Game 1 (Final Score: 4-0, Giants win)
Jason Schmidt pretty much did what he wanted against the Tigers’ hitters today. The number of hits is misleading since they were scattered across his eight innings of work. Only in the ninth did they really threaten his command of the game and Tyler Walker relieved him and beat up Pudge, Monroe, and Shelton and then stole their lunch money. For the most part the Tigers didn’t work Schmidt very hard during each at bat and he made big pitches when necessary.
Nate Robertson’s pitching performance doesn’t disgust me and you could probably describe me as marginally satisfied. The two run second was almost completely his fault since he bailed the Giants out with that two out walk and gave up a single to a poor hitter like Mike Matheny. His wild pitch that put Todd Linden on third (scored on a groundout by Snow) was regrettable but pretty standard fare for him. The only thing that gets me is the number of early inning (none or one out) doubles he gave up. Twice these hits lead to runs and the outfield defense is about as good as it’s going to get this year with White, Monroe, and Logan out there.
Game 2 (Final Score: 2-8, Tigers win)
Jason Johnson continued his outstanding season for the Tigers even though he started rough. The pair of first inning one out singles led to a pair of runs when Johnson misplayed Moises Alou’s batted ball giving the Giants an extra out so Michael Tucker was able to hit another single (2-0). Those were the only runs Johnson allowed even though he consistently gave up singles to the Giants and issued several free passes. One huge difference for him was the dearth of extra base hits he allowed the Giants. As the Tigers have proved it is hard to score runs if you’re only getting one base at a time.
The hitters started strong and ended up with an excellent performance. In the first, Inge, White, and Rodriguez hit balls for extra bases and tied the game (2-2). Infante continued their train of strong hits with a double that ended up being the game winning run once Polanco batted him home (2-3). In the third Pudge hit his second double of the day and scored on Shelton’s two out single to center (2-4). The batters rested in the fourth so they were well prepared to run up the score in the fifth. Four runs crossed the plate; Rodriguez singled and scored on Monroe’s (Rueter’s last batter) double off Rueter, Shelton’s single scored Monroe from first, Infante doubled again and joined Shelton at home on Inge’s one out single (2-8).
Some stout ninth inning defense helped Fernando Rodney avoid giving up more runs. Matheny lead off with a double and was on third after Omar Vizquel followed with a single. Rodney got Jason Ellison to tap the ball back to him and he successfully made out one at home. J.T. Snow hit an infield single to load the bases for Adam Shabala (in for Alou) who struck out in four pitches. Ray Durham iced the game by jumping on Rodney’s second offering and sending it straight at Polanco.
Game 3 (Final Score: 8-10, Tigers win)
After watching the White Sox win some exciting games it was sure nice to read the same about the Tigers. Mike Maroth started poorly when he gave the Giants another early lead in the second. A two out walk to Pedro Feliz and a two out single to Yorvit Torrealba don’t sound dangerous until you pile on another walk to Todd Linden and a two run single by Adam Shabala (2-0). Rondell White halved the gap with his lead off homer in the bottom half on a 1-2 pitch from Jesse Foppert but the other batters wasted a single and two walks with a botched bunt, an Infante strikeout, and Inge’s fly out (2-1).
Lance Niekro’s single went for naught in the top of the third but Polanco’s lead off walk in the bottom half resulted in a tie game on Monroe’s sac fly with the bases loaded (2-2). Sadly Pudge’s stolen base and Shelton’s walk were wasted by Alexis Gomez who struck out on the eighth pitch of his at bat. This free base spree continued in the fourth with one to impatient Infante and another to Polanco. Young’s double only scored one run (Infante was on third after Foppert’s earlier balk) but Polanco still found home this inning after Jeff Fassero tossed a wild pitch (2-4). The Giants struck right back with a two run shot off Maroth by Niekro (Deivi Cruz was on) and the game stayed tied until the eighth (4-4).
Farnsworth allowed his first run since he was a Cub (a slight exaggeration) on Cruz’s single that scored Linden, who was on after a lead off walk (5-4). The lately deadly Infante got the run right back in the bottom of the frame with a triple that scored Gomez from first (5-5). The game looked to be in good hands when Percival took the mound in the ninth and got two strikeouts after giving up a single and a walk. That made Linden’s three run homer especially painful since the Tigers looked to be ready to hand it to Da Meat of the order in the bottom half (8-5).
Da Meat came through in the bottom half anyway. Actually, it was White who got things started with a one out walk. He made third on Rodriguez’s single and scored on Monroe’s sac fly (8-6). Chris Shelton stepped up and delivered a huge two run shot to tie the game and give the lucky fans some extra baseball (8-8). (Does one big hit validate a call-up?) In the tenth Walker pitched a 1-2-3 inning and ended up earning the victory on Polanco’s walk off two run homer in the bottom half, emphasizing the dubious value of the Win statistic (8-10).