With the Los Angeles Dodgers looking for the two-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers, Josh Beckett made his debut, back on the mound for the first time in a regular season game in nearly one year. Beckett got Rajai Davis to fly out to left for the first out of the game, then gave up a single to Ian Kinsler, who stole second, and walked Miguel Cabrera. Kinsler then stole third and scored on a Victor Martinez sacrifice fly. Beckett got Austin Jackson swinging for the final out in what wound up being a 26-pitch first.
Dee Gordon continued his hot hitting with a leadoff single, but was caught stealing on a perfectly timed pitchout. Carl Crawford then hit a double and later took third on an Anibal Sanchez wild pitch. Hanley Ramirez walked and Crawford scored on a ruled double-steal. Martinez’ throw to second skipped into left field, which allowed Ramirez to advance to third. Andre Ethier gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead with an infield single before Sanchez could get out of the inning.
Beckett began the second inning on a better note by striking out the first two hitters. Alex Gonzalez reached on an error by Gordon, and scored the tying run as Sanchez hit his first career double to right-center, over Matt Kemp’s head, who had moved in with the pitcher batting. The Dodgers answered right back, capitalizing on a Sanchez passed ball after a Juan Uribe single. Tim Federowicz moved Uribe over to third on a groundout and the third baseman broke the tie on a suicide squeeze play with Beckett batting.
Beckett again had more two-out troubles after getting back-to-back groundouts in the third. Martinez kept the inning alive with a single, which was followed by a ground-rule double off Jackson’s bat. Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos then hit a three-run home run on Beckett’s first offering, to give the Tigers a 5-3 lead. Sanchez posted the first scoreless half inning by retiring the Dodgers three, four, five hitters to end the third.
After Beckett and Sanchez put up more zeros in the fourth inning, Brandon League replaced Beckett in the fifth with the Tigers still leading 5-3. League’s appearance got off to an ominous start as Cabrera and Martinez both singled off the right-hander to put two on with no outs. The embattled reliever worked himself out of the jam, first getting Jackson to hit into a fielder’s choice and then getting a double play to end the threat and keep the Dodgers within two runs.
Sanchez retired the Dodgers in order in the fifth and League pitched another shutout inning in the sixth, in spite of a Ramirez throwing error on a routine ground ball. Drew Smyly took over for Sanchez in the sixth and ended the inning with consecutive strikeouts, which was punctuated by Kemp’s third on the night.
Jamey Wright relieved League in the seventh and the Tigers put another unearned run on the board. Kinsler singled, stole second, moved to third on an error by Federowicz and scored on a sacrifice fly. Wright then got Castellanos swinging for his second strikeout of the inning. Uribe gave the Dodgers some life with a leadoff single in the bottom of the seventh, but it was followed by a Federowicz strikeout and a Justin Turner double-play, who pinch-hit for Wright.
Paco Rodriguez pitched a scoreless eighth and Smyly matched the Dodger left-hander in his third inning of work, sitting down the top of the Dodger lineup in order. Perhaps as a sign that manager Don Mattingly is leaning towards starting Haren on Sunday, Paul Maholm pitched the ninth inning. Maholm allowed a leadoff single, but the Tigers were unable to capitalize as Kinsler hit into a double-play. Ramirez then made a nice play in the hole to get Cabrera to end the inning.
Tigers closer Joe Nathan took the mound in the bottom of the ninth and promptly allowed a solo home run to Adrian Gonzalez. Ethier and Kemp extended the Dodgers’ rally with walks and Uribe singled to load the bases for pinch-hitting Yasiel Puig. Nathan got the right fielder looking for the first out and in stepped Scott Van Slyke, who hit into a fielder’s choice that scored a run and moved the tying run to third. Down to their final out, Gordon ripped a single to right field to tie the game at 6-6. Nathan blew the save, but got Crawford for the final out to avoid another a Dodger walk-off win in the ninth.
Kenley Jansen relieved Maholm and for the second night, gave up an untimely hit to Martinez, this time a solo home run to break the tie in the 10th. After Jansen recorded the second out, Mattingly pulled him in favor of J.P. Howell, who inherited runners on first and second. Howell struck out Don Kelly to keep the Dodgers within one run going to the bottom of the 10th.
Joba Chamberlain took over for the Tigers in the bottom of the 10th with Ramirez, Gonzalez and Ethier due up. Ramirez reached on an infield single Tigers manager replaced Chamberlain with Ian Krol as two left-handed hitters were set to bat. Krol struck out Gonzalez and Ethier, then gave way to Al Alburquerque to face Kemp. The right-handed pitcher got Kemp to ground out to third and the Dodgers lost, 7-6.
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