Tigers 6, Rockies 4
DENVER (AP)—Detroit Tigers manager Alan Trammell has seen enough strange finishes at Coors Field to never feel comfortable with any lead.
The way the Tigers’ bullpen is pitching, maybe he won’t worry so much.
Brandon Inge hit a tiebreaking single in the sixth inning, Rondell White had three hits and drove in two runs and Detroit’s relievers held the lead again, helping the Tigers beat the Colorado Rockies 6-4 on Saturday night.
“I’m just glad it’s over because I know that a two-run lead in the ninth is nothing,” Trammell said. “Lots of strange things happen here.”
It’s easy to see why Trammell might be skittish. After all, he was at Coors Field last year when the Tigers blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning and an eight-run lead in consecutive games.
But this time there were no big rallies. Detroit’s bullpen made sure of that.
Jeremy Bonderman pitched well enough to keep Detroit close, but Trammell lifted him after six innings because of a 44-minute rain delay in the second inning.
Jamie Walker worked the seventh, Kyle Farnsworth extended his scoreless streak to 12 2-3 innings in the eighth and Troy Percival finished it off with his fourth save to push the bullpen’s scoreless streak to 12 1-3 innings.
“We have a great bullpen,” Bonderman said. “As a starting pitcher you want to go deep into it, but I know that when I come out of the game we have a good chance of winning that game.”
The Rockies beat the Tigers 2-0 on Friday in cold and damp conditions to match the lowest-scoring game in Coors Field history.
With the air warmer and much drier, the balls started flying around again— at least for a little while.
Detroit didn’t waste any time after managing one run in its previous two games, scoring twice in the first inning on a fielder’s choice and Craig Monroe’s run-scoring single. The Tigers had four hits in the inning, three short of their total the day before, and finished with 12 to end a six-game losing streak to Colorado.
Preston Wilson ended a 1-for-10 slump with three hits, including an RBI single in the first inning, but the Rockies were 4-for-18 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 runners.
Colorado has lost four of five since starting interleague play this week.
“We have a lot of young players going the wrong way on offense,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.
Bonderman (7-4) gave up two runs in the first inning, but seemed stronger after the rain delay.
Hitting the mid-90s with his fastball, he prevented the Rockies from having a big inning, allowing four runs and eight hits in six innings for his second win in six starts.
“I didn’t feel comfortable in the first inning. I haven’t felt comfortable in a while, mechanically,” Bonderman said. “When we came back out, I just started throwing at them. I just reached back and let it fly, challenging guys and coming right at them.”
Rockies starter Jason Jennings (3-7) did the same thing, only with different results.
The right-hander has been hit plenty this season, giving up 80 hits in 71 1-3 innings his first 12 starts, and this game was no exception. Jennings allowed nine hits in six innings and gave up four earned runs for the second straight start and the ninth time this season.
“This was a game with a lot of (junk),” Jennings said. “Groundballs that I wanted that made their way through holes on pitches I made. It was frustrating to say the least.”
The teams traded runs in the fifth—White’s RBI double for the Tigers, matched by Garrett Atkins’ run-scoring single—then Detroit went back up in the sixth on Inge’s RBI single. Placido Polanco made it 6-4 in the eighth with a sacrifice fly off Blaine Neal.
Helton’s single in the first inning was his 813th hit at Coors Field, tying Larry Walker’s record. … Hawpe was 0-for-3, extending his hitless streak to 13 at-bats. … Neal was ejected in the eighth inning for arguing a strike call against Wilson.