How Was The Game? (October 5, 2013)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

The game of the year. 

A’s 1, Tigers 0 (Series tied 1-1)

This was not a baseball game you’re going to forget anytime soon. Both  Justin Verlander (1 GS, 7 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.33 FIP) and Sonny Gray were fantastic in 7 and 8 innings, respectively, and we were treated to some extraordinary moments. Verlander retired the first 11 he faced and ended the game with 11 strikeouts to go along with just 4 hits, 1 walk, and no runs. He was vintage Verlander as he had all of his pitches working and escaped a big jam in the 5th with a couple of huge strikeouts and then put Vogt away after an epic battle to end the 7th. Gray was only a touch less dominant and both starters handed this one off to their bullpens, much to the dismay of people who love baseball. The A’s threatened in the 8th, but Leyland called on Alburquerque who struck out two to escape. In the 9th, Leyland stuck with him and he put the first two men on (in part thanks to Leyland calling ‘no doubles’) and then walked Reddick intentionally to set up forces for Porcello. With the infield in, Vogt punched it past Iglesias and the A’s evened the series (it’s an easy double play if the infield isn’t in, FWIW). There will be seconding guess about how Leyland handled the last two innings (and starting Iglesias and the Iglesias bunt) and he earned it. A manager usually can’t win a game for his team, but he can lose it, which we saw tonight. The offense needs to score, but Leyland made a series of big mistakes. Regardless of the outcome, it was a thrilling game and Verlander certainly silenced his critics. The Tigers will look to get back on top with  Anibal Sanchez (0 GS this postseason) taking the ball in Game 3 at home on Monday.

The Moment: Verlander K’s Vogt in the 7th.

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