Tigers stop Santana but miscues cost them the win!

Hondo S. Carpenter

Tigers stop Santana but miscues cost them the win!

July 30, 2006

Minneapolis, MN

Â
Another great crowd at the Metrodome today after the Tigers got win #70 last night. With Jeremy Bonderman of the Tigers (11-4 3.66) facing Johan Santana (12-5 3.04) this was the premier pitching match up in all of baseball today.

Â
Placido Polanco was the first to face Santana and he took care of business swatting a nice curve ball down the left field line for a double, but Santana shut down the Tigers and the ended their top having stranded Polanco.

Â
The Twins top of the first was a potential nightmare. The speedy Luis Castillo bunted and Brandon Inge made a rare error that let him advance to second and Mags committed the second error that allowed him to march down to third with no outs. After a Punto out, Mauer had a sacrifice and Castillo tagged up to test the rookie centerfielder in his first game Brent Clevlen. Clevlen acted like he had done it forever however and he nailed Castillo at the plate for the out. What a great way to end the inning. “Yeah I was really excited out there, and to have my first defensive play be against a fast guy like Castillo was really cool,” said Clevlen to me after the game.

Â
After a second that was silent for both teams, both Santana and Bondo took care of both clubs with ease. It appeared that a classic pitchers duel was underway here in Minneapolis. Well appearances are not always reality.

Â
The story of the day at least early was the Tigers rookie centerfielder called up and playing in his first game as a Tiger. Not only did he have a welcome to the big leagues moment in the first throwing out Castillo at the plate, but in the bottom of the third he got his first hit in his very first major league at bat against the great Santana and it was a nice double down the left field line. He also demonstrated some great base running skills when Polanco got a single to center and he came around from second and beat Tyner’s throw from center giving the Tigers and Bondo the early 1-0 lead. Polanco remained on first base and the Tigers had no outs. Polanco was called out on a Thames single and Monroe got a walk to put the Tigers at first and second with only one out and Santana struggling. Guillen drove Santana’s pitch count way up into the atmosphere and battled from being down 0-2 to a full count and eventually got a walk loading the bases for Brandon Inge. Inge however was unable to do anything with it he popped out to right. The good news however was that the Tigers pushed Santana’s pitch count to 59 after three innings.

Â
Bondo made the third look effortless. He got them out 1-2-3 and left with a miniscule pitch count of 30. Santana walked slowly to the mound to start the fourth with a look of defeat. The large HomerDome crowd was sat silently stunned.

Â
Shelton Started the fourth with a single and Wilson got him to third on a beautiful hit and run. The Twins weren’t paying attention however and Wilson made it to second. With a 70-pitch count, Santana had a 3-2 count on Clevlen and runners at second and third. The Twins crowd sat stunned as the rookie who had been giving a clinic on this day kept fouling off pitches before finally striking out as the first Tigers out and Placido followed with a fly out to right for out number two. The point was that Santana was tired and the Tigers kept having multiple pitch at bats. Thames had a great liner down the third base line that Punto somehow was able to catch to end the inning but not before Santana had a pitch count of 76!

Â
Bonderman maintained his mastery of the Twins with a 98 MPH fastball that had Mauer fly out to center and retire the Twins in the fourth inning in order. Even more impressive was that Bondo had a pitch count of 46 after four!

Â
Monroe led off the fifth with a double down the left field line and Santana’s was visibly fatigued.  Mags punished him however with the exact same hit as Monroe and that brought him home to score and put Mags on second and the Tigers leading 2-0. That score was how the inning would end, with a winded Santana (96 pitch count) and a Tigers team that was looking for a sweep.

Â
Bondo was on fire as he took out the Twins in the bottom of the fifth 1-2-3 and came away with having faced only the minimum of batters (15) and a pitch count of only 60!

Â
Vance Wilson opened the sixth with a nice single to center and finally Twins MGR Ron Gardenhire got someone up in the bullpen. Clevlen was the next batter and again he showed his skill off by demonstrating a good eye and drawing a walk from Santana putting Tigers on first and third with no one out. Do you remember when I wrote last night how Vance Wilson should never steal? Well Leyland didn’t get the memo and he tried a double steal that again Vance got caught. Clevlen advance to second, but again Leyland’s mistake with Wilson cost them. Polanco was the next batter and he drove a nice single to the gap that scored Clevlen from second and would have possibly brought in two if not for the ill advised double steal. That drove Santana from the game and the Tigers tolling up 3-0 and that is how the inning would end.

Â
Again 1-2-3 was the story for Bonderman in the bottom of the sixth. He still had only faced the minimum amount of batters and had six strikeouts and had a 68-pitch count and was clearly in charge. The only hit was the first batter of the game (Castillo) and he took care of him with a double play.

Â
Carlos Guillen got a single and with a comedy of error on the Twins part and was at second with one out in the top of the seventh. A pitch hit Inge and that got Tigers on first and second with still only one out but they could do no more additional damage. Bonderman kept the one hitter alive and pitched masterfully in the bottom of the seventh to keep the score 3-0!

Â
The eighth was relatively uneventful accept for one thing, the rookie Brent Clevlen had a great slide into second that broke up a sure fire double play again showing off his baseball skills. I realize that it isn’t much, but with Granderson clearly the man for years to come and Cameron Maybin in single A, he certainly is showing off his skills.

Â
The action for the Twins got started in the eighth. The Twins scored four runs and Bonderman had a controversial and bad balk called against him. It clearly wasn’t a balk but the ump simply blew it. Good for Bonderman however was that he kept his cool in an obviously tough situation. The Tigers sadly let the Twins take the 4-3 lead not with a good offensive performance but with a sloppy four-error performance. The Twins expanded their lead to 6-3 when Cuddyer hit a 2-run triple to the gap in right center.

Â
Shelton got an RBI in the top of the ninth but 6-4 was the best the Tigers could do losing a game that they dominated but gave to the Twins with sloppy play. The Tigers record fell to 70-34 and the ad part was that they wasted a great game by Bonderman with sloppy play and to many runners left on base. A visibly shall we say “upset” Bonderman did the right thing however and did address the media and basically confirmed what his countenance already let us know: Bondo not happy. He shouldn’t be and that is what makes him great, he is a competitor and he hates losing. You have to love that young man!

Comments

Hondo's Blog

FEATURED
COMMUNITY