Tonight, the Rays paid homage to the 1970’s with Retro Night, including specially designed “throwback” uniforms. For a while tonight, the game went along with the theme, looking like an old fashioned pitcher’s duel.
Through the first seven innings, the Detroit Tigers clung to a 1-0 lead, with the only run coming off an RBI fielder’s chioce by Prince Fielder in the top of the third. His hot shot up the middle hit off starter Jeremy Hellickson‘s leg, ricocheting to first for the out. Hellickson left the game after attempting three warm up throws, having pitched 2.2 innings, giving up the 1 run on 4 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 1 batter. X-rays on the leg came back negative, and Hellickson has been diagnosed with a bruised shin.
Rick Porcello, meanwhile, cruised through his 7 innings, allowing 4 hits without a walk while striking out 4 hitters. The Rays loaded the bases against him in the bottom of the sixth with one out, however Porcello ended the threat with a pop up to short, and a groundout to second.
Kyle Farnsworth made his season debut in the top of the seventh, giving up 1 hit and 1 walk, while striking out 2 batters.
Detroit appeared to have broken the game open in the top of the eighth inning. With two out and a 1-2 count, Joel Peralta hit Ramon Santiago with a pitch. After a strike, Austin Jackson belted a three run home run, giving the Tigers a 4-0 lead. The Rays came back in the bottom of the inning, with pinch hitter Jeff Keppinger and Carlos Pena both hitting solo home runs of reliever Joaquin Benoit, cutting the lead to 4-2.
The Tigers put the game out of reach in the top of the ninth. Burke Badenhop loaded the bases with two walks and a single, but appeared to poised to get out of the jam after Alex Avila grounded into a 3-2-3 double play. Badenhop then promptly walked the next batter, before giving up a two run single to Jhonny Peralta, giving the Tigers a 6-2 lead. That score would hold up, as Jose Valverde permitted only a Ben Zobrist double in preserving the victory.
The famous 70’s band Earth, Wind, and Fire performed after the game, but unfortunately following a Rays loss.