The Detroit Tigers dropped a tight pitcher’s duel with Texas on Saturday night in Arlington, as a ninth inning walk-off hit from the bat of Mike Olt gave the Rangers a 2-1 game two victory.
The Tigers picked up what appeared to be a possible game-winning hit in the ninth inning on a Delmon Young single to right field, but third base coach Gene Lamont opted to hold runner Miguel Cabrera at third base. As expected, a pop out by Jhonny Peralta shortly followed and ruined Detroit’s chance for a run.
Detroit reliever Brayan Villareal opened up the bottom of the ninth with a pair of walks before he could record an out, and quickly gave way to Phil Coke who nearly close the door but allowed a seeing-eye grounder from Olt that slid between shortstop and third base. The defeat represents Coke’s fourth of the season, and marks the fifth straight appearance where he’s either allowed a run or walked away with a loss.
Starter Justin Verlander was his usually sharp self on the mound against Rangers hitters in the game, and scattered seven hits over seven innings of one-run ball in a no-decision. Verlander also added eight strikeouts and did not walk a batter, but struggled to make quick work of his opponents as Texas batters routinely worked the count and left him without a chance to pitch into the later innings.
Now tied 1-1 in the series heading into the deciding game, the Tigers will send 23-year-old Rick Porcello (9-6, 4.62 ERA) to the mound for Sunday’s finale.
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