Detroit Tigers - 50-53, 4th in AL Central
The west coast trip is never easy, but no one envisioned the Tigers having this much trouble as they fell back to three games under .500 with their 9-5 loss to Oakland on Saturday. Nate Robertson cruised through the first three innings, retiring the first nine batters in order. But then the fourth inning came around, and a walk and a couple of bloop singles loaded the bases for Jay Payton, and with one swing of the bat he turned a 3-0 deficit into a 4-3 lead for Oakland as he blasted a grand slam. It piled on from there, as Robertson would go onto allow three more runs in his six innings of work. The bullpen wasn't able to hold the red hot A's in check either, as both Chris Spurling and Jamie Walker allowed another run to cross the plate. The Tigers had a hot start with a two run home run from Carlos Guillen to start things off in the first, followed by an RBI single by Dmitri Young in the third. But then Oakland went on a tear, and Detroit couldn't keep up. Magglio Ordonez would add an RBI single later, and Vance Wilson launched a solo home run (after he entered the game in the third inning when Pudge Rodriguez was ejected for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Ted Barrett. Nook Logan and Placido Polanco each had two hits and a run apiece. The Tigers will try and salvage a game of the series on Sunday with Jeremy Bonderman facing Kirk Saarloos at 4:05pm.
- Paul Wezner, Senior Editor
AAA Toledo Mud Hens - 66-41, 1st in West division
Toledo squeaked out a 2-0 victory on Saturday against Durham. Jason Grilli was the man on the mound, pitching eight shutout innings, while giving up just five hits. It was Grilli's 8th win of the year. Jason Karnuth pitched a perfect 9th inning for his 15th save of the year. The offense wasn't firing on all cylinders, but it did enough to get the win. Marcus Thames had a solo home run in the fourth inning, while Alexis Gomez singled home Carlos Pena in the seventh inning. The two teams square off again on Sunday at 2pm.
- Doug DeSloover, Toledo Correspondent
AA Erie SeaWolves - 56-50, 3rd in Southern division
With pitching like Erie threw at the Reading Phillies on Saturday night, it's hard to lose. The SeaWolves rode the stellar pitching of starter (and winning pitcher) Jeremy Johnson to a 3-0 win. Johnson (9-6) was almost unhittable in his six innings of work, giving up just 2 hits and no runs, while striking out three. Erie relievers Mike Bumatay and Edwin Almonte kept up the torrid pitching, giving up no hits and no runs over the last three innings. DH Kurt Airoso supplied a sixth inning home run (his 22nd). LF Mike Woods also was productive, going 2 for 3, including a double. The teams meet next in a Sunday afternoon game starting at 1:05 P.M.
- Paige Edelman, Erie Correspondent
High-A Lakeland Tigers - 21-12, 1st in West division
The L-Tigers lost 4-2 and dropped their second straight to the Dodgers. Kevin McDowell started the game for Lakeland and was charged with the loss. McDowell pitched six innings, allowing four runs on six hits and three walks. McDowell also struck out six. Vero Beach took the lead with two runs in the second and never gave it up. Lakeland scored one in the fourth and another in the eighth, but it wasn't enough against the Dodgers. Brent Clevlen went two for three with a RBI double. Gilberto Mejia finished two for four. Garth McKinney was one for three with a RBI. The L-Tigers lost two of three to the Dodgers in this series. Lakeland and Vero Beach lead their respective divisions and both teams were first the half winners. If they continue to play like they have all season, these two clubs are on track to meet each other in the league championship game.
- Aaron Westgate, Lakeland Correspondent
A West Mich. Whitecaps - 21-15, 1st in East division
Saturday was a perfect night for baseball but not for the Whitecaps. West Michigan ended their winning streak with a loss to Southwest Michigan, 4-3. On the mound, starter Josh Kauten (L, 4-3) gave an uneven performance. Kauten struck out five of the 28 batters he faced while giving up five hits, four runs, and hitting two Devil Rays with pitches. Coming on in the 7th, reliever Ed Clelland gave up just one hit. Clelland was relieved in turn by Anthony Tomey who took down the Rays on strikes 1-2-3 in the top of the 9th. The Whitecaps lineup out-hit Southwest Michigan by three, leaving six runners on base - four in scoring position with two out. Left fielder Jeffrey Frazier and shortstop Brent Dlugach had the big hit combination of the night, a double for Frazier followed by a triple from Dlugach that sent Frazier home to tie the game 2-2. Center fielder Clete Thomas continues to hit well - his leadoff triple in the 1st put him on base briefly before he scored the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly. The 'Caps take on the Devil Rays again Sunday. Game time is 2:00 p.m.
- Deb Ziegler, West Michigan Correspondent
SS-A Oneonta Tigers - 23-13, 1st in Stedler division
The Oneonta offense was back in full gear on Saturday as they defeated Tri-City 11-1. Surprisingly enough, despite the huge margin of victory, both Tri-City and Oneonta managed the same number of hits (11), but the O-Tigers just seemed to time them better. Jeff Hahn improved to 4-0 in his first start, giving up one unearned run in six innings. He did allow eight hits, but was able to keep away from any damage. Tim Robertson pitched the final three innings to earn the save. Everyone was in on the fun at the plate, with William Rhymes going 2-for-3 with three runs, and Michael Holliman, Justin Justice and Mark Haske each driving in two runs apiece. Leo Grullon also had a solo home run. They play another doubleheader with Tri-City on Sunday.
- Paul Wezner, Senior Editor
R GCL Tigers - 13-19, 4th in North division
Finally back in the win column, the GCL Tigers pulled off a 6-2 win over the GCL Phillies on Saturday. Brendan Wise got his first victory of the year, almost making it the distance (8 2/3 innings), giving up two runs on seven hits and six strikeouts. Orlando Perdomo entered the game in the ninth inning to record the final out. Wilkin Rodriguez went 3-for-5 with a run, while Santo de Leon blasted a grand slam in the 8th inning to give the GCL Tigers a comfortable lead. The team is off on Sunday before getting back into action on Monday against the GCL Braves at noon. - Paul Wezner, Senior Editor