a back-and-forth game but the Tigers couldn’t just keep the lead when they had it.

Detroit Tigers v Miami Marlins Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

The finale and rubber game of a three-game weekend series in Miami against the Marlins saw the Detroit Tigers play some shoddy defence, a starter suddenly fell apart, home runs were surrendered, and the Marlins won the series by taking the game 8-6.

Tarik Skubal took the mound for the Tigers today, looking to build on his last start: a solid, five-inning, no-run, nine-strikeout game against the Giants. He’s been gradually going deeper into games after coming back from injury, with outings of 57, 63, 64 and 82 pitches. Things would be going along great for him today until they really, really weren’t.

Jesús Luzardo made his 22nd start for the Marlins — holy jumpin’, is that how many starts a healthy starter could’ve made by this point in the season?! — and he’s had a solid year so far. He’s at almost 11 strikeouts, one home run and 2.4 walks per nine innings, and lately he’s been quite good, save for a clunker of a start in St. Louis. Fun fact, on a Venezuelan Heritage weekend for the Marlins: Luzardo was born in Peru, to Venezuelan parents, but raised in Florida. Neat.

Things started off well for the Tigers. In the third, Detroit put up a four-spot on the Marlins, highlighted by a two-run double by Miguel Cabrera.

The Tigers knocked Luzardo out of the game in the fifth; they didn’t score that inning, only because of a great play made by Luis Arraez on a Jake Rogers grounder to second, cutting down Riley Greene as he tried to score from third.

Ah, the ol’ “contact play.” Sometimes it works, sometimes it really doesn’t, and this was the second time Arraez had thrown out someone at home in the game.

The wheels came off for the Tigers, and Skubal, in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, old friend Avisail García hit a triple off the right-centerfield wall, the bounce from which eluded a pair of Tiger outfielders. Yuli Gurriel hit a grounder to first; Skubal should’ve covered first but he hesitated, so the Tigers didn’t get an out either at home or at first, scoring Garcia. Skubal’s command failed him, and a single and a pair of doubles later, the game was tied at 4. Skubal’s day was done, dispatched in favour of Brendan White, who got the final out of the frame.

In the sixth a Zach Short walk and a Matt Vierling single put runners on second with one out, but a flyout and a strikeout ended the threat.

In the bottom of the inning, Jon Berti reached on a throwing error by Zach McKinstry. He took off for second on a pitch that got away from Rogers, and rounded third but got caught in a rundown... or so we all thought, before Short got called for interference, awarding third to Berti, who promptly scored on a Gurriel single, giving the Marlins a 5-4 lead.

Javier Báez singled with one out in the seventh off A.J. Puk, and Rogers pushed him to third with a double, bringing Cabrera to the plate with two in scoring position. He walked on a full count pitch to load the bases for Kerry Carpenter, who singled to right on the first pitch he saw to score Báez and Rogers to give the Tigers a 6-5 lead.

Carpenter took second on a wild pitch by new pitcher Jorge Lopez, but Short struck out and Vierling grounded out. Sure, they retook the lead, but you need to keep that line moving when you have two on with one out.

Tyler Holton took over for White in the bottom of the seventh and Garret Hampson hit a leadoff single. After a flyout and strikeout you might’ve thought Holton would get out of the inning unscathed, but a Garrett “Don’t Call Me Gary” Cooper hit a two-run homer to left to put the Marlins back in the lead, 7-6. Jean Segura joined the home-run party in the eighth with a solo shot to straightaway center, off José Cisnero, to make it an 8-6 game and finish the scoring.

David Robertson, who the Marlins picked up from the imploding Mets, came on for the save in his first appearance since the trade. Robertson had a 1-2-3 ninth, and that was the game.

The Tigers have Monday off before travelling to Pittsburgh for a quick two-game, night-and-day series against the Pirates.

Notes and Stats

  • The Rangers’ team ERA in July has been 5.60... so, here’s hoping Max Scherzer can help ‘em out a bit.
  • Speaking of deadline-day trades... c’mon, Mr. Harris, the clock’s ticking over here!
  • Joe Sewell played from 1920 through 1933, with Cleveland and the Yankees. In all those seasons, the maximum number of times he struck out was 20, and he only had four seasons in which he struck out more than 10 times. In 1925 he came to the plate 699 times, and do you know how many times he struck out? FOUR. That blows my mind.
  • On this day in 1419, the First Defenestration of Prague happened. Hussites, led by proto-Protestant leader Jan Hus, were none too happy with Prague’s city council, so an angry mob of them chucked a bunch of ‘em out of high windows to their death. (If you learned some high school French, you may remember that fenêtre is the word for window; add a de- onto the front and there you go.)