I forgot my phone so no pictures today. My daughter successfully played the road-team-cap trick to get two balls. Joe Nathan handed her the ball he used to warm up before the game. Then, later Mijares went to far as to point her out and lob it to a nearby adult with an instruction to had the ball to her. We are shameless. My daughter did give the more scuffed up ball to another child. I thought this was an act of kindness. She pointed out, however, that a scuffed up ball is no good for autographs anyway.
Next we saw the guy who hands out the passes for the Stubhub Ultimate seats. Sadly we think he recognized us. Despite his getting turned down by two other pairs of fans and despite (or maybe because) we kept finding reasons to loiter near him we did not get the seat upgrade.
In the game itself Penny somehow allowed only three runs despite a line that had 3 walks, 2 home runs and only three strike outs in 6+ innings. In fact until Penny gave up a two-run home run with no outs in the seventh he had allowed only one run through 6 innings. It seems Penny has had a lot of low strike out performances where he allows 4 or less run this year.
Penny’s home run allowed made it 3-2.
In the bottom of the 7th the Tigers turned a walk, hit by pitch and Cabrera single into the tying run. Unfortunately Leyland gave up an out by having Dirks bunt and Boesch ran through a stop sign at third and was out easily at the plate on Cabrera’s single. These two free outs may have proved critical.
In the 8th the Twins singled in Mauer with two outs. The Tigers had Duane Below pitch to Thome with an open base. I thought this was the right call in a tie game. Thome hit the single that scored Mauer. In the bottom of the 8th the Tigers loaded the bases with no outs and only scored one run on a pinch-hit, sacrifice fly by Betemit.
In the ninth the Twins first three batters reached on a seeing-eye single to right, an error fielding a sacrifice bunt and a bunt single. Then Valverde, who pitched the entire ninth, struck out two batters. Another ground ball single scored two runs. Nearby fans who I thought were otherwise knowledgeable throughout the game started asking why Valverde was used in a non-save situation. They thought Pauley was a better choice. I said nothing and just visualized myself swatting them with my scorecard while shouting about best pitchers, ground balls and well-placed bunts.
The Tigers scored one in the ninth and lost 6-5. Raburn and Avila batted with the tying run on base. Since both had power it made for an exciting finish. Leyland used his pitchers and bench well, I thought. I anticipated both his pinch hit moves and which pitchers he would use. I did not like the sacrifice bunt when down one in the 7th, but the Tigers did plate the tying run that inning. This was a fun game to watch with the obvious exception of the outcome.
The Tigers need to win the Cleveland series coming up at home to hold off the Indians and White Sox who are 2 games back and 3.5 games back at this time.