Tonight, it felt like 2006 again. First, there was a great start from a rookie pitcher. They scored both of their runs on homers. Joel Zumaya was back throwing in the high 90s. Fernando Rodney and Todd Jones finished it off with two perfect innings. The Tigers beat the Indians 2-1.
21 year old Jair Jurrjens, in his second major league start, allowed just one run on one hit in 6 2/3 innings. JJ had a no hitter for 5 1/3 innings before allowing a solo homer to Jhonny Peralta in the 6th. He left with a a runner on first and two out and a 2-1 lead in the 7th. The best was yet to come.
In came Joel Zumaya, just recalled today after spending nearly 4 months on the disabled list with a tendon injury in his middle finger. he received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd at comerica as he left the bullpen and jogged out to the mound. The fans roared some more when he used 98 and 99 MPH fastballs to get two strikes on Ryan Garko. He eventually got Garko on a grounder to second to end the inning.
Rodney followed with a perfect 8th for his 7th consecutive scoreless appearance since returning from the disabled list. Todd Jones spared us the 9th inning roller coaster ride with a 1-2-3 inning of his own. It's nice to have the bullpen back.
On the other side, Fausto Carmona pitched an excellent game himself. After retiring the Tiger in order for the first 4 innings, Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen smashed solo homers to lead off the 5th and put the Tigers up 2-0. The Tigers would not score again as Carmona allowed only 3 hits and threw just 78 pitches in 8 innings.
The Tigers did not need any more runs though. Not tonight. It was 2006 again.
The victory moved the Tigers to within a half game of first place. Tomorrow night, it will be Justin Verlander versus Paul Byrd.
Placido Polanco finally returned to second base tonight after missing the entire 6 game home stand with a nasty virus. He went 0 for 3.
Ryan Raburn got his first start at third base tonight in place of the slumping Brandon Inge and went 0 for 2. Inge came into the game as a defensive replacement in the 7th inning.