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Tigers 2, Athletics 0: Shared shutout secures series split

Eduardo Rodriguez had a really nice outing, and the bullpen nailed it down. But they played with fire the whole game.

Detroit Tigers v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The finale of a four-game weekend series in Oakland saw the Tigers shut out the A’s with a 2-0 score, the only runs coming on a blooper in the third. They finished their west coast road trip with a 6-4 record, not a trivial achievement by any means.

Eduardo Rodriguez, who had a lousy previous outing against the Dodgers in which he had to exit early due to back spasms (probably?), was apparently fine enough to make his scheduled start today. He’s had a rough go of it the past month, with the only decent start being on September 1 on the south side of Chicago.

The A’s sent out JP Sears for his 31st start of the season. It’s been an up-and-down year for Sears; like Rodriguez, he had a nice start on the first of September, but it’s been a mostly-down month for him. He had a great start in Detroit on July 4, pitching into the eighth and not giving up any runs, scattering five hits along the way.

Rodriguez reached 95 mph on a strikeout in the first inning, which is something we haven’t seen from him a while. Sears was no slouch himself early either, striking out four in the first two innings.

However, the Tigers loaded the bases with one out against Sears in the third with a double, walk and goofy infield single which eluded the second baseman, bringing Spencer Torkelson to the plate. Tork dumped a short fly ball into right-centre, scoring two; the runners advanced on a lousy throw home.

Miguel Cabrera walked to re-load the bases, but a strikeout and lineout stranded the trio of Tigers.

Rodriguez got himself into trouble in the fourth: a double, a walk and a double-steal had runners on second and third with none out. But a grounder to Báez at shortstop and a throw home cut down the speedy Ruiz at the plate, and on the next pitch another grounder to short produced a double-play. Take that, Houdini!

In the next inning, Langeliers led off with a double, but again Javy got the lead runner, cutting Langeliers down at third on a Ryan Noda ground ball to shortstop. However, a single and a walk sandwiching a strikeout helped the A’s load the bases with two outs, looking to get on the board. But again, Rodriguez coaxed a ground ball out of Esteury Ruiz to shortstop for a forceout at second, and that ended the threat. Ruiz, by the way, stole two bases today which made 65 steals on the season; he also got cut down by Jake Rogers trying to steal third, so that’s nice too.

Rodriguez came back out for the seventh, but he was nearing 90 pitches and had been playing with fire more as the game wore on. He started the inning with a walk and a wild pitch, but he got a groundout and a pair of flyouts to finish the frame.

The Tigers looked for a little insurance in the eighth, and they had runners on second and third with two outs. Alas, Parker Meadows grounded out.

Jason Foley took over for Rodriguez to start the eighth, and he got a strikeout and flyout before Brent Rooker hit a single to left. Alex Lange then took over for Foley, and he got pinch-hitter Seth Brown to strike out on a curveball below the strike zone.

Detroit continued on the hunt for insurance runs again in the ninth, as Matt Vierling led off the proceedings with a double to left. Andy Ibáñez sacrifice-bunted him over to third — which I approve of, incidentally — but Torkelson and Cabrera struck out swinging, stranding Vierling and leaving the Tigers’ lead at a pair of runs.

Shea Langeliers led off the ninth with a double (his second of the day), and a groundout pushed him up to third. Lange struck out Tony Kemp on, you guessed it, a curveball. A groundout to first ended the game and secured the Tigers shutout victory.

We Love Ya, Joey

This might be just about the end of the line for Joey Votto with the Reds. If it is, and if the Reds don’t make the playoffs (they’re in the NL Wild Card hunt), this was the first at-bat for his final home game in Cincinnati.

“That’s a shame.”

Notes and Observances

  • This was the Tigers’ final road game of the year. It was also Miguel Cabrera’s final road game of his career. He got a nice ovation from the Oakland fans in the ninth.
  • After today’s win, the Tigers achieved a winning road record at 41-40.
  • The Erie Seawolves’ Eastern League Championship Series was scheduled to be played today, but was rained out. Game 1 has been pushed back to Monday at 6:05 pm EDT. Let’s go Seawolves!
  • On this day in 1896, F. Scott Fitzgerald was born. If you ever had to slog through The Great Gatsby in a high school English class, well, that was him. I think you can probably figure out how much I enjoyed this novel.
  • On this day in 19-whatever, our very own Mr. Sunshine was born! Happy birthday, Sunny.
  • G’mar chatima tova to all observing Yom Kippur tonight at sundown. (I hope I got that right.)