It was an odd game for the Tigers on Wednesday afternoon, in many respects. It took nearly an hour and 100 pitches to complete just two innings of baseball, and yet not a single run was scored.
The Rangers didn't get on the board until the sixth inning, when put up a pair of runs on Tigers's starter Max Scherzer, when went six innings, allowing those two runs on seven hits while striking out seven.
However, the Tigers got those two runs right back in the bottom frame, getting back-to-back doubles from Victor Martinez and Brennan Boesch, with Boesch's double scoring Martinez, and then Boesch scoring on a sacrifice fly from Brandon Inge.
Brayan Villarreal stepped up in the next two innings, tossing two shutout innings, including working himself out of a jam when he let the go-ahead run get into scoring position with just one out, getting a strikeout and a popout to end the inning.
Jose Valverde came on in the ninth and in similar fashion, worked himself out of a jam, retiring the inning with the go-ahead run on third.
However, for the second straight day, Ron Washington elected not to use his closer, instead opting for the veteran Darren Oliver for a second inning of work in the ninth. It would be Oliver that Inge victimized, ending the game on a walk-off blast into the seats in left field.
Inge is the unquestionable star of the game on this day, belting the winning home run, and also hitting a key sacrifice fly that kept the game tied at two by the end of the sixth inning after the Rangers had jumped ahead. Inge has been frequently criticized for struggling in situations like that, but came through this time, and that was even before he belted his fifth career walk-off homer.
Key AB's Of The Game
Key AB's Of The Game
Top 8, Brayan Villarreal (RHP) vs. David Murphy (LHB)
With a man on first and one out, Villarreal chose to attack Murphy, coming at him with mid 90's four seamers that froze him and quickly got Villarreal ahead in the count 0-2. The next pitch was a four seamer out of the zone, but with the count at 1-2, Brayan let one get away from him and tossed a wild pitch, allowing the runner to move into scoring position and the count to even at 2. However, Villarreal went right back to what had worked, his four seamer, and blew Murphy away with a 95-mph fastball.
Bottom 9, Darren Oliver (LHP) vs. Brandon Inge (RHB) The Standings
For the second straight day, Rangers manager Ron Washington elected to not use closer Neftali Feliz in a tight game situation. Instead, with one out, Inge strolled to the plate to face the lefty Oliver. On the very first pitch, Oliver, who obviously no longer fires heat at his age, looped a slider over the heart of the plate, Inge sat back, let the pitch come to him, and turned on it for a no-doubter 400-plus foot home run.
5-7, 4th in the AL Central