The Tigers topped the Cubs 5-3 tonight to give them six consecutive victories and a five game lead over the second place Twins. Not too many of those wins have been easy and this one was no exception. The Cubs threatened all night and the Tigers needed seven pitchers to complete the game. Rick Porcello and six relievers (everyone but Freddy Dolsi) allowed 7 walks and 11 hits but but stranded 13 runners.
Porcello only went five innings and allowed 11 base runners but held the Cubs to just two runs thanks, in part, to a ground out/ fly out ratio of 11/1. Joel Zumaya, the fifth reliever of the night for the Tigers, stayed away from the change-up this time and pitched a scoreless eighth inning to set up Fernando Rodney. Pitching against a backdrop of fireworks (set off next door to the stadium) Rodney did his usual Todd Jones imitation allowing the first two runners to reach in the ninth before getting out of it. His control was bad and Jim Leyland had Dolsi up in the bullpen quickly in the ninth. However, the manager then went out to the mound and seemed to calm Fernando down and he retired the Cubs in order after that.
The Tigers offense came from Gerald Laird (a homer and two hits), Miguel Cabrera (a homer and two hits) and Adam Everett (two hits and an RBI). After a getting a hair cut earlier in the day (yes the long curly hair is gone), Magglio Ordonez also added two hits.
Speed Never Slumps
Ordonez came out of the game for pinch runner Josh Anderson and for the second straight game Anderson made an out on the bases. After getting picked off first last night, he was out trying to advance from first to third on a bunt single by Gerald Laird tonight. Anderson has now run into so many outs on the bases this year that he is a below average base runner (0.2 runs below league average) according to the Baseball Prospectus Equivalent Base Running Runs statistic (EqBRR). If he can't use his speed effectively, he is pretty much useless offensively with his .621 OPS.