Tigers 9, Rays 1: Win or Lou.

Bless You Boys

I’m going to keep this one short and sweet, mostly because a bunch of the BYB staff were at the park for the meet-up, and the focus for the day feels like it should mostly stick with Lou Whitaker’s jersey retirement.

That said, there was a game, and the Tigers must have felt like the pressure was on, because they actually played pretty well!

It was going to be a tough game no matter what, with All-Star starter Shan McClanahan on the mound for the Rays, facing off against Garrett Hill, who I frankly forgot played for the Tigers. Hill should have been wildly outmatched, and yet…

In the top of the first Hill started a bit wobbly, with a one-out walk to Choi, then back-to-back singles to Paredes and Peralta, but no runners scored, even with the bases loaded. McClanahan meanwhile started as expected, putting the Tigers down in order.

Hill’s early struggles continued in the second, as Chang homered with two outs to put the Rays on the board early. But in the bottom of the second, even though the Tigers didn’t score, they did start to show some signs of life. Haase singled to lead things off, but was eliminated on the fielder’s choice. Willi Castro also hit into a fielder’s choice, however Candelario remained safe at second thanks to a fielding error from Paredes. Trade justice. A double play ended the inning, but the Tigers were just getting warmed up.

Hill was also warmed up now, because in the third inning he put the Tigers down in order. McClanahan returned the favor in the bottom of the inning.

Onto the fourth and Bethancourt reached on a two-out single, then Walls drew a walk, but no Rays’ runs scored. The Tigers once again went back to the dugout just as quickly as they came to the plate, but it was worth noting that a typically strikeout-heavy pitcher like McClanahan only got three strikeouts in the whole game as the Tigers managed to make pretty continuous contact throughout the game.

Lowe drew a walk to start off the fifth, then Paredes got a one-out double. A Peralta fielder’s choice eliminated Paredes but got Lowe to third, however even with a man 90 feet away, the Rays couldn’t add on to their lead. In the bottom of the fifth the Tigers, who had felt like something was brewing almost all game, finally got things going right. Willi Castro doubled, then a Schoop flyout got him to third. A Harold Castro single brought Willi home, and then Harold scored all the way from first on a Reyes double. The Tigers suddenly had a 2-1 lead.

Onto the sixth and Bethancourt doubled. After a Walls popout, Hill’s night was done, with a final line of 5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 1 HR on 93 pitches. (yes, if you’re counting, Hill had more strikeouts than likely Cy Young winner Shane McClanahan). Lange came out to end the inning. In the bottom half McClanahan set the Tigers down 1-2-3.

Chafin was on for the Tigers in the top of the seventh, and put the Rays down in order. Then, in the bottom of the seventh, the Tigers burst things wide open. Candelario singled, then Willi Castro doubled. A Schopp sac fly scored Candelario, then a Harold Castro double scored Willie Castro (the second time tonight Castro was both the RBI and the R on a play). Greene was hit by a pitch, then a Baez double that was very nearly a home run scored both Harold and Greene. A well-placed Cabrera single scored Baez, and when the dust settled McClanahan was out of the game and the Tigers were up 7-1.

Jimenez was the next reliever up for the eighth, and had a remarkable outing compared to Friday night, with only one single to Peralta and then the next three batters struck out in order. Yu Chang, a position player, came on for the Rays in the bottom of the eighth and I bet the Rays were pretty sad they let Brett Phillips go in this scenario. Candelario singled to start things off, then a Schoop homer scored two more runs. Harold Castro singled, but no additional runs scored. The Tigers were still sitting pretty with a 9-1 lead.

Luis Castillo was on in the ninth, making his major league debut. He got his first out quickly, then Yu Chang felt the need for a little redemption and hit a single. Another out, then Quinn singled, and with two men aboard and two outs it was down to Paredes. (Side note: I don’t love people booing Paredes… it’s not like he traded himself.) A groundout finished things off.

Final: Tigers 9, Rays 1

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