Tigers Squeak by Tribe (4/28 Recaps)

Thursday night was exactly the reason the Tigers made a commitment this offseason to upgrading their bullpen. After starter Mike Maroth came out, the team held a slim one run lead and needed the bullpen to be perfect the rest of the way out to preserve the victory and get the club back to .500. Despite their previous struggles, they did just that.

Detroit Tigers - 10-10, 3rd in AL Central
The Tigers needed to show that they could pull out a close game. And despite not being on TV once again and not being able to display their efforts to the Detroit area, the Tigers did just what they had yet to truly accomplish - hold a slim lead throughout the game as they rolled on to victory against Cleveland 3-2. A three run first inning was all the offense the Tigers could muster. And unlike Wednesday night where the Tigers were driving the ball all over the field, this time around the runs came via an infield single, RBI groundout, and a sacrifice fly. In any case, the three runs were enough for Mike Maroth, who pitched six strong innings, giving up two runs (on two solo home runs in the 5th inning) with eight strikeouts. From that point on, it was the bullpen's job to hold the lead. And for the first time this year, they did. Kyle Farnsworth went through the 7th, Ugueth Urbina the 8th, and Troy Percival took over in the 9th and earned his 2nd save. Among the offensive notables, Brandon Inge extended his hitting streak to 13 games, while Rondell White and Ivan Rodriguez had two hits apiece. The Tigers, now back at .500, now travel to Chicago to face the White Sox. Nate Robertson will take on Jose Contreras at 8:05pm.
- Paul Wezner, Senior Editor

AAA Toledo Mud Hens - 12-8, 1st in West division
The Mud Hens' bats finally cooled off on Thursday. After scoring 24 runs in just two games Toledo could only muster two against the Louisville pitching staff and lost 8-2. Nelson Cruz suffered his first loss of the season, tossing five innings and allowing three runs on seven hits. The Bats started out strong for Louisville, putting up three runs on the board in the first inning, which was enough to hold off the Hens for the rest of the game. Ramon Martinez's rehab assignment continues to go well as he went 3-4 in the game. No other Hen managed more than a one-hit night against the Louisville hurlers. Byron Gettis accounted for the Hens' only runs with a two-run blast in the fourth inning. The final game of the four-game series will be Friday at 7:15 p.m. in Louisville.
- Doug DeSloover, Toledo Correspondent

AA Erie SeaWolves - 11-9, 3rd in Southern division
The SeaWolves were off on Thursday but return to action on Friday when they travel to Binghamton. Game time is 7:05pm.
- Paige Edelman, Erie Correspondent

High-A Lakeland Tigers - 14-6, 1st in West division
The L-Tigers beat the Reds 9-3. Justin Verlander had an outstanding performance on the mound for Lakeland, pitching seven shutout innings, allowing only two hits, and striking out twelve. Verlander (3-1), was Detroit's first round draft pick last year. He has won his last three starts since an opening day loss to Tampa, and came into the game with a 1.69 ERA in 16 innings pitched. Brent Clevlen went two for five with two doubles and four RBI. Kody Kirkland batted three for four and hit his fourth home run of the year. Lakeland sat Verlander at the end of seven and brought in Rodriguez. Rodriguez, a new addition to Lakeland's roster, had a rough outing in his first performance for the Tigers. In his only in only inning of work, Rodriguez gave up two walks and then a three-run homer to Reds' DH Joey Votto. Chris Homer replaced Rodriguez for the ninth and closed out the game. The Tigers and Reds play the final game of their series tomorrow in Lakeland at 7pm.
- Aaron Westgate, Lakeland Correspondent

A West Mich. Whitecaps - 10-10, tied 3rd in East division
The 'Caps fell hard to Southwest Michigan Thursday, losing 7-0 in the opening game of a four-game series. Devil Rays starter James Houser Jr. struck out 10 Whitecaps and held West Michigan scoreless in his eight innings on the mound. The 'Caps managed four hits that included a double from shortstop Nick McIntyre. It was a tough night on the mound for the trio of starter Andrew Kown and relievers Ian Ostlund and Jay Sborz. Ostlund gave the best performance of the three, allowing no hits and striking out two Rays in his two-inning stint. Kown went five innings and took the loss for his effort. Between them, Kown and Sborz gave up 10 hits and seven earned runs. The 'Caps will look to do better Friday in game two. Play gets underway at 6:35 p.m.
- Deb Ziegler, West Michigan Correspondent

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