The headline is a slight exaggeration. The last time the Tigers beat the Angels before today was August 26, 2012. Ervin Santana was the Angel starter that day. Prince Fielder and Delmon Young both homered off him, Quintin Berry and Andy Dirks drove in runs, and Jeff Baker was Detroit’s starting third baseman that day. None of these people played in this game today so it’s pretty irrelevant, but hey, the more you know.
Max Scherzer did play in that game. In fact, he was the winning pitcher then, as he was today, his first win of 2014, a 5-2 Tigers victory. He went seven innings (vitally, given the state of the bullpen) with his lone blemish being a leadoff homer allowed to J.B. Shuck. It was one of just three hits allowed. He struck out nine and didn’t allow a hit after the third inning. He also struck out Mike Trout three times, with Joe Nathan adding a fourth in the ninth inning for good measure.
Scherzer’s seven innings didn’t require a ton of run support, but the Tigers obliged early on. Nick Castellanos hit his second home run of the season, a two-run blast into the seats in left, in the second inning to give Detroit their first lead of the series – a lead they would not relinquish.
Video review played a big role in getting Detroit a third run in the third inning. Miguel Cabrera reached on a Brennan Boesch error (I’ll pause while you giggle) and Victor Martinez walked. Torii Hunter hit a fly ball to center, and Cabrera was called out trying to advance to third after the catch. Replays indicated that he was safe, and the call was overturned, allowing him to score on Austin Jackson’s one out fly ball the next batter. Martinez added a solo homer in the fifth, and the always entertaining Angels bullpen allowed the Tigers a fifth run in the eighth after a bunt single, two walks, and a sacrifice fly.
Scherzer handled the rest, and even the Tigers bullpen more or less did the job, with Joba Chamberlain striking out two in a perfect eighth and Joe Nathan taking the ninth, striking out two. He allowed a home run to Albert Pujols, but we’ll let that go.
The Tigers can somehow win the series against the Angels tomorrow, but they’re throwing Rick Porcello out there against the team that destroyed him last year.