Like almost everything else this season, the much anticipated series with the White Sox has not gone as many of us had hoped. Playing in the Detroit Stars uniforms tonight, the Tigers lost 7-6, their second consecutive one run loss to the division leaders. It was their fifth one run loss to key divisional opponents since July 10, the other three coming at the hands of the Twins just before the all-star break. They are now 7 1/2 games out of first and 4 behind the second place Twins.
Tonight, it was ace Justin Verlander's turn to disappoint. Verlander had been pretty strong for the last couple of months after a slow start but tonight he did not have it. Although he held the Pale Hose scoreless for two innings, he struggled from the start and was approaching 100 pitches by the end of the fourth inning. He allowed four runs in the third including back to back homers by Carlos Quentin and Jermaine Dye. He surrendered three more in the fifth with some help from Bobby Seay (who later settled down and helped keep the game close).
The Tigers offense didn't quit in this one. They scored three in the fourth to tie the game at four, thanks, in part, to an Alexei Ramirez error and an infield hit by Miguel Cabrera. Down 7-4, Magglio Ordonez hit a solo homer in the sixth. They scored one more in the seventh on a wild pitch but Carlos Guillen ended the inning by striking out with runners on second and third. They got a lead off double from Ordonez in the eighth but Cabrera, Gary Sheffield (who earlier homered) and Marcus Thames left him there. Curtis Granderson doubled with two out in the ninth but Polanco struck out to end the game.
Why did Jim Leyland not pinch hit Matt Joyce for Edgar Renteria or Brandon Inge in ninth inning against Bobby Jenks? I'm not sure. Leyland has never been too fond of pitch hitting for his veterans.
They've got one last chance to avoid a sweep tomorrow when Zach Miner faces Javier Vazquez. That doesn't look like a great match-up for the Tigers but Miner did well in his first start so we'll see.