During the game the story was Doug Fister, pitching strong again and striking out an AL record 9 straight hitters while working with a 4-0 lead thanks to, once again, two RBI singles in the first and then a Quintin Berry two RBI triple in the 2nd.
However, Fister fell apart in the 8th, giving up 3 runs in 2/3 of an inning and then Joaquin Benoit gave up another home run, a solo shot, in the 9th to allow the Royals to tie the game at 4.
Prince Fielder led off with a typical infield double (thanks to friendly scoring by the home team) then Delmon Young was intentionally walked (stop laughing, he really was) then Ramon Santiago, pinch hitting for Andy Dirks, bunted to get the runners over but Fielder was thrown out at 3rd.
Another Mike Moustakas error on what should have been an inning ending double play on Jhonny Peralta led to a bases loaded one out scenario when Alex Avila laced a ball down the first base line, a diving stop by Brayan Pena only allowed him to get Avila and for the 2nd straight game, Don Kelly scored the winning run on a ground out.
This was an ugly game with 5 errors by the Royals and a blown save by the Tigers but it’s a win, putting them 1.5 games in front of the White Sox while they have to face “Big Game” James Shields and the Tampa Bay Rays tonight in Chicago.
The Tigers fly out to Minnesota next for a 3 game series over the weekend then head to Kansas City Monday, ending the season on Wednesday with another one against the Royals.
Max Scherzer’s next start is being skipped as his shoulder is still giving him problems and he was lined up to pitch on the last day of the year and maybe still can, but for now, on Friday, Drew Smyly will be making the start for him.
Justin Verlander is lined up to pitch a possible game 163 or the first game of the playoffs if needed. Pitchers like Doug Fister, Max Scherzer (from mid June until he got hurt) and the last few outings from Anibal Sanchez are great because it allows your ace normal rest and doesn’t put any extra strain on them by pitching them more frequently.
Magic number is 6 for back to back playoff births…almost there.