By DAVE HOGG, Associated Press
DETROIT (AP) — With the Detroit Tigers rallying in the ninth inning Monday night, Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash was focused on Miguel Cabrera’s whereabouts.
The Tigers star wasn’t in the lineup due to biceps tightness, but Cash was unsure if Cabrera could make an appearance with the game on the line.
“I saw him in the dugout with a bat, and I started asking everyone I could find if he could swing,” Cash said. “I even asked the batboy at one point. I didn’t want to see him step onto the field.”
Luckily for Cash, Cabrera was bluffing and the Rays were able to close out a 3-2 win.
“That’s a great win after a tough loss yesterday,” Cash said.
Tampa Bay has won nine of its last 10 games after a 4-13 start.
With the game scoreless, Detroit closer Shane Greene (1-2) walked Denard Span to start the ninth. C.J. Cron followed by hitting a 2-0 fastball into the right-center field seats for his seventh homer of the season.
“I’m not sure what happened there – I need to watch the video,” Greene said. “I have to figure it out and get things fixed.”
After Matt Duffy popped out, Brad Miller homered into the left-field bullpens to make it 3-0 and end Greene’s night.
“Our closer came in and just didn’t get it done,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “His ball didn’t have the life that it normally does and two very strong hitters got him. It happens.”
Cash, though, didn’t have closer Alex Colome available for the ninth inning.
“He’s had four hot days in a row, so he was down for the night,” he said. “At that point, we are just trying to piece together three outs.”
Chaz Roe, who has never recorded a save in six major-league seasons, started the inning, but loaded the bases with one out on two hit batters and an infield single.
Jose Alvarado allowed a two-run single to Victor Martinez, then retired James McCann before walking John Hicks to load the bases again. Dixon Machado then grounded into a game-ending force at second to give Alvarado his first career save.
“They told me to trust Jesus (Sucre) to call the pitches and to do what I do,” Alvarado said. “The crowd was fired up and my adrenaline was pumping, but I didn’t want to change a thing.”
Rays starter Jake Faria (2-1) had the longest outing of his career, holding the Tigers scoreless for eight innings. He gave up three hits and a walk with six strikeouts in his second win in 11 starts.
“I was in the bullpen by the end of the game yesterday, just in case, so I knew we needed some innings,” Faria said. “I tried to pitch to contact and get groundballs, which isn’t my normal game, but my fastball and slider were both really good.”
Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann didn’t get a decision after pitching seven scoreless innings. He allowed two hits, walked one and struck out five.
“It was fun to be out there,” he said. “I had all four pitches working and I was able to throw some good changeups when I needed them. We didn’t win, which is unfortunate, but it was definitely something I needed.”
Jose Iglesias helped Zimmermann with two outstanding plays in the third inning. He made a leaping catch of Sucre’s soft liner, then dived to his right to grab Cron’s line drive.
Iglesias doubled with one out in the bottom of the inning, but was stranded at third.
The Rays got a runner to third with two outs in the seventh, but Zimmerman got Joey Wendle to ground out to Iglesias.
Rays: C Wilson Ramos sat out a second straight game with tightness in both legs. He has homered in his last three games. … Sucre injured his right arm blocking a ninth-inning pitch. He stayed in the game after treatment, and post-game X-rays were negative.
Tigers: CF Leonys Martin was out of the lineup with a sore hamstring but pinch ran in the ninth inning. … Cabrera is listed as day-to-day. … LHP Daniel Norris, who is scheduled to undergo groin surgery, was placed on the 60-day disabled list. The Tigers recalled LHP Chad Bell from Triple-A Toledo.
The teams play again Tuesday night in the second of a three-game series. LHP Matthew Boyd (0-2, 2.74) is scheduled to pitch for the Tigers, while RHP Chris Archer (2-1, 6.61) will start for Tampa Bay. Archer will be making his ninth career start against Detroit, having gone 2-2 with a 3.55 ERA.
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