The Tigers got six scoreless from one starter today and six runs allowed by the other. Naturally, because baseball is easily predictable, the scoreless start came from Kyle Ryan and the shaky one from Max Scherzer. On we go!
GAME ONE: WHITE SOX 6, TIGERS 3
Oh, this looked so promising early. Ian Kinsler led off the first with a homer off Chris Sale, Victor Martinez hit a two run shot in the same inning, and Max Scherzer had a 3-0 lead before even throwing a pitch. Unfortunately, he ended up having to throw pitches, and some of them were bad. He fell apart in the third, where, after not quite getting a called third strike, gave up four straight hits – a single, a double, another single, and a homer. The homer was to Adam Dunn on a hanging breaking ball. Another hanging breaking ball went out in the fourth off the bat of Tyler Flowers.
That was all, because despite Scherzer recovering to strike out eleven, Chris Sale also recovered and struck out thirteen. No pressure on the rookies in the nightcap, then…
GAME TWO: TIGERS 8, WHITE SOX 4
Kyle Ryan was a pleasant surprise. Quite a lot like Kyle Lobstein, he went six innings and only struck out one while walking two and giving up five hits, but lots of grounders and some well-timed double plays got him six shutout innings.
His counterpart, Chris Bassitt, started well too, but eventually the Tigers figured him out and put some runs on the board. Ezequiel Carrera opened the third with a double and Rajai Davis and Ian Kinsler followed with consecutive singles to make it 2-0 Detroit (after Rajai stole second). In the fourth, with two men in scoring position, Kinsler stepped up again to single both in. The Tigers then made it 5-0 on a Miguel Cabrera groundout that should have been a double play.
That 5-0 score held until the bottom of the eighth, when Brad Ausmus, apparently forgetting that he was managing a must-win game in the middle of a pennant race, decided to let Jim Johnson come in with one on and none out instead of a rested Joba Chamberlain. Predictably, Johnson gave up a walk and a hit, and was THEN relieved by Chamberlain with the bases loaded and nobody out. After a run-scoring force out, Dayan Viciedo hit a three-run homer, scoring two of Johnson’s runners and making it a 5-4 game. Luckily, the Tigers were in the mood for insurance, adding three more in the top of the ninth to make it 8-4 and put it back out of reach, even with Joe Nathan pitching.
This split ends the Tigers’ mess of doubleheaders and the schedule normalizes a bit from here. Not only that, but thanks to Cleveland’s 3-2 extra innings win over Kansas City, the Tigers are back into a first place tie in the AL Central. (Time to start thinking about Cleveland, who are just 3.5 back now – the Tigers will get a shot at them in Cleveland this coming week). Theoretically, with a win and some help, the Tigers could occupy first base all by themselves tomorrow.