It didn't look too good when the Tigers fell behind the Orioles 5-0 in the second inning tonight. Starter Max Scherzer allowed a two-run homer to veteran designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero and a three-run blast to rookie second baseman Blake Davis. The Tigers have had two many games this year where their pitching staff has been blown out and this looked it would be another one.
Fortunately, Scherzer settled down nicely pitching shutout ball from the third through the seventh inning. With the bullpen needing a rest tonight, Scherzer threw a season-high 120 pitches and racked up 10 strikeouts. After the awful second frame, Max did a great job keeping the game within reach and the Tigers took advantage.
The Tigers scored one in the fourth on a double by Andy Dirks a ground out and a sacrifice fly by Miguel Cabrera. They then staged a dramatic five-run rally after two were out in the sixth. Magglio Ordonez started the outburst with a double and Miguel followed with a home run to right field making it 5-3. After singles by Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta, Alex Avila smashed a run-scoring ground-rule double to right to close the gap to 5-4. Ryan Raburn then singled up the middle scoring two runs to give the Tigers a 6-5 lead.
The Tigers hung on to win 6-5 thanks to some gutsy pitching by Scherzer, a scoreless eighth by lefty Phil Coke and of course another save by Closer Jose Valverde. The Tigers are now 8-4 in their last 12 games and all the wins have been by one run. Valverde has saved all eight of those games which gives him 35 saves in 35 opportunities for the season. The Tigers are now a league best 19-13 in one-run games.
The Indians kept the heat on the Tigers with a 3-1 victor over the Twins tonight. They are still three games out. The White Sox are 5 1/2 games back pending the result of their game versus the Royals tonight.