They did it. The Tigers now have double-digit wins, collecting game win number 10 today, and while we love to say “wins don’t matter” when it comes to pitchers, we certainly feel like they matter in terms of games.
There were some messy hits in tonight’s game, which coincided with the Pink Out the Park game at Comerica Park — featuring former BYB writer Emily Waldon who spoke candidly about her ongoing battle against breast cancer — and we got to see Tiger Suit Guy rock a pink version of his usual suit. Maybe they should wear pink more often, because frankly it was a pretty nice game to watch.
Much like other early low-scoring affairs this season, the first five innings of this game flew by with relatively little action making for a speedy first portion of the game. If you’re not going to watch high-scoring blowouts, I guess there’s something to be said for a game that won’t take four hours to finish?
Anyway, here’s what got the Tigs to win 10.
Rodriguez was the Tigers starter and overall did a fine job, though still not the confident performance I think Tigers fans (and general managers) were hoping for when they signed him to the team. He gave up a leadoff single to Mullins in the first, followed by an infield single for Mateo. The O’s executed a double steal, putting two men in scoring position, but neither scored. In the bottom of the first Grossman drew a leadoff walk but was eliminated on the double play.
Bannon got a one-out single in the top of the second, then Chirinos walked, but once again the Orioles left two men on with no runs. Candelario got a leadoff walk in the bottom of the second. Torkelson got a two-out single though it being considered a single and not an error might be generous. Doesn’t matter, no runs scored.
Orioles went 1-2-3 in the top of the third. Grossman got his second walk of the game with one out in the third, but was once again erased off another’s at-bat as a fielder’s choice wiped him from the basepaths and left Baez at first. A Cabrera double then brought Baez home and put the Tigers on the scoreboard.
Odor got a one-out infield single in the top of the fourth, but that was it for the O’s. The Tigers didn’t fare any better in the bottom of the inning going three up, three down.
Owings got a leadoff single to start the fifth, but was eliminated in a double play and the Orioles went down scoreless again. The Tigers once again went 1-2-3.
Mancini got a leadoff walk but again the double play was a killer and the Orioles were left with a goose egg. Things got very exciting for the Tigers in the bottom of the sixth. Cabrera got a one-out solo home run. The Schoop got a two-out single. Willi Castro doubled to right to score Schoop, then a Torkelson single scored Castro, and suddenly it was a 4-0 game.
By the seventh, Rodriguez had started to settle into a pretty solid routine, and again while not the perfect performance, he did well overall. He got two outs to start the seventh, but then walked Chirinos and Owings back-to-back which was the end of the night for him with a final line of 6.2 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 3 K on 104 pitches. Chafin came on with the hope of getting the final out of the inning and looked like he walked right out of a game in 1981. Mullins reached on a single, and while it looked like the Tigers might challenge, it became pretty clear on the initial review that Chafin missed touching the bag. It was a called third strike on a check swing that went a bit too far to end the inning. Might not have been pretty, but it got the Tigers out of a bases-loaded jam.
In the bottom of the seventh Baez was awarded a home run, even though he very clearly didn’t think he had hit a home run. Then after rounding the bases the umpires called a review (didn’t even know they could do that) and the ball was then ruled as a foul. The second time around of the at-bat he struck out. I preferred the home run.
Trey Mancini didn’t need a second look when he hit a leadoff home run off the first pitch he saw from Jacob Barnes. Then Santander hit a home run on the second pitch thrown by Barnes. Uh, cool. Maybe don’t throw that pitch again. Nevin was walked next, and Barnes gave way to Lange. Yikes. The Tigers looked like they might have a very necessary double play, which was ruled safe at first on the field, but there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn it, so they’d settle for one out. Bannon… singled?… down the third base line? I feel like maybe that weird little hop should have been an error because that COULD have been a double play, but whatever, I’m not a game scorer. Okay, apparently I could be because it was ruled an error on Candelario. Anyway, in this insufferable inning, Lange walked Owings to load the bases. A pop fly finally ended the threat but dang that was ugly. Tigers went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the eighth.
Soto got the nod for the top of the ninth, hoping to keep the drama to a minimum and hold on for the win. First thing he managed to do was hit Mateo in the foot. As Jim Price noted, “They don’t need any help, folks.” Well, he went ahead and hit Mancini in the foot as well. Soto managed a strikeout. Then he walked Nevin. With only one out, Hinch went to the pen again, hoping Will Vest might prove to be a good in-Vest-ment. I’m so sorry. Vest got the second out of the inning. Then the final strikeout of the game, and with that Vest had his first career save, and the Tigers had a win.
Final: Tigers 4, Orioles 2