The Tigers lost to the Royals today 5-4 in a game where the Tigers definitely had some nice moments. Miguel Cabrera belted his first homerun as a Tiger, Carlos Guillen belted a huge eighth inning homer to tie the game and then Brandon Inge gunned down a runner at the plate in the top of the eleventh to prevent a run. Of course on the next play, Inge bobbled the ball but with two outs and the runner going on the crack of the bat, he would have had a tough time making any play at the plate.
Edgar Renteria put the Tigers on the board in the second inning with an RBI double and Gary Sheffield drew a bases loaded walk in the fourth to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead. Cabrera belted his solo shot in the fifth and it looked like the game was in hand with a 3-0 lead and Justin Verlander having a one hit shutout through five innings.
Then the wheels fell of the wagon in the sixth. Alex Gordon took Verlander deep for a two run blast and then he left runners at the corners with nobody out. The guy at third scored off of Jason Grilli to tie the game and then the other inherited runner scored on a single off of Aquilino Lopez. For those who thought the bullpen was a concern, Tigers game number one is also case study number one.
Carlos Guillen tied things up in the eight with a no doubt about it blast but Denny Baustista gave up the go ahead run in the eleventh inning (his second inning of work). Clete Thomas led off the bottom of the eleventh with a double in his major league debut but the Tigers couldn’t push him around to score.
I looked at the advance Gameday data and the Clete Thomas at bat was an interesting one. Joakim Soria threw him four straight fast balls to push the count to 2-2. The fifth pitch was his only breaking ball and he belted it for a double. Soria handled Renteria in a similar fashion with five straight fastballs to make it 2-2 (there was a foul in there) but it was finally a slider that sent Renteria to the dugout.
And here’s the WPA graph of the game. When Justin Verlander got the first out in the sixth inning, the Tigers had an 88.4% chance of winning. This fell to just under 70% after the Gordon homer and it turned when the Royals scored two in the seventh.
The Tigers get the day off tomorrow and then it’ll be Kenny Rogers going up against Brian Bannister. I’ll be at work so I won’t get to catch this one although I’ll probably Tivo the game.