Oh, yes. Bitter medicine indeed. For Detroit. For us it was absolutely awesome. These have been some seriously close games, too close for comfort too often. But someone has to win, and it’s so awesome when it’s us. Especially when you’re basically beating your opposition at their own game (pun not intended).
Lackey delivered a stellar performance. He pitched six and two-thirds innings of shutout ball; it’s hard to get much better than that. He gave up four hits and no walks, and he struck out eight. So yes, if he’d pitched the rest of the game without having given up those four hits, he would have had a perfect game.
He gave up two singles in the first, a double in the fifth, and a single in the seventh. And that was it. The rest of his performance was blemish-free. He just mowed right through.
But even though he didn’t last longer, our relief corps was just as solid. Breslow ended the seventh, and he, Tazawa, and Uehara teamed up for the eighth. Uehara went on to own the ninth, recording a four-out save.
As I said, the games have been close, and this one was by no means an exception. Papi led off the second with a walk to become our first baserunner of the night. We didn’t have another one until Gomes singled in the fifth. Then Ellsbury singled in the sixth, and the game was won in the seventh with one out. Napoli went up to bat and took a four-seam for a strike. He took another four-seam for a ball and then two sliders for balls. Then Napoli got another four-seam. Big mistake. You can’t make mistakes with Napoli. You just can’t. It was Justin Verlander’s hundredth pitch, and Mike Napoli made Verlander pay. He powered way up and launched the ball out of the park out to left center field. It was huge. It was epic. And it was the only run that either team scored.
The game was delayed due to a power outage in Detroit. I’ll bet the Tigers wished that would have extended to everyone else. Like Napoli. No power outage there. And that’s how we won by a final score of one-zip.