Happy Friday, Tigers fans, where the only thing that could stand in the way of the Tigers besting the Astros was that they couldn’t get a hit to save their lives. No hits. Like zero. Perhaps it was even... a no-hitter? Not quite, thanks it a certain pinch-hitter, and a thrilling final act, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let’s look at how that all shaped up. The pitching match-up was Matt Manning vs. Framber Valdez. Both of the pitchers were in excellent form tonight. So much so there won’t be a heck of a lot for me to talk about in terms of baserunners.
In the first, both teams went 1-2-3.
In the top of the second, Manning went 1-2-3. In the bottom half Jake Rogers was hit by a pitch, and then successfully stole second. Riley Greene walked, and then Miguel Cabrera had an absolute robbery of a hit that looked sure to be a home run. The Tigers stranded their baserunners.
In the top of the third Jose Abreu reached on a fielding error from Zack Short (and while Short carries two errors for tonight’s game, at a certain point we may need to discuss Spencer Torkelson’s effectiveness at first). Jeremy Pena reached on catcher’s interference. Jose Altuve then singled to score Abreu, putting the Astros on the board first. Parker Meadows walked to start the home half of the third, but three outs later he was still on the basepaths and the Tigers were still scoreless.
Manning had another clean inning in the fourth. In the home half, Cabrera walked but did not score.
Onto the fifth and another error from short allowed Pena to take first, but the Astros did not get an additional run. The Tigers continued to get their steps in in the bottom half with a Meadows walk. But they just couldn’t get a run in.
The sixth was three-up-three-down for each side.
In the seventh Matt Manning only saw one batter before being lifted, not because he was done in a typical sense but he was looking uncomfortable in his last pitch and was pulled with an apparent injury. TBD. His final line was 6.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K on 80 pitches. Take away the unearned run and Manning actually did a better job limiting baserunners than Valdez. Just saying. Great outing. Brendan White was out of the pen to get the last two outs of the inning. The bottom half saw Short walk, and then saw A.J. Hinch take a longer walk after getting ejected from the game for arguing with Laz Diaz about the expired pitch clock for Javier Baez.
Tigers manager AJ Hinch was ejected after Javier Baez struck out in the seventh. It appeared the pitch clock had expired on the called third strike. pic.twitter.com/ETDHQ67UZi— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) August 26, 2023
White continued on the mound in the eighth, issuing a one-out walk to Pena. Pena stole second but the Astros failed to score. In the bottom half a pinch-hitting Kerry Carpenter broke up the Astros no-no (worth noting the eighth was also when Dusty Baker went to his pen to put Bryan Abreu on the mound). The Tigers didn’t score but at least they broke up the fifteen-walk no-hitter.
In the top of the eighth with Alex Lange pitching, Kyle Tucker reached on catcher’s interference and it’s frankly wild that happened twice in one game. Yordan Alvarez walked to put two men on with one away. The Astros couldn’t add to their score, so the Tigers had an actual chance to tie things up in the bottom half. With two outs, Cabrera singled to center to give the Tigers a baserunner. It was up to a pinch-hitting Zach McKinstry. He laced a single to right, and Detroit had something going. Javier Baez came up and hit a single to center to score a pinch-running Carson Kelly and the Tigers were cooking. Now it was up to the new kid, Meadows, to see if he could walk it off, or if the Tigers would go to extras.
PARKER MEADOWS WALK-OFF HOME RUN. How’s THAT for your first career RBI?!
Final: Tigers 4, Astros 1