We are now two games over .500? I almost can’t believe this is happening.
Sarcasm aside, it is something to celebrate; I’d rather be two games over .500 than no games over .500. We played alright. It wasn’t our greatest work collectively, but it wasn’t bad either. It couldn’t have been that bad; after all, we did get the win. But everything could have been a little bit tighter.
Lester’s outing was great; that wasn’t really part of what wasn’t tight, although I would have liked to see him give up less runs and hits and pitch more innings. It was an intense performance; he kept his head down and powered through it. He pitched six and two-thirds innings and gave up four runs on ten hits. He didn’t walk anybody and struck out seven. He threw 120 pitches, eighty-three of which were strikes. Fantastic changeup and cut fastball, really good sinker, and decent curveball.
He gave up three straight singles in the second, followed by a force out that resulted in Detroit’s first run. He went one-two-three in the second. He gave up a triple followed by a sac fly in the third. He faced four in the fourth and fifth and went one-two-three in the sixth. With one man on base and two out in the seventh, Albers replaced Lester; Albers allowed a single followed by an RBI double that allowed his inherited runner to score. So overall, I’d say Lester did really well, especially compared to some of the mediocrity we’ve been seeing from him. Miller pitched a shutout eighth, and Aceves pitched a shutout ninth for another save.
We went down in order during our first three innings but finally got on the board in the fourth. With two out, Gonzalez doubled, and Papi crushed the third pitch he saw, a fastball, right out to straightaway center field. Now that’s power if I’ve ever seen it. Youk then singled, and Middlebrooks got in on the long-ball action with a two-run shot of his own, this one on the first pitch of his at-bat, a changeup, into the first row of the Monster seats. That got out of the park really fast. Like, really fast. Like we were in a rush to just win already.
Shoppach and Punto started the seventh with back-to-back swinging strikeouts. Then Nava worked an eight-pitch walk, and Aviles singled. Gonzalez then doubled in Nava. It’s just as well. He needed to do something about the fact that the reason why Albers’s inherited runner scored and why Lester received a no-decision and it was Albers who got the win was his fielding, or rather lack thereof. The ball bounced off his glove. I was absolutely sure that that catch was a shoe-in. Gonzalez ran over and went into the slide; his timing was perfect.
I think that Youk thought that Middlebrooks’s home run looked like fun, because he hit one himself that was pretty similar. It was on the first pitch of his at-bat, also on a changeup, also into the Monster seats. Well, not actually into the Monster seats. It bounced off the billboard. Power, power, power. Unfortunately nobody was on base, but it was enough. We won, 6-4.
Twelve hits. Half of them for extra bases. Half of those, home runs. Five multi-hit performances, all of which were two hits each. One still-winning team! Let’s keep this going!