For eight innings, this was one of the most frustrating games of the season so far. Luckily, Ian Kinsler saved the Tigers with a two out, three-run homer that led to a 4-3 win over the Houston Astros.
- A word to Bo Porter, who went all saber on us and decided to use his closer, Chad Qualls, in the eighth inning against the Tigers 3-4-5 hitters while protecting a 2-1 lead. He gave up a double to J.D. Martinez but that’s it, as Torii Hunter proved an easy third out. I would personally vouch for this strategy too – if the Astros had a decent option to pitch the ninth as well, which they didn’t. Their bullpen was already short, which led to Jerome Williams trying to nail down a save opportunity. Nick Castellanos singled, Alex Avila struck out, Eugenio Suarez singled, Rajai Davis tried and failed to bunt for a hit (no really), and then Ian Kinsler stepped in and hit a three-run homer, and boy did they need it.
- Max Scherzer struck out 13 in six innings and only walked one. He gave up both runs in the first inning before settling in and dominating. One of his best starts all year despite the two in the earned run column.
- Suarez had three hits. Bryan Holaday bunted for a single, too, so that was fun. In reality, it was the bottom of the order that did most of the threatening for the Tigers today.
- Phil Coke continues to be goin’, as some might say, and ended up vulturing his first won of the season with a perfect eighth.
- Like I said, up until the ninth, this game was very high on the list of infuriating Tigers games of 2014, so there’s plenty to put here despite the win. The offense as a whole was pretty awful, failing to make much of an impact against spot starter Brett Oberholtzer. The 3-4-5 hitters in particular scuffled, going 1-for-13.
- Rajai Davis twice batted with a runner at third and less than two out and twice failed to get a run in – first on a popup, the second on a groundout to third. On said groundout to third, the bases were loaded with one out in a 2-1 game and he was allowed to hit against a righty reliever. Just brutal.
- Torii Hunter actually got a hit but otherwise continues to be 2014 Torii Hunter – that is, below replacement level.
- After those two encouraging outings last week, Joe Nathan has reverted to mediocre, giving up a run for a third straight appearance on a homer to Alex Presley that made it 4-3. That was the only run he gave up, and he didn’t walk anyone, and he struck out one, but that one was strikeout machine Chris Carter on a fastball down the middle. He also got away with a hanging slider to Matt Dominguez. He hit 94 with his fastball and threw a decent slider or two, but the pitches were alarmingly inconsistent again.
Hey, a win’s a win. The Tigers can win another series tomorrow as Drew Smyly opposes Scott Feldman in a 2 PM ET start.