Monday Night Football, the stars were certainly out with Eminem serving as the honorary captain. Barry Sanders, Twitch streamer, Ninja and former ESPN analyst, Jemele Hill were also, among those in attendance. Detroit did not disappoint, early on, Quandre Diggs picking off Sam Darnold to run 37 yards to put the Lions up, 7-0.
The Jets would respond with a touchdown of their own, from Isaiah Crowell, tying the game at 7-7 to end the 1st quarter. Jets would add a field goal and another TD, Darnold connecting with Robby Anderson to put the Jets up, 17-7. Matt Prater would be the Lions lone offense, kicking a 21-yard field goal to conclude the half. Building off Prater, the Lions opted to have the ball in the 2nd half, winning the coin toss. The momentum would continue in Detroit’s favor when, quarterback, Matthew Stafford found Golden Tate for the 24-yard TD to tie the game, 17-17.
In the 15th edition of My Tigers Weekly we say hello again to old friends. After a tough road trip, the Tigers came home to some new friends and familiar faces. Sandy Baez, Spencer Turnbull, Christin Stewart, Matt Hall, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Pete Kozma were added to the roster, the 1968 Tigers celebrated the 50th anniversary of their World Championship season, and Justin Verlander made his first start at Comerica Park in a visiting teams uniform.
The Tigers started their road trip with a sweep at the hands of the Kansas City Royals. In the first game of the 2 game series, it was one bad inning that doomed Matthew Boyd. A 5 run third turned out to be the difference as the Royals won 6-2. Michael Fullmer did not fare much better as he tries to shake off the rust from his stint on the disabled list. Mikie Mahtook had 2 of the Tigers 3 hits, with a home run and 2 RBI’s, but that wasn’t enough as Adalberto Mondesi hit a home run for the second straight day to kick start the Royals offense. They put up all 9 of their runs in the 2nd-5th innings on their way to a 9-2 win over the Tigers. The Royals lead the series 9-6, with 4 more games at Kauffman Stadium left in September.
The Tigers continued onto New York for a 4 game series against the Yankees. The series started off as an offensive slugfest. Both Francisco Liriano and JA Happ gave up 5 runs in 4 1/3rd innings. Victor Alcantara gave up a 2 run home run to Luke Voit, but his teammates picked him up in the 9th inning. Victor Martinez tied things up with his 2nd home run of the game and Niko Goodrum followed with a solo shot, the 4th Tigers blast of the game, to put the Tigers ahead 8-7. Shane Greene put the Yankees down in order to secure the win in the opener. Sadly, Detroit was on the receiving end of the fireworks on Friday. Niko Goodrum hit his 2nd home run of the series and Jim Adduci hit a 2 RBI triple the following inning off Luis Severino. However, in the 6th, the Yankees hit 3 home runs after an error off of Jordan Zimmerman. The Tigers were able to manufacture runs in the 7th and 8th innings, but couldn’t hold the lead. A disputed check swing call kept Gleyber Torres’ at bat alive and his single against Joe Jimenez proved to be the difference as the Yankees retook the lead. They added an insurance run and tied the series by a score of 7-5. Daniel Norris made his first appearance since April on Sunday. Gleyber Torres again was the hero as his 2 run home run off of Norris was all the help Masahiro Tanaka needed as the Yankees won 2-1. On Labor Day, the Tigers were treated to Victor Reyes’ first career home run. He added a pair of doubles and 3 RBI’s on the day as the Tigers broke out for 17 hits and 11 runs. Matthew Boyd had a quality start with 3 earned runs in 6 innings as he improved to 9-12 on the season.
The Tigers finished their road trip in Chicago. Victor Martinez is making the most of his final season, as he hit a go ahead home run in the 9th inning to put the Tigers ahead 2-1. But the White Sox were able to get to Shane Greene with a game tying home run by Matt Davidson and a walk off home run by Daniel Palka. The Tigers dropped the opening game by a final score of 4-2. Undeterred, Detroit came right back the next day on a mission. Grayson Greiner and Dawel Lugo each hit 2 run doubles in the 2nd inning as the Tigers chased White Sox starter Lucas Giolito after recording just 4 outs. Greiner would add another RBI hit, Mikie Mahtook put the game away with a 2 run home run, and Francisco Liriano improved to 4-9 on the season as the Tigers won easily by a final score of 8-3. Detroit also got a little revenge in the rubber match. After providing Chicago prospect Michael Kopech with his first career win, they also gave him his first career loss. Jeimer Candelario, Mikie Mahtook, Ronny Rodriguez, and JaCoby Jones all hit home runs off the young starter as the Tigers scored 7 runs over the first 4 innings, finishing with 16 hits and 10 runs total. Jordan Zimmerman improved to 7-6 on the season with 5 innings of 2 hit ball. The Tigers won the game 10-2 and finished the season series ahead 12-7.
That set the stage for an exciting weekend of nostalgia at Comerica Park. With the interleague series against the Cardinals, and the 50th anniversary of the 1968 World Series win against St. Louis, the Tigers front office took the opportunity to celebrate their championship past. The Tigers players took the opportunity to reward their loyal fans with some exciting late inning heroics at home. At first it looked like St. Louis might strike first, with 2 Marcell Ozuna’s pair of home runs in his first two at bats off of Daniel Norris. However, Nick Castellanos’ 2 RBI single tied the game and let Norris off the hook with a no decision for his 5 innings of work. Jeimer Candelario then provided the heroics with a walk off 2 run shot in the 9th for his 18th home run of the year.
Saturday’s game proved to be more exciting. The story early was Matthew Boyd striking out 11 before a solo home run by Paul DeJong to lead off the 8th ended his evening. Marcell Ozuna hit his 3rd home run of the series off of Shane Greene to tie the game in the 9th and the Tigers wouldn’t manage another hit the rest of the way … but they wouldn’t need any against Bud Norris. An error to lead off the inning put Victor Reyes started the inning. Jeimer Candelario drew a walk, Jim Adduci sacrificed to move both runners over, and Nick Castellanos was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out. A wild pitch to Victor Martinez was all Victor Reyes needed to score and extend the winning streak to 4 games.
Unfortunately, that’s where the streak ended. On Sunday both teams were held scoreless until a wild 7th inning where both teams combined for the only 7 runs they’d score that day. Michael Fullmer gave up 5 of those 7 runs, 3 earned, and took the loss to fall to 3-11.
Then the defending World Series winners came into town. It was an emotional night as Justin Verlander took the field in an Astros jersey. He certainly seemed moved as well both by the crowd reaction and pictures of himself and Mike Ilitch on the scoreboard.
While Justin was touched, he wasn’t distracted, as he struck out 10 in 7 innings. His former teammate and current Tiger Francisco Liriano gave up 3 unearned runs in the 3rd, and that was just enough for the Astros to hold on to win 3-2.
It wouldn’t get much better on Tuesday. Jose Altuve hit the game’s first pitch out of the park, and Tony Kemp and Tyler White each added 2 run shots off of Jordan Zimmerman as he gave up 5 runs in his 5 innings of work. JaCoby Jones’ 3 run home run put the Tigers within a run, but they could not bridge the gap and fell 5-4.
The final game of the series saw Daniel Norris face off against Gerrit Cole. James McCann’s hit a home run to put the Tigers ahead, but a 4 run 4th inning chased Norris and put the Astros ahead 5-2. Potential MVP candidate Alex Bregman picked up his 50th double and 100th RBI of the season. Even more disastrous was an outfield collision that saw Niko Goodrum leave the game. He was injured but was able to walk off the field under his own power. Nick Castellanos made it a close game a few innings later with a 2 run home run, his 21st of the year, but the Tigrs once again could get no closer as the losing streak was extended to 4 with the second consecutive 5-4 defeat.
The 4 game home losing streak put the Tigers under .500 at Comerica Park for the first time this season. They’ll head on the road to Cleveland for a 3 game series against the division leading Indians before heading home for the final homestand of the season. It will be a pair of 3 game series against AL Central foes as the Tigers look to finish the season strong and find out which youngsters will be a part of the next Tigers playoff team. Detroit may not be perfecting the role of spoiler, but each exciting win and loss is a testament to their fighting spirit and competitive ethos.
Be sure to check out My Detroit Sports ‘Fans of the Week’! These fans represented their Detroit pride at Comerica Park this week. All fans chosen will be entered to win an autographed photo from James McCann!