With another chance to seize first place in the Central, the Tigers bats went cold again as they lost to the Braves 3-1 at Turner Field tonight.
Billy Wagner saved his 400th game, becoming the fifth all-time to reach such a mark.
Another promising first inning ended relatively harmlessly for the Tigers. Five straight bullets from Ramon Santiago, Magglio Ordonez, Miguel Cabrera, Brennan Boesch and Carlos Guillen resulted in just one run. After that, the Tigers scattered just three hits, failing to put together a comprehensive threat.
Johnny Damon’s woes continued, as he is now just 3 for his last 30. No Tiger hitter was particularly impressive, although Cabrera went 2-for-4 with a couple singles.
Who was impressive, on the other hand, was Tigers’ rookie Andy Oliver. In his first big league start, Oliver went six innings, scattering five hits and allowing just two earned with four punchouts. Oliver appeared to have a crisp fastball and decent command of his secondary pitches. If he can turn in more starts like this one, perhaps the Tigers become players in the Cliff Lee lottery, as other arms will become expendible.
The Braves picked up their third run in the eighth inning off the bat of pinch-hitter Brooks Conrad, who hit his fourth homer of the season off Eddie Bonine.
Yet another dud from the Tigers offense was the story tonight, friends, coming at a time when the Twins are reeling and the White Sox are surging.
Twins, and now, Sox Watch:
The Twins lost their fourth straight game today at Citi Field in New York, but remain in first place, .5 games ahead of the Tigers, and 1.5 ahead of the White Sox.
Former Tiger starter Edwin Jackson tossed a no-hitter tonight on a whopping 149 pitches. Jackson walked 8 Tampa Bay Rays in the effort.