Cabrera And Fielder Power Tigers Past Rays 6-3

The Tampa Bay Rays were done in by the long ball on Friday night falling to the Detroit Tigers by a final score of 6-3. In the loss the Rays were held to 4 runs or less for the 16th consecutive game by the Tigers pitching staff and the Rays record drops to 41-39. The Tigers defeated the Rays  for the 15th time in their last 19 head to head matchups and improved their record to 43-35 on the year.

A string of impressive streaks continues for Detroit Tigers starter Max Scherzer (12-0, 3.10 ERA) who with the win became the first pitcher to start a season 12-0 since Roger Clemens in 1986. He held the Rays to 3R/ER on 4 hits striking out 9 and walking 1.  With his 9 strike outs he extends his streak of games started with at least 6 strikeouts to begin a season to 16 which is the second in major league history trailing only Pedro Martinez who strung together 29 straight games in the 2000 season.

When pitching against the Detroit Tigers a pitcher has to be very careful not to leave balls in the center of the plate,. especially to Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. The duo did the Rays by combining to go 6 for 7 with 1 walk, 2 home runs, 5 RBI, and 5 runs scored.  Miguel Cabrera went 4 for 4 with 2 home runs and a double and Prince Fielder was 3 for 4 with a mammoth home run off the 3rd ring in right field.

Alex Colome (1-1, 2.25 ERA) worked 6 innings allowing 4R/ER on 6 hits striking out 2 and walking 2. He threw 84 pitches and 54 for strikes. He put the Rays into a  2-0 hole in the 1st inning. He walked Austin Jackson to lead off the game and left a 87-mph cutter over the   middle part of the strike zone to the one hitter that you can’t make a mistake to and Miguel Cabrera made him pay by launching  a 2-run homer. After the Cabrera homer he settled in and retired 6 of the next 7 hitters he faced.

The only hitter that reached base was Bryan Pena who was hit by a pitch and he was erased on a double play. Miguel Cabrera’s early home run was not the most deflating moment for the Rays in the early innings as Evan Longoria had to depart the game after he came up lame running a ground out in the bottom of the 2nd. The early reports are that his plantar fasciitis, a condition he has been dealing with, flared up. He will be re-evaluated Saturday morning.

The lineup rolled back over to the heart of the Tigers order and for the second time in as many plate appearances Colome left a 88-mph cutter in the  middle of the plate to Miguel Cabrera who belted his second homer of the night to put the Tigers up 3-0. Prince Fielder followed with a double, moved to third on a sacrifice fly that Wil Myers fielded but did not appear ready to make a quick throw, and came in to score on a wild pitch to extend the Tigers lead to 4-0.

Location on two cutters that Miguel Cabrera launched for Home Runs. Screen Grab: MLB.com

The Rays started to chip away at the Tigers and cut the lead to 4-3 with single runs in the 4th, 5th, and 7th innings. They scored their runs in the 4th and 5th innings on solo home runs by Ben Zobrist (#5) and Wil Myers (#3) respectively. In the 7th inning Wil Myers singled and came around to score on a 2-out RBI double by Luke Scott.

After Jamey Wright worked a scoreless 7th Joe Maddon turned to Kyle Farnsworth in the 8th inning. Farnsworth retired Torii Hunter to begin the inning but surrendered a double to Miguel Cabrera, his fourth hit of the night, and brought Prince Fielder to the plate. With the Rays trying to keep the game at only a 1-run defecit and Jake McGee, Alex Torres, and Joel Peralta all available to match up with Prince Fielder Maddon went with lefty Cesar Ramos.

Ramos did not fool Fielder as he left a slider over the heart of the plate and Fielder crushed it off the 3rd ring in right field to give the Tigers a 6-3 lead. As with Colome’s two pitches to Miguel Cabrera Ramos missed his location badly and put the ball where it just can’t be to placed to a hitter the caliber of Prince Fielder.

Missed Location To Prince Fielder Leads To Mammoth HR: Screen Grab: MLB.com

The Tigers bullpen came in to shut the Rays down over the final two innings. Al Alburquerque (0.2 innings) and Drew Smyly (0.1 innings) combined to keep the Rays off the board in the 8th and Joaquin Benoit worked the 9th inning for his 5th save on the year.

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