July 5, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder (28) hits a three run home run during the eighth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
There are a few storylines here, but most of them aren't going to be a great deal of fun to talk about because the Twins had their chances to put some distance between themselves and the Tigers. Instead they shot themselves in the foot. The Tigers made some good throws as the Twins made some ill-advised turns around third base; the Tigers took advantage of mediocre relief pitching in the late going.
Scott Diamond was good, once again. His offense gave him three runs which was enough at the time, as he allowed just five hits and a walk through seven innings while striking out four. It was what's become a prototypical Diamond effort. It's not very exciting but he knows what he's doing, and he's nasty enough to get a few swings and misses. Towards the end, particularly in the seventh inning, he seemed to be missing his spots more often. He was done after seven having thrown 91 pitches, meaning he probably could have come out for the eighth (he'd thrown more than 91 pitches in 8 of his 11 starts), but that's the call that was made.
Before we get to the Tigers' comeback, after the jump let's outline the circumstances which led to three players being thrown out at home.
- The second inning yielded five singles for the Twins, but only one run. Trevor Plouffe, Darin Mastroianni, and Brian Dozier knocked three consecutive singles to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead with one out. Jamey Carroll followed that up with a high chopper to third. Miguel Cabrera made a clean fielding play and an easy throw home, and Gerald Laird did a pretty good job of blocking the plate and applying the tag. Now, Mastroianni's left hand did sneak under Laird's leg and touched the plate, but I can't tell if that was before or after the tag was applied.
- The very next batter, Denard Span, broke his bat but singled into left field. Dozier was already rounding third by the time the ball was picked up by Ryan Raburn, but Raburn made an absolutely perfect throw. His relay was high but brought Laird into the base path, blocking Dozier whose awkward slide had no chance of getting around the Tiger backstop.
- In the eighth inning, Mastroianni singled to lead off the frame. Then he stole second. Then he stole third. Dozier struck out looking, while Maestro was on second base for the first out. After the swipe of third, Carroll attempted to lay down a suicide squeeze bunt against Octavio Dotel. The pitch was way outside, and while Carroll reached he just didn't have a prayer. Mastroianni was dead in the water.