After falling behind 3-0 early, the Detroit Tigers could have packed their bags and gotten ready for tomorrow afternoon's game. Instead, the team found a way to string together enough offense to tie the game, then got a clutch bunt after an error to score the winning run in a 4-3 win over the Chicago White Sox.
Though rain dampened the start of the game, it couldn't slow the starters. Both Justin Verlander and Jose Quintana were locked in. Quintana was particularly devastating, generating plenty of swings and misses. Offensively, Detroit couldn't support their starter early, and Verlander was the first to crack.
A single by Marcus Semien, a double by Adam Eaton, a seeing-eye single by Gordon Beckham and a double by Adam Dunn helped provide Chicago's 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third. In the fourth, Detroit's offense chipped away, getting a single from Ian Kinsler and a single from Victor Martinez to claw back into the game at 3-1. Then in the sixth, Detroit strung together four hits with two outs, getting RBI singles from Torii Hunter and Austin Jackson to tie the game.
From then on, the starters tap danced around trouble here and there, particularly Verlander, who had to strike out two in a sticky spot in the seventh. Joba Chamberlain came on for the eighth, and worked around a double, getting a pair of strikeouts and a ground out to extinguish Chicago's threat. In the ninth, Austin Jackson's hard-hit ball evaded the glove of Dayan Viciedo, allowing for a triple. After a strikeout, Bryan Holaday's improvised bunt caught the White Sox by surprise, scoring Jackson from third, and plating the lead run.
Despite some anxious moments during a long fly ball from Tyler Flowers, Joe Nathan pitched a drama free ninth inning, finishing off Chicago and allowing the Tigers to escape with a clutch come-from-behind win.
Top Tiger: Bryan Holaday. Though it wasn't a called squeeze play and simply a heads-up move, Holaday got the job done with a clutch play late in a game he wasn't even supposed to start. It was a huge move for a catcher which found himself in the lineup thanks to Alex Avila's injury.
Bungling Bengal: Rajai Davis. It's been a sparkling start for Davis at the plate, so it was odd to see him swinging and missing four times during the game collecting the golden sombrero. All in all, a very rough night for Davis, who will try to rebound tomorrow.
The Turning Point: Dayan Viciedo's error in right field. Though Jackson's hit was scorched, Viciedo would probably admit he should have caught the ball and grabbed the second out of the inning. Instead, Jackson took third, allowing the Tigers to get the lead run in late. Chicago couldn't recover from the error in the field, and lost. Though Viciedo is a dynamo at the plate, he often leaves much to be desired in the field.
Stat Of The Game: 4, the number of appearances Joe Nathan has gone without allowing a run, including tonight's. Over that same stretch, Nathan has six strikeouts to only one walk. Finally, the drama has left the ninth inning temporarily. Perhaps the dead arm issue is in the past for good.
Quote To Note: "We were trying to get his attention the whole time because we know he's good at it." –Brad Ausmus. During the play, Ausmus was apparently trying to call for the squeeze that Holaday apparently decided to execute on his own. Perhaps former and current catchers are connected by some form of ESP.
What's Next: Detroit finishes off a short two game set in Chicago. Max Scherzer (2-1) will oppose Hector Noesi (0-1).
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