Back in May, David Price pitched a complete game against the Seattle Mariners. With the Detroit Tigers, he nearly turned the trick again while leading the way to a 4-2 win in his highly-anticipated Comerica Park debut.
Despite his excellent numbers against them both career and in Comerica Park, the Tigers were the aggressors in an elite pitching matchup, jumping on Felix Hernandez early. In the first inning, they set the tone with two singles. In the third, they scored a run after getting another pair of hits and a fielders choice from Eugenio Suarez.
Price, meanwhile, didn't give up a run or a hit until the fourth when Austin Jackson doubled off of him and quickly scored thanks to Robinson Cano's hot shot to first base. The tie didn't last long, though, as Nick Castellanos crushed a Martinez pitch deep into the night for a 2-1 lead.
That, combined with an elevated pitch count, was enough to finally knock Hernandez out of the game, ending his impressive streak of 16 consecutive games of seven innings pitched allowing two runs or less. Price, meanwhile, continued to dominate, carving up the Mariners quickly through the next three innings after allowing the run without damage on the scoreboard and few runners on the bases.
Detroit's offense extended his lead in the seventh to 3-1, via a single from J.D. Martinez that brought home Miguel Cabrera. One batter later, Castellanos remained on his tear, singling in another run. Those insurance runs would come in handy. Joe Nathan came on and gave up two hits and one run in the ninth, but put the Mariners away for his 25th save of the year.
Top Tiger: David Price. Price was fantastic on Saturday night, striking out seven and going eight strong innings. He didn't allow a run or a hit until the fourth inning, and was sharp if not dominating the entire game. When trouble finally came in the eighth, Price became a bear and got out of the jam. "He made it extremely clear that he was good," Brad Ausmus said after. "And he was good. And I was happy." What makes the lefty so solid to his manager? "He does an excellent job of missing the middle of the plate with his pitches," Ausmus said. So far, so good as it relates to starts at Comerica Park for Price.
Bungling Bengal: Ezequiel Carrera. Carerra went 0-4 with all four of his outs coming via fly balls and didn't make quality contact all night. It was a rough evening for one of Detroit's new center fielders. Center field is becoming a black hole offensively for the team since the loss of Austin Jackson, and the Tigers are going to have to figure out in the next few weeks if they can get by with the inconsistent Carerra playing major minutes.
The Turning Point: Nick Castellanos's solo home run. It's been a hot week for Castellanos, and it continued in a big way with the home run that hurt Hernandez and the Mariners the most. ."I was actually coming up the stairs from the bathroom as it hit, to be honest," Ausmus joked after. "He's given us good at bats. For a rookie season, he's been good. He rarely is dominated in the batter's box, and he's always confident regardless of who he's facing." After Seattle tied the game, Detroit taking the lead back immediately thanks to a blast by a rookie made a big statement, especially with Price on the mound.
Play Of The Game: David Price survives a bases loaded jam in the eighth. With the game hanging in the balance and things teetering on the edge of collapse again, Price shut the door powerfully with an excellent if not dominating response to Seattle loading the bases after talking to his manager. Price blew away Austin Jackson, and got Dustin Ackley to ground into a force out at second base. "It was a very brief conversation" Ausmus said of talking with Price. "I just said, 'I need you to be honest with me, how are you feeling?' He said 'I'm good.' I said 'go get him.' That's all it was." Price got them, and the crowd roared its approval, making it much easier for Detroit to win.
Stat Of The Game: 16, the amount of starts Felix Hernandez had gone where he had pitched at least seven innings while allowing two or fewer runs. It was an amazing feat that the streak continued that long, and even more amazing that the Tigers snapped it. "It's just a matter of battling, and hoping he leaves a pitch out over the plate that you can hit," Ausmus said about Detroit's approach, admitting it's never an easy task. "We did a good job. We were able to make contact and get some hits. I thought the hitters did an excellent job against one of the best in the game." Consider a proud streak snapped.
Quote To Note: "It was good to get him back on the mound in light of what's gone on and get him out of it relatively unscathed." —Brad Ausmus. The manager said that Nathan, who had his issues with the fans this week, was going to have to pitch eventually, meaning he was going to go with the closer in the ninth no matter what. Nathan did a fairly good job, giving up one run but shutting the door. Ausmus said Nathan threw some good pitches during the appearance.
What's Next: The Tigers finish out their series with the Mariners tomorrow afternoon by sending Robbie Ray (1-2) to the hill. He'll be opposed by Chris Young (10-6). The game starts at 1:08 p.m.
Max DeMara is the editor of @tigers_101. Follow the site there on Twitter, or like it on Facebook to connect with him.
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