Sunday, July 06, 2008

Bizarre win ends tough road trip

The Tigers beat the Mariners 2-1 in 15 innings today to finish off a 3-4 road trip to Minnesota and Seattle. With the score tied 1-1, Seattle manager Jim Riggleman sent backup catcher Jamie Burke to the mound in the top of the 15th. Miguel Cabrera greeted him with a double to the gap in right center. After one out and a wild pitch, Marcus Thames put the Tigers in front 2-1 with a sacrifice fly to right.

Todd Jones hit the first batter he faced in the bottom of the 15th but then settled down to get the save. Jones also saved himself the potential embarrassment of losing to a backup catcher. The last time a non-pitcher won a game was On August 22, 2000 when Rockies catcher Brent Mayne pitched the 12th inning of a win over the Braves.

Using Burke in a tie game was a strange move given that the Mariners had only used six real pitchers and still had relievers in the bullpen. Riggleman probably didn't want to use his closer Brandon Morrow because he had pitched in the last two games. Im not sure why he chose not to use Arthur Rhodes who had actually warmed up earlier in the game. Perhaps, he was injured. The other possibility might have been to use knuckle baller R.A. Dickey, although he pitched last night.

Nate Robertson pitched perhaps his best game of the year today allowing just one run on four hits in nine full innings. Joel Zumaya, Freddy Dolsi, Aquilino Lopez and Jones then combined for six shutout innings. It was the third good start in a row without a decision for a Tiger starter. Kenny Rogers and Armando Galarraga pitched well enough to win the previous two nights but failed to get hitting support and, in Galarraga's case, relief support. Both of those games resulted in Tigers losses.

So the Tigers went 1-2 versus the Twins and 2-2 versus the Mariners and lost ground on the division leaders. They are seven behind the Twins and six behind the White Sox. They now have a day off followed by a six game home stand versus the Indians and Twins. Tuesday night's game was supposed to be a match-up of Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia but Sabathia has been traded to the Brewers. That's a break for the Tigers.

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