Angels 7, Tigers 2, 10 innings
DETROIT (AP)—The fireworks display outside Comerica Park on Saturday night wasn’t the work of the Los Angeles Angels.
It just seemed that way.
Vladimir Guerrero hit a tying RBI single in the ninth inning as a jazz festival’s show lit up the Detroit skyline and the Angels scored five runs in the 10th inning to beat the Detroit Tigers 7-2 Saturday night.
The Angels pulled within 7 1/2 games of AL West-leading Oakland with the victory.
“That’s a great win,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “We’ve got a big challenge ahead of us, but if we can consistently do the things we did tonight, we’re going to put up some wins.”
Todd Jones (2-6) was charged with four runs, two earned, and four hits in 1 1-3 innings for the Tigers. He did not speak to the media after the game, preferring to leave before the night’s second fireworks show—this one at the stadium. He did leave a sign in his locker.
“I am not ducking the media. I wanted to beat the fireworks,” the sign read. “I sucked tonight. I blew the game. It’s all my fault. Thanks, T. Jones.”
Chone Figgins’ bases-loaded triple keyed the 10th-inning rally.
Juan Rivera started the inning by reaching base on a throwing error by Tigers shortstop Neifi Perez, who had entered the game in the 9th after Carlos Guillen pulled a hamstring running the bases. Darin Erstad sacrificed Rivera to second, and Jones intentionally walked Adam Kennedy.
Jeff Mathis then blooped a single to center to load the bases, and Figgins broke an 0-for-18 slump with a liner into the right-center field gap.
“Things haven’t been going well for me lately, so I was happy to get another opportunity to get a hit tonight,” he said. “I was just pleased I hit it far enough that I could run some bases.”
Francisco Rodriguez (2-2) got the win with 1 2-3 innings of relief, extending his shutout streak to 23 outings.
The Tigers were one out away from winning in the ninth, but Izturis reached base on a throwing error by Guillen and moved to second on an infield single by Cabrera. Vladimir Guerrero then blooped a tying single off Jones as the fireworks started, ending his streak of 19 successful save opportunities.
Rivera broke a scoreless tie with an RBI single in the eighth but Marcus Thames drove in two runs in the bottom half with a base hit to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
Justin Verlander got a no-decision despite pitching seven shutout innings for Detroit. Verlander, who threw a career-high 126 pitches, allowed four hits and four walks while striking out six.
“I’m never happy when the team loses, but that’s the way baseball goes,” Verlander said. “I kept us in it, and I’m pleased with that.”
Angels starter Joe Saunders pitched 7 1-3 innings, allowing one run and five hits. He struck out five and did not walk a batter.
“I threw some strikes and got ahead of guys,” he said. “That’s the big thing for me.”
Los Angeles then left two runners on in both the sixth and seventh innings.
“We had opportunities, but Verlander reached back for an extra gear,” Scioscia said. “Give him credit.”
Meanwhile, the Tigers didn’t get a runner into scoring position until the eighth-inning rally.
The start of the game was delayed 15 minutes by rain. … The Tigers recalled 1B Chris Shelton from Triple-A Toledo Saturday. Shelton had one of the best starts of any major league hitter, batting .326 with 10 homers in April, but slumped during the summer and was sent to Toledo on July 31. … Guerrero extended his hitting streak to a season-best 19 games. … Saunders matched the longest outing of his career—he also pitched 7 1-3 innings in his major league debut on Aug. 16 last season. … Tigers manager Jim Leyland said that he didn’t know the extent of Guillen’s injury. “It’s high up rather than down in the middle of the leg, which hopefully is a little bit encouraging. We’ll just have to wait and see.”