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Cabrera And Fielder Power Tigers Past Rays 6-3

The Tampa Bay Rays [1] were done in by the long ball on Friday night falling to the Detroit Tigers [2] 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 [3] (12-0, 3.10 ERA) who with the win became the first pitcher to start a season 12-0 since Roger Clemens [4] 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 [5] who strung together 29 straight games in the 2000 season.

[6] [6]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 [7] and Prince Fielder [8]. 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 [9] 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 [10] 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 [11] 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 [13] (#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 [14].

After Jamey Wright [15] worked a scoreless 7th Joe Maddon [16] turned to Kyle Farnsworth [17] in the 8th inning. Farnsworth retired Torii Hunter [18] 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 [19], Alex Torres [20], and Joel Peralta [21] all available to match up with Prince Fielder Maddon went with lefty Cesar Ramos [22].

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 [24] (0.2 innings) and Drew Smyly [25] (0.1 innings) combined to keep the Rays off the board in the 8th and Joaquin Benoit [26] worked the 9th inning for his 5th save on the year.