The Tigers snapped their ugly 3 game losing streak with a 5-2 win over the Athletics tonight. It was their most satisfying win since the sweep of the Twins more than 3 weeks ago. The best part of this win was that pitchers were able to pitch in their roles and they executed exactly as they were intended. Justin Verlander allowed 2 runs in 6 innings but put the first 2 runners on base before departing in the 7th with a 3-2 lead. Lefty specialist Bobby Seay then retired hot hitting left-handed batter Jack Cust on strikes. Jim Leyland then brought in Aquilino Lopez (just called up today) to get the last 2 outs of the inning.
In the 8th inning, Fernando Rodney pitched about as well as possible in retiring the side. He had excellent command of his fastball which he mixed in with his devastating change-up. He made Donnie Murphy and Mike Piazza look helpless striking out both of them to end the inning. Todd Jones then finished it off with a nice easy 1-2-3 9th. In case we all forgot, that is how a bullpen is supposed to work. With Rodney looking strong and Joel Zumaya coming back in perhaps 10 days, we will hopefully see more of that down the stretch.
The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a homer by Marcus Thames who was batting second today. The Athletics tied it up in the 2nd on another home run by Jack Cust and went ahead 2-1 on an RBI single by Shannon Stewart in the 5th. Magglio Ordonez then put the Tigers back in front with a 2 run homer in the 6th. The Tigers added 2 more runs in an 8th inning highlighted by an RBI triple by Brandon Inge.
The win coupled with an Indians 11-2 loss to the Yankees left the Tigers just a 1/2 game out of first place. Considering they had lost 16 of 22 prior to tonight, we should feel fortunate that they are that close. The pennant race continues tomorrow when Nate Robertson opposes Dallas Braden at 1:05.
In order to add some fresh arms to a tired bullpen, the Tigers called up Aquilino Lopez and Eulogio DelaCruz and optioned Jordan Tata and Macay McBride to Toledo today.
Cameron Maybin homered for the second straight game in Erie's 10-9 victory over Connecticut today. He went 1 for 2 with 2 walks and 3 runs scored.