Heading into game three of a four-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays, the Detroit Tigers had won four straight games, including the first two of this weekend series and scored at 10 runs in the last three. They hoped to continue their winning ways in the hands of Justin Verlander, who had a real ‘outlier’ clinker of an outing his last time out giving up 8 ER vs. the Indians.
In the end, the Detroit bats quieted down some but were able to eke out a 3-2 victory over Tampa Bay.
INNINGS 1 – 3
Detroit got a two-out single in the 1st from Victor Martinez but nothing came of it. Verlander sent down the Rays in order in the home half. Then in the 2nd, the Tigers got on the board first.
After a pair of walks to Jarrod Saltalamacchia and James McCann, it was Jose Iglesias singling up the middle to score Salty and make it 1-0 Tigers. They loaded the bases after Ian Kinsler walked but all runners were left stranded when Cameron Maybin grounded out to end the rally.
Verlander in the bottom half of the 2nd recorded the first two outs in order before allowing a single to Steven Souza Jr. of the Rays, who was activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to the game today. Verlander however picked Souza off first base for the third out of the inning.
Nothing doing for either team in the 3rd, both Detroit and Tampa went 1-2-3. Verlander allowed just the one hit and struck out three Rays. Detroit had just two hits through the first three, but Rays starter Blake Snell also issued four walks to Tigers batters.
(THRU 3: DET LEADS 1-0)
INNINGS 4 – 6
In the 4th, Logan Forsythe for the Rays led off the inning with a base hit. He advanced to third during the next at-bat on a pick-off throwing error from Verlander. Two batters later, Evan Longoria flew out to left and allowed Forsythe to score, making it a 1-1 tie after four.
In the 5th though, Detroit quickly re-gained the lead on Kinsler’s 15th home run on the season, RBI No. 50 making it 2-1 in favor of the Tigers. Then in the 6th after Justin Upton led off the inning with a double and advanced to third in a wild pitch from the pitcher Snell, Saltalamacchia hit a fly ball to center for an out, allowing Upton to score and make it 3-1 Tigers. That signaled the end for Blake Snell whose line ended up looking like this: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 4 K
Tampa would answer the call in the home half of the 6th. After a hustling double from Brad Miller and a single from Longoria to advance Miller to third, the Rays clean-up man Logan Morrison flew out to left and Miller came home to score, cutting their deficit back to one run.
(THRU 6: DET LEADS 3-2)
INNINGS 7 – 9
Both teams went down in order in the 7th frame. The 1-2-3 inning for Verlander was his final frame on the afternoon after 106 pitches: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), BB, 8 K
After 1.2 scoreless innings from Rays’ reliever Ryan Garton in the 6th and 7th innings, went down in order once again off new relief pitcher Xavier Cedeño. In the home half, it was Justin Wilson pitching for the Tigers. He gave up a single on the first pitch Rays catcher and former Tigers farmhand Curt Casali, but then promptly induced a ground ball double play off the bat of Forsythe. He then punched out Miller to end the 8th.
Nothing came of a one-out walk to Mike Aviles in the top half of the 9th for the Tigers. Closer Francisco Rodriguez came on for save No. 23 on the season in the bottom half and notched it with a 10-pitch 1-2-3 inning to seal the Tigers’ fifth consecutive win and at least a series victory against the Rays, with the chance for a sweep on Sunday.
ADDITIONAL GAME NOTES
Ian Kinsler hits a leadoff homer in the 5th inning. Kinsler is now one home run shy of 200 in his career.
— Tigers PR (@DetroitTigersPR) July 2, 2016
First time the #Tigers have had back-to-back quality starts since June 11-12, vs. the Yankees (JV/Fulmer)
— Matthew B. Mowery (@matthewbmowery) July 2, 2016
- It was the ninth time in his last 11 starts that Verlander has pitched at least seven innings in a game. It was also the eighth time over that same span that he allowed three ER or less in a start.
- Jose Iglesias recorded another hit in today’s game. He has at least one base knock in 24 of the team’s last 28 games and since his June 1, his batting average has climbed from .219 to .257.
UP NEXT: The Tigers will go for the series sweep of the Rays on Sunday when they hand the ball to Mike Pelfrey. In his last time out against Miami, Pelfrey allowed four ER over 5.1 innings and surrendered 12 hits.
Tampa will give the ball to Chris Archer, who has taken a step back in 2016. He posts a 4.76 ERA and an American League-high 11 losses heading into his start tomorrow, despite averaging 10.7 K/9 IP. From 2013-15, Archer registered a 3.26 ERA and averaged nearly nine strikeouts per nine innings.