Gm 13 Analysis: Coke Leads Charge in Win

Behind an outstanding effort on the mound from starting pitcher Phil Coke, the Tigers shut out the Oakland A's late Thursday night, 3-0, as they picked up their third straight win and moved to within a game of .500.

The Skinny

Heading into the game, there appeared to be the possibility of a game without a lot of offense, given a pair of strong pitchers on the mound, as well as both offenses in the bottom half of the league in runs scored.

And for the first six innings, it was exactly that.

Both starting pitchers shined, with Coke allowing just three hits and Gio Gonzalez allowing just two. Through six, the game remained tied at 0.

But after missing multiple opportunities earlier in the game, the Tigers finally seized the opportunity to get on the board when Ryan Raburn ripped a double to the right center field wall, scoring Ramon Santiago from second to give the Tigers the lead.

Coke made it through seven before handing things over to Joaquin Benoit who pitched a perfect eighth, and then Jose Valverde, who tossed a 1-2-3 ninth for his third save of the young season.

The Tigers got a pair of insurance runs in the top half of the eighth by taking three straight walks, getting a sacrifice fly to bring one run home, and scoring the second via an errant throw on the sac fly.

The Star

It's impossible on this night for it to be anyone but Phil Coke, who was excellent for the Tigers. He allowed three hits and walked two while only giving the A's two at-bats with runners in scoring position. Pitching like that makes it very easy to put up goose eggs, and Coke's seven inning performance resulted in just that; one big goose egg.

Key AB's Of The Game

Top 7, Tyson Ross (RHP) vs. Ryan Raburn (RHB)
After coming on to replace Gio Gonzalez, Ross promptly gave up a leadoff single to Ramon Santiago. Austin Jackson sacrificed him over to second, but Casper Wells then flied out, setting up a two-out, runner in scoring position at-bat with the game still tied at 0. Ross started Raburn out with two straight 93-MPH cutters, missing with the first one but getting a swing-and-miss with the second to even the count at 1. Ross then came back with a 93-MPH fastball, only this one went straight down the heart of the plate, belt high. Not the sort of pitch that you should be throwing in that situation, Raburn of course turned it around and hit it off the right center field wall, allowing Santiago to score easily for what turned out to be the game winning double.

Bottom 9, Jose Valverde (RHP) vs. Conor Jackson (RHB)
Being honest, the A's lineup doesn't have a whole lot of firepower in it, but Jackson and Willingham make up the closest thing to that, anchoring the heart of the order, and Valverde had to go right through them to complete the save. In this at-bat however, Jackson was no match for Valverde, who pumped four-seam fastballs into the zone. He led off the at-bat with a called first strike, and then got him to a foul the second pitch off to fall behind 0-2. After throwing pitch three for a ball, he pulled back for a little extra, tossing a 94-MPH four seamer which Jackson swung and missed at. It was that kind of night for Valverde and the Tigers, and Jackson and the A's.

The Standings

6-7, 4th in the AL Central

Up Next

Detroit Tigers @ Oakland Athletics, Friday 4/15, 10:05PM
Rick Porcello (0-2, 9.00) vs. Brandon McCarthy (1-0, 3.52)

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