It really wasn’t looking very good for the Tigers. Anibal Sánchez had to leave the game in the fifth inning with an injury—more on that later!—and the Tigers’ offense had been held down for most of the roadtrip, outside of their one win in New York (in which they scored a whopping two runs).
Coming into tonight the Tigers were 1-6 in their last 7 road games and had managed only 8 runs. When Ian Kinsler drove in two with his RBI single in the third, the Tigers snapped a seventeen inning scoreless streak.
The offense then fell dormant again, and seemed baffled at times by R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball, and the way he played with speed and location. Dickey threw the knuckleball as hard as 80.6mph (according to Brooks) and as low as 63mph. He also threw a fastball that maxed out at 84.5mph.
More after the jump
After Dicket was relieved in the seventh by Dustin McGowan, and then Brett Cecil, it was looking like the Tigers might go down meekly for their third straight loss. The offense had been disturbingly quiet after the Kinsler single. In fact, the Tigers went another turn through the batting order before their next base hit in the fifth—off the bat of Kinsler.
Unfortunately, the mini-rally fizzled rather quickly. After a Victor Martinez walk put two men on for Torii Hunter, who struck out swinging on three pitches, the Tigers didn’t reach base again until J.D. Martinez led off the ninth with a double off closer Casey Janssen.
Nick Castellanos followed up the Martinez double with one the biggest hits of the season, a deep two-run homerun to left that tied the game 4-4. Two pitches later Eugenio Suárez untied the game with a deep drive of his own, to dead center to give the Tigers a 5-4 lead.
Kinsler reached base again on a double and chased Janssen, but Miguel Cabrera was unable to do anything against lefty Aaron Loup.
Joe Nathan came in to close the game out and promptly gave up a leadoff single to José Bautista before getting the next two batters out. Nathan then walked the next two batters, Colby Rasmus and Juan Francisco, before getting Josh Thole to foul out to Rajai Davis—on an incredible sliding catch—to end the game and the Tigers’ two game skid.
The Tigers have won six of their last ten. They send Max Scherzer to the mound tomorrow at 1:07PM, while Toronto sends out sensational rookie Marcus Stroman.
Bullet Points Are For Losers
• Anibal Sánchez left the game with a “right pectoralis strain.” He’s headed back to Detroit for an MRI tomorrow, but according to James Schmehl, Anibal doesn’t think he’ll have to go on the 15-day DL.
• Via Freep’s Anthony Fenech, the Tigers are 31-11 when Kinsler gets two or more hits. They’re 42-12 when he scores.
• Miguel Cabrera went 0-for-5 for only the second time all year.
• The much-maligned—and usually rightfully so—bullpen stepped up big time tonight to keep the Tigers in the game. Blaine Hardy, Al Alburquerque and Joe Nathan combined for 4.2 IP of scoreless relief, allowing just three hits, two walks (both Nathan’s doing in the ninth), and four strikeouts. Hardy doesn’t get a decision, but he came up big after a rough outing in New York the other day.
• Fun sidenote: Phil Coke is sporting a 2.31 ERA over his last 26 appearances, dating back to the beginning of June (h/t Matt Snyder).
• Until his double in the ninth, J.D. Martinez was 0-for-3, and was 12-for-68 (.176 BA, .243 OBP) since the All-Star Break (h/t Bless You Boys). He apparently watched video with the hitting coach in an attempt to pinpoint what he’s been doing wrong.