The Tigers came from behind to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-6 tonight for their fifth consecutive victory. he win guaranteed them their second consecutive road series win against a strong team. They, of course, took two of three from the Angels at Los Angeles last week. The Bengals remain six games ahead of the Twins and seven games ahead of the White Sox in the race for the American League Central division title.
Armando Galarraga made his first start since being sidelined by an inflamed elbow but had nothing tonight. He was shelled for six runs on four hits and three walks in 2 1/3 innings. Fortunately the bullpen was tremendous with six pitchers combining for 6 2/3 scoreless innings.
The most encouraging pitching performance of the night came from Jeremy Bonderman making his first Major League appearance since his miserable June 8th start versus the White Sox. He looked much better tonight allowing just a bunt single and a walk and recording two strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings of relief. Jeremy was throwing 91-92 MPH according to MLB Game Day (up from 87 last June) and his slider seemed to have more bite.
Thanks to the work of the bullpen, the Tigers had a chancee to claw back and they took advantage of it. They were down 6-3 after six innings but scored three in the seventh to tie it and two in the eighth to go ahead. The seventh inning rally was highlighted by a two run homer by rookie cather Alex Avila and an RBI single by Placido Polanco (who also homered in the first inning). The eighth inning runs scored on a bases loaded pinch hit single by Marcus Thames and a suicide squeeze by Adam Everett.