Well so far the second half of the season looks about the same as the first for the Tigers. Detroit keeps finding ways to beat Kansas City. Early in the game it appeared this would be problematic. Jeremy Bonderman was hittable giving up two home runs and four runs in the first four innings to the Royals. He went 5.2 innings striking out eight, but also walking five batters and surrendering seven hits. Meanwhile Brandon Duckworth kept the Detroit hitters off balance the first time through the order.
Pudge Rodriguez got things started for Detroit with his eighth home run of the season to put the Tigers on the board. The bottom of the fifth proved to be the decisive inning as Detroit stormed back with five runs to take a 6-4 lead and put Bonderman in line for his ninth victory. Small ball and KC errors gave Detroit the lead. Marcus Thames, Craig Monroe, Chris Shelton and Brandon Inge all singled to account for the second run of the game. Curtis Granderson grounded out for the second out of the inning to scored the third run and cut the lead to one run. Polanco hit the ball to third where it was bobbled for one error and thrown away for a second error by Mark Teahen. Polanco ended up on second with Shelton and Inge coming around to score. The RBI machine Magglio Ordonez singled in Polanco and all of a sudden the Tigers led 6-4.
The bullpen ensured the lead held up. Jason Grilli retired the final out in the sixth. He gave way to the 7-8-9 combination of Rodney, Zumaya and Jones. Rodney allowed two hits and Zumaya one, but neither gave up a run. Rodney picked up his eleventh and Zumaya his twenty-first hold. The Rollercoaster came on for an easy ninth. He struck out one in a 1-2-3 inning on the way to his 24th save. Almost 32,000 fans showed up for the game against the worst team in baseball. Detroit picked up a half-game on Chicago in the Central, as the Sox were idle. Game 2 of the series is a match-up of All-Stars as The Gambler faces former Tiger Mark Redman.
*** OEs 3 Stars of the Game ***
#3 Pudge Rodriguez – 1-3 with a run scored, a BB, a HR and a RBI
#2 Joel Zumaya – Hold (21), 1 IP, 1 H, 0 Rs, 0 BBs, 1 K, 2.03 ERA
#1 Todd Jones – Save (24), 1 IP, 0 Hs, 0 Rs, 0 BBs, 1 K, 5.66 ERA
On Tap – Game 90 (60-29) v. Kansas City Royals (31-57) July 14th, 7:05 ET
Kenny Rogers (11-3, 3.85) v. Mark Redman (6-4, 5.27)