Detroit, MI (WKZO) – Torii Hunter continues to show why he may be the most valuable off-season pickup not only for the Tigers but in all of baseball.
With the Tigers down 6-4 and two on and two down, Hunter blasted a 1-1 pitch off former teammate Grant Balfour in left center field to give the Tigers a 7-6 walkoff win, avoiding a four game series sweep to the Oakland A’s. The Tigers had entered the ninth down 6-3 and on the verge of their first home four game series sweep since September 10-13, 2004. The walk-off also kept Max Scherzer’s record at 19-1.
Max Scherzer attempt to become the first pitcher to win 20 games this year came up short after the A’s got to Scherzer earlier as Jedd Lowrie hit a two run homer in the first to open the scoring for the A’s. They then added two more in the fourth inning on two sac flies and tacked on two more in the fifth on a Brandon Moss’ fourth home run of the series. Scherzer was lifted after the fifth, finishing with six runs allowed – five earned – on eight hits, one walk and five strikeouts.
The Tigers bullpen was huge as well, limiting the A’s to four hits in relief of Scherzer without allowing a run. Joaquin Benoit got the win after tossing the ninth inning.
Prince Fielder hit a solo home run in the sixth inning. Bryan Pena had two hits and an RBI.
Miguel Cabrera left the game before the sixth inning with abdomen injury after being thrown out at second trying to stretch a single into a double.
The Tigers now welcome the Cleveland Indians to Comerica Park for a three game weekend series. Rick Porcello (10-7, 4.49 ERA) takes the mound in the opener against Chris McAllister (7-7, 3.51). Coverage begins on 590 WKZO at 6:40, and first pitch is scheduled for 7:08.