In yesterday's statistical comparison, I noted that the Tigers have been winning with hitting and that the Angels have been winning with pitching. The Angels had their best pitcher going tonight but it was defense as much as pitching that decided the outcome. John Lackey and three relievers including closer Francisco Rodriguez allowed 8 hits and 6 walks as the Tigers were threatening all night long. However, some rally killing defense by the Angels led them to a 6-3 victory.
The robberies started in the second inning after the uncharacteristically wild Lackey loaded the bases on walks. The Tigers were then denied 2 or 3 runs when center fielder Gary Matthews made a diving catch of a shallow fly off the bat of Brandon Inge. It ended after the Tigers scored two runs to make it 6-3 and again loaded the bases. Carlos Guillen then hit a line drive up the middle which was run down by shortstop Orlando Cabrera for the final out. In between, they were victimized by Chone Figgins, Robb Quinlan and Gary Matthews again.
Mike Maroth pitched his first game since missing time with a virus. he was hit hard allowing 6 runs (5 earned) on 7 hits including 3 home runs in 7 innings. He threw 109 pitches which was a bit surprising considering Jim Leyland said he would be watched closely in his come back start.
Magglio Ordonez hit a solo home run, his 10th of the year and Placido Polanco and Inge each had a pair of hits. Inge is now batting .328/.414/.590 in 18 games this month.
Game two of the series will be tomorrow night when Chad Durbin faces Bartolo Colon.