Tigers Take a Game of Firsts

By Unknown author

May 23, 2011

A: Detroit Tigers

Attendance: 21.550

W: Charlie Furbush (1-0) 0.00 ERA

L: Jeremy Hellickson (5-3) 3.14 ERA


The Rays continued their long road trip (at least in terms of distance) tonight, starting a three game series with the Detroit Tigers. Both starters, Jeremy Hellickson and Phil Coke, were very good to start the game. The Rays were able to get to Coke in the fourth when Evan Longoria sent B.J. Upton home with a sac fly. Ben Zobrist followed with a bunt single that changed the course of the game. Coke came up lame trying to field the ball and was replaced by Charlie Furbush, making his major league debut. He proceeded to get out of a bases loaded situation and then work three more scoreless innings.

Hellickson was cruising along until Andy Dirks homered, his first in the Major Leagues, in the fifth. Hellickson got into trouble with two out in the sixth. Brennan Boesch doubled bringing up Miguel Cabrera. The Rays elected not to walk the slugger and he promptly banged a single to right. Matt Joyce’s throw was just up the line, which allowed Boesch to sneak behind Kelly Shoppach with the tie-breaking run.

The Tigers added some major insurance in the eighth against J.P. Howell and Juan Cruz. Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta each drove in two runs to up the Tigers lead to 6-1. It was a rare blow-up by the bullpen this year. Normally, Rays’ relievers have kept the opposition at bay allowing the offense the chance to come back.

This proved critical as the Rays rallied for two runs in the ninth and really extended Tiger’s closer Jose Valverde. Valverde retired the first two men when John Jaso walked and Matt Joyce singled. Sam Fuld drove both of them home with a single. B.J. Upton walked, which improbably brought up the tying run for Johnny Damon. Damon lined a ball hard right to Cabrera to end the game.

The Yankees, Rays and Red Sox all lost tonight and Toronto won to draw within a game and a half of Tampa Bay and New York. This looks like it will be a fun summer.

Player of the Game: Charlie Furbush–3.2 IP, 2 hits, 3 strikeouts and his first Major League win.