The Tigers opened up the weekend series by losing to the Athletics 5-4 in 10 innings tonight. Down 4-2 in the 9th inning against Huston Street, they rallied for 2 runs to tie it 4-4. Carlos Guillen and Pudge Rodriguez led off the inning with singles. Brandon Inge then flied out to right for the first out and pinch hitter Timo Perez grounded out to second to score the first run. Then the Mighty Casey stepped up to the plate in a pinch hitting role and singled home the tying run. There was joy in Mudville but it was only temporary.
Fernando Rodney pitched a scoreless 9th to keep it tied. That made it 11 straight scoreless appearances for Rodney. Then The Tigers failed to score off Street in the 10th. Joel Zumaya came in to pitch the bottom of the inning and allowed a double to Mike Piazza followed by a game winning single by Dan Johnson.
Starter Virgil Vasquez gave up 4 runs and 6 hits including 3 homers in 4 innings of work. The bullpen (which had given up just 3 runs in 37 innings before the run off Zumaya) was good again tonight as Jason Grilli, Tim Byrdak and Chad Durbin pitched 4 scoreless innings to keep the game close.
Meanwhile, the Indians came from behind to beat the White Sox 8-5 tonight and now have a 5 1/2 game lead in the AL Central. The wild card race stayed the same as the Mariners and Yankees both lost. The Tigers are 3 behind the Yankees and 2 behind the Mariners. Tomorrow afternoons game between the Tigers and Athletics is an excellent match-up between Justin Verlander and Danny Haren.