For a while it looked like the Tigers would lose their 3rd straight at home. In fact, after Hunter, Cabrera and Fielder went in order in the bottom of the 8th, a third straight loss looked all but certain. BUT, in the bottom of the 9th Victor Martinez lead off with a walk and up walked Jhonny Peralta.
With the count 1 and 2 Peralta sent an Andrew Bailey slider over the fence in left field giving the Tigers a 4-3 walk-off win, their first of the season. In a post game interview Peralta said he was looking for the slider. He got it. He didn’t miss it. The Tigers won.
Here are some thoughts:
Cabrera went 1 for 4 with 3 strikeouts. It seems to me, that after being walked so much the last few weeks, Miggy has expanded his strike zone and perhaps trying just a little to hard. He’s struggling just a bit; I guess as much as a .359 hitter can be “struggling”.
Torii Hunter had a much needed clutch hit to drive in two and tie the game in the bottom of the 5th. The Tigers have needed a clutch hit recently, Hunter got it.
Jose Alvarez had another strong, spot start filling in for Sanchez. He faced the American League’s best offense, went 5 innings, giving up two earned, striking out three and walking two.
The bullpen looked pretty good too, with the exception of Phil Coke. Luke Putkonen pitched a strong, scoreless, inning and a third and Drew Smyly was brilliant again cleaning up Phil Coke’s mess.
Coke struck out Ellsbury to end the seventh but came out in the 8th and couldn’t find the strike zone. He walked Victorino and Pedroia on eight pitches. David Ortiz singled, driving in Victorino, giving the Red Sox a 3-2 lead.
Drew Smyly replaced Coke and was lights out. With no outs, Pedroia on second and Ortiz on first, Smyly struck out Napoli and got Gomes to pop out to third. After hitting Lavarnway to load the bases, Smyly got Middlebrooks to fly out to Torii Hunter in right, ending the inning, limiting the damage to one run, and essentially setting up Peralta’s heroics in the bottom of the 9th.
The more I see of Smyly the more I agree with Nebraskaknows, Smyly could be the answer to the closer problem.
The Tigers have started this four game series with the Sox on the right track. Let’s hope it ends better than the Baltimore series.
“God, I love baseball.” – Roy Hobbs | The Natural