Welcome to Lobsteinfest: Rookie Holds Yankees, Avila Walks Them Off

Kyle Lobstein really wouldn’t be in this headline but I needed to use that phrase.

The Tigers won the series from the Yankees today with a 3-2 victory – their ninth win in fifteen games, believe it or not – behind six solid innings from Kyle Lobstein, more solid pitching from the bullpen, and a walkoff single from Alex Avila.

Lobstein wasn’t the world’s most convincing starter, but he got the job done for six innings. He walked one and struck out… none. But he gave up only four hits and one earned run. Not sure he can be good going forward, but he did what the Tigers needed today.

He was matched by Hiroki Kuroda, who was also solid. He went seven, also allowing four hits and striking out four. The Tigers scored first on an Alex Avila sac fly, lost the lead on single runs in the third and fourth, and tied it in the fifth with a two out RBI single from Rajai Davis.

Thus, it became a battle of the bullpens, which is typically bad news for Detroit. But today, they held. Blaine Hardy got them four outs in the 7th and 8th without allowing a run; Joba Chamberlain got four more, but walked one. Phil Coke inherited that walk, gave up a single, then faced Brian McCann with two outs in the ninth with two on. McCann hit one 400 feet but just barely foul down the right field line, and Coke recovered to blow two 95 MPH fastballs past him for the strikeout.

In the bottom of the ninth, Victor Martinez led off with a double, and J.D. Martinez followed with a walk against reliever Shawn Kelley. However, after Nick Castellanos and Torii Hunter both struck out, extra innings loomed… until Avila hit Kelley’s first pitch off the wall in right, just missing Ichiro’s glove, to win the game for Detroit.

A four game series in Chicago against the White Sox – including a doubleheader – looms over the weekend. As of this writing, the Tigers sit two back of Kansas City and tied with Seattle in the second wildcard spot.

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