The Tigers opened a three game series versus the Angels at Comerica Park tonight and this one had a "big game" feel to it. It was a close well played game that unfortunately went to the Halos 4-3. Nate Robertson had one bad inning - a four run fourth highlighted (or low-lighted) by a two run homer by Vladimir Guerrero and a two run single by Casey Kotchman. It put the Tigers in a 4-0 hole from which they would not recover. To his credit, Robertson did bounce back and retired the last ten batters he faced to keep the game close. It was a rare 7 inning stint by a Tigers starter.
The bullpen was solid again with Denny Bautista pitching a scoreless eighth and Todd Jones dealing a perfect ninth. The fact that Jones pitched in a non-save situation showed just how much Jim Leyland wanted to win this game. The Tigers bullpen has now allowed just one run in 27 innings over the last seven games.
The Tigers chipped away at the four run deficit but missed out on some good opportunities to score more. Curtis Granderson led off the bottom of the fourth with his second homer in two games. Placido Polanco followed with a double, moved to third on a grounder by Gary Sheffield and scored on a ground out by magglio Ordonez. They received the obligatory high fives in the dugout for moving runners over but I'm pretty sure they were looking for more than a couple of infield outs.
In the sixth, Miguel hit into a force out with the bases loaded and Granderson scored the third run as Sheffield did a nice job breaking up the double play with a hard slide at second. Again, they got a run but could have had more. Sheffield then hit into some tough luck in the seventh when he just missed a grand slam to deep right center for the third out. In the eighth, two men were left on when Pudge Rodriguez hit a scorching liner to first for the final out.
It was a tough game but also a good one to watch. Game two will be tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 on Fox. Since the Yankees are on Fox at the same time, I won't be able to see the Tigers game in Massachusetts. Anyway, it will be the surprising Armando Galarraga versus Dustin Moseley.