The Tigers fell 2 1/2 games behind the Indians after a heart breaking 10 inning 3-1 loss to the division leaders this afternoon. Nate Robertson dueled Jake Westbrook to a scoreless tie through 8 plus innings and the bullpens kept it tied through regulation. Robertson allowed just 4 hits and walked none while getting through 8 2/3 innings on just 91 pitches. He also received excellent fielding support from Carlos Guillen at first, Placido Polanco at second and Ramon Santiago at short.
It was just the kind of performance that the Tigers needed from a starting pitcher. Unfortunately, it was not enough. Jake Westbrook was almost as good allowing just 5 hits and 2 walks in 8 innings. The Tigers got two runners on base in the 9th against relievers Rafael Betancourt and Rafael Perez but again failed to score. Curtis Granderson ended that one by striking out against the lefty Perez.
Joel Zumaya got the final out of the 9th inning but did not seem to be at full strength topping out at 95 MPH. He ran into trouble in the 10th when he allowed a lead off double to Victor Martinez and then loaded the bases on an intentional walk and a regular walk. With one out, Zoom struck out Franklin Gutierrez and it looked like he might get out of it. However, pinch hitter Kenny Lofton hit a grounder to shortstop for an infield hit to make it 1-0. Chris Gomez followed with another soft hit and the indians were up 3-0.
The Tigers finally scored in the bottom of the inning but they fell 2 runs short. With 2 outs, Magglio Ordonez doubled, Guillen followed with a bunt single and Marcus Thames got an RBI double. However, Pudge Rodriguez flied out to right to end it.
The Tigers now host the Yankees in a 4 game series. Now 2 1/2 games out, all the games are becoming crucial and they really need to start winning some series. The opening game will be tomorrow night with Andrew Miller facing Roger Clemens.
during the game today, it was announced that Craig Monroe has been traded to the Cubs for a player to be named later. They are also owed a PTBNL from the Cardinals for Mike Maroth.