Tigers 5, Angels 3
All Monroe was looking for was a pitch he could send past a drawn-infield with a runner at third base and one out. He got it, and drove in the go-ahead run to help the Detroit Tigers beat the Anaheim Angels 5-3 on Friday night.
“I’m not going to take anything away from what he’s done,” Monroe said of Percival. “He’s had a great big league career and his arm’s saved a bunch of games, but I don’t care who’s out there. I’m not trying to focus on the pitcher. I’m going to focus on me and being relaxed and giving myself the best chance.”
Brandon Inge broke out of a 6-for-36 rut by going 4-for-4 with three RBIs, helping end Anaheim’s 11-game home winning streak against the Tigers.
“I played Brandon tonight because I wanted him at third base on this fast field,” manager Alan Trammell said. “They’re an aggressive team offensively, so I just felt more comfortable with Brandon at third. His offense was a bonus.”
Rondell White led off the ninth with a double against Percival (2-3) and Monroe looped a single to right-center to put Detroit back in front. Inge followed with a bloop single to right that sent Monroe to third and Nook Logan followed with a sacrifice fly.
After pinch-hitter Curtis Pride led off the seventh with a single against Detroit starter Jeremy Bonderman, Yan relieved and surrendered a two-out triple by Vladimir Guerrero that sliced the Tigers’ lead to 3-2.
The Tigers committed three errors, one of which led to the tying run in the eighth.
Robb Quinlan beat out an infield hit up the middle with two outs in the eighth, advanced on Yan’s wild pitch and scored from second when second baseman Omar Infante tried to make an impossible play on Jeff DaVanon’s slow-bouncing hit up the middle. Infante made an off-balance, sidearmed throw past first baseman Carlos Pena.
“I don’t blame him for throwing the ball,” Trammell said. “It’s a tough play, but this is the big leagues, and great plays are part of the equation when you’re a major league player. If he makes a good throw, he’s out.”
Bonderman allowed two runs on six hits and struck out five in six-plus innings, but he made things tougher on himself with two errors.
In the second, Bonderman dropped a short toss from Pena on a grounder to first base by DaVanon, putting runners at the corners with one out. Bonderman responded by fanning Josh Paul and retiring David Eckstein on a fly to right field, but the pitcher’s second error led to an unearned run in the fifth.
Chone Figgins bunted to the right of the mound and Bonderman made a high overhand flip past Pena for a two-base error. Guerrero lined the next pitch past Bonderman’s glove and into center field to drive in Figgins and cut Detroit’s lead to 2-1.
The right-hander hadn’t allowed an unearned run this season in 116 1-3 innings entering the game. Last year as a rookie, 18 of the 118 runs he gave up were unearned. His two errors against the Angels equaled the number his teammates committed behind him over his previous 14 starts.
“On the second one, I just kind of panicked a little bit and just threw it away,” Bonderman said. “You can’t give these guys extra outs.”
Inge opened the scoring in the second, getting the green light from Trammell on 3-0 with two out and hitting a two-out, two-run double after a single by White and a walk to Pena.
Inge chased John Lackey with an RBI single that extended Detroit’s lead to 3-1 after Monroe doubled and advanced on a wild pitch.
Anaheim stranded a runner at third base in three of the first four innings. Jose Guillen struck out with two men in scoring position to end the first, and Paul did likewise in the fourth.
“I just wanted to keep the ball down and let them let themselves out. And when I needed a strikeout, I got it,” Bonderman said. “I was able to make good pitches when I had to.”
Lackey gave up three runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings, striking out seven and walking four.
“I felt like I had some of the best stuff I’ve had all year,” Lackey said. “My breaking ball felt good and my changeup was good, but they put together a couple of good at-bats against me.”
The Tigers left the bases loaded three times, including the eighth, when Brendan Donnelly relieved Scot Shields and struck out cleanup hitter Dmitri Young. … Darin Erstad stole second in the second inning, making him 13-for-13 this season, and robbed Monroe of an RBI double in the seventh with a diving stop inside the first base line.