Clete Thomas played the hero on Sunday leading the Tigers (30-25) to a series win over the visiting Angels (28-27). With 2 outs and the bases loaded in a 5-5 game in the bottom of the 8th inning, Thomas launched an opposite field grand slam off of reliever Jason Bulger to give the Tigers the lead and the eventual win, 9-6.
The Angels relief struggled with control in the 8th after taking a 5-4 lead by scoring on Joel Zumaya in the top half of the 8th. Bulger relieved Jose Arredondo who couldn’t find the plate. After Magglio Ordonez drew a walk to load the bases, Thomas (who pinch ran earlier in the game for Miguel Cabrera) stepped into the hero’s role with the slam.
For the first time in his young career, starter Rick Porcello failed to get the decision in the game. He left after 5 innings, allowing 4 runs in the process, including a leadoff home run to Chone Figgins, his 1st of the year, as part of a 3-run 1st inning. Angels starter Joe Saunders struggled as well, coughing up 4 over 6 innings of work. Brandon Inge and Adam Everett each knocked in 2 runs off of the lefty.
Joel Zumaya, despite handing the Angels the lead in the 8th by walking in the go-ahead run, got the win and improves to 2-0 on the season.
Marcus Thames returned to the Tiger lineup after about a 6-week layoff and went 2-5 with a run scored hitting in the 5 spot. Thames brings some much needed power to the Tigers lineup. The inability of Magglio Ordonez to produce any home runs has really taken its tole on the run production in the middle of the order. I am beginning to wonder if something is physically wrong with Mags. Everything he hits goes to right field and is hardly ever more than a medium strength line drive. The dropoff in his production definitely raises some red flags. Let’s hope this thing gets figured out soon for Mags.
Tiger Bites: Cabrera (hamstring) was pulled for a pinch runner in the 4th inning after drawing a walk, the early word is that it is merely a precautionary measure, however, given how close the score was and how early it was in the game, this definitely raises some doubts as to how strong he is feeling