|Detroit (26-19) «||2||0||0||0||1||0||3||1||x||7||15||1|
DETROIT -- Jim Leyland is usually pretty confident about his managerial moves.
Thursday, though, he wasn't entirely sure if he had done something smart or stupid.
That put the go-ahead run in scoring position, but meant taking the bat out of the hands of Miguel Cabrera, baseball's hottest hitter.
"That was a tough call," Leyland acknowledged after the game. "That's definitely a move that the fans are going to discuss, and I don't have any problem with that. I wasn't sure, either."
Sure enough, Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire immediately signaled for the intentional walk. The reason Leyland took the chance? Prince Fielder was coming up next, and facing right-hander Jared Burton.
"If they had a tough lefty to pitch to Prince -- maybe Glen Perkins if it had been the ninth inning -- I might not have bunted," Leyland said. "Prince has 40 RBIs hitting behind Miguel Cabrera, so I was willing to roll the dice with him."
The plan worked, but only barely. Fielder hit what looked like a possible double-play grounder, but it deflected off Burton's glove and past second baseman Brian Dozier. Infante scored easily, and the Tigers held on to win 7-6.
"You hate walking anyone to pitch to Prince Fielder, I can tell you that right now," Gardenhire said. "But you've got to take your choice, and the way Cabrera is swinging the bat, you've got to do it. We got the groundball. It just didn't work out."
Before the intentional walk, Cabrera had driven in three runs, including his sixth homer in four games. He's matched a career high by homering in four straight games. He has also walked five times in the four games, and Fielder has followed all five with hits, driving in seven more runs. In the four games, the pair have combined to drive in 20 runs.
"It's absolutely incredible what they are doing," Tigers starter Rick Porcello said. "If I were pitching against them, I'd just walk both of them every time they came up."
The Tigers trailed 6-3 going into the bottom of the seventh, but scored three times off three Minnesota pitchers. Infante singled and Cabrera walked with one out, bringing Brian Duensing into the game. He allowed RBI singles to Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez before giving way to Burton.
"We gave the game over to our bullpen, and they usually do the job," Gardenhire said. "Just didn't happen today."
The Tigers had taken a 2-0 lead in the first when Cabrera lifted a 2-2 pitch into the bullpens beyond the left-field fence. It was the first of his six homers in four games that he had pulled - the others had all been to center field or right-center.
Minnesota started the third with three straight singles, tying the game, and Josh Willingham made it 5-2 by pulling Porcello's pitch deep into the left-field stands.
Scott Diamond retired 10 straight batters after Tuiasosopo's second-inning single, but Detroit loaded the bases with two out in the fifth on two singles and a walk. Cabrera bounced an infield single up the middle, making it 5-3, but Diamond got Fielder to pop out and end the inning.
Detroit threatened again in the sixth, putting runners on second and third with two out, but Fien came on to strike out pinch-hitter Andy Dirks. Willingham then moved the lead to three runs with a solo homer off Darin Downs in the seventh.
"That's a tough loss," Willingham said. "I felt good at the plate, and I was able to get the pitchers to elevate the ball. That's the key to doing what I do."
|Players of the Game|
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|Jamey Carroll, 3B||5||1||3||0||0||0||0||.303|
|Joe Mauer, C||5||1||2||1||0||0||2||.339|
|Josh Willingham, LF||5||2||2||4||0||1||1||.212|
|Justin Morneau, DH||4||1||1||0||0||1||1||.312|
|Ryan Doumit, RF||4||0||0||0||0||0||3||.220|
|Chris Parmelee, 1B||3||0||2||0||1||0||1||.210|
|Brian Dozier, 2B||4||0||0||1||0||2||4||.200|
|Aaron Hicks, CF||4||0||1||0||0||2||1||.159|
|Pedro Florimon, SS||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||.250|
|Eduardo Escobar, SS||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.258|
|2B - Jamey Carroll (3, Downs), Justin Morneau (12, Porcello)|
|HR - Josh Willingham 2 (8, Porcello, Downs)|
|RBI - Joe Mauer (14), Josh Willingham 4 (23), Brian Dozier (12)|
|SB - Brian Dozier (4, 2nd base off Porcello/B. Pena)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|DP - Carroll-Dozier-Parmelee|
|Casey Fien (H,4)||0.2||1||2||2||1||2||0||4.95|
|Jared Burton (BS,2; L,0-2)||1.2||3||1||1||1||0||0||2.49|
|IBB - Cabrera by Jared Burton|
|HBP - Tuiasosopo (by Jared Burton)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Scott Diamond 105-68, Casey Fien 19-11, Brian Duensing 8-4, Jared Burton 30-18|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Diamond 4-7, Jared Burton 1-4|
|Batters Faced - Scott Diamond 26, Casey Fien 4, Brian Duensing 2, Jared Burton 10|
|Omar Infante, 2B||5||2||3||0||0||0||0||.323|
|Torii Hunter, RF||3||1||1||0||1||1||1||.313|
|Miguel Cabrera, 3B||3||2||2||3||2||1||0||.391|
|Prince Fielder, 1B||5||1||2||2||0||0||3||.280|
|Victor Martinez, DH||4||0||2||1||0||1||0||.224|
|Don Kelly, PR-DH||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||.194|
|Jhonny Peralta, SS||5||0||2||1||0||2||3||.323|
|Matt Tuiasosopo, LF||3||0||1||0||0||0||1||.340|
|Brayan Pena, C||4||0||1||0||0||1||4||.300|
|Avisail Garcia, CF||2||1||1||0||0||0||0||.250|
|a- Andy Dirks, PH-CF||2||0||0||0||0||1||5||.254|
|a-struck out for Garcia in the 6th|
|2B - Jhonny Peralta (12, Burton), Brayan Pena (3, Diamond)|
|HR - Miguel Cabrera (14, Diamond)|
|SH - Torii Hunter (1)|
|RBI - Miguel Cabrera 3 (55), Prince Fielder 2 (41), Victor Martinez (22), Jhonny Peralta (20)|
|2-OUT RBI - Miguel Cabrera (24)|
|Team LOB - 11|
|DP - Cabrera-Infante-Fielder, Peralta-Infante-Fielder|
|E - Jhonny Peralta (3, Throwing)|
|Joaquin Benoit (W,1-0)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||1.29|
|Jose Valverde (S,5)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||0.82|
|HBP - Morneau (by Darin Downs)|
|WP - Rick Porcello (2)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Rick Porcello 102-66, Darin Downs 30-18, Jose Ortega 5-3, Joaquin Benoit 15-9, Jose Valverde 16-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rick Porcello 8-4, Darin Downs 2-3, Joaquin Benoit 2-0, Jose Valverde 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Rick Porcello 25, Darin Downs 8, Jose Ortega 1, Joaquin Benoit 3, Jose Valverde 3|
|Attendance - 32804|
|Game Time - 3:30|
|Temperature - 43|
|Umpires - Home - Joe West, First Base - Sam Holbrook, Second Base - Andy Fletcher, Third Base - Clint Fagan|