Kenshin Kawakami won a game! Not that the bullpen made it easy, with a ninth inning that made it look like there was an actual plot to keep him winless. Luckily, the home plate umpire wasn’t in on it.
For six innings, it looked like Kawakami would, as usual, pitch just well enough to lose. He only allowed one run, that coming in the sixth on a walk, a “bunt single” that Kawakami screwed up and should have been a sacrifice, and a wild pitch, allowing the runner to go to third where he could score on a groundout.
Blanco walked leading off the seventh, then was sacrificed to second on a pinch-bunt by Conrad. (It may be NATIONAL LEAGUE BASEBALL but it’s still stupid.) Prado grounded out, then Melky walked. Chipper took a 1-0 pitch deep over the right-centerfield wall to make it 3-1. Just like that, Kawakami was in place to win. He looked even better placed after Hinske (who’d come up empty in a couple of earlier scoring chances) doubled in Glaus from first. Heyward (who has finally admitted that his thumb is a problem and didn’t start) ran for Hinske, and went to third when Yunel just missed his first homer of the season, but was stranded.
For some reason, Billy Wagner was not available today. I don’t know, and the announcers didn’t seem to know either, why that was. Venters had no problems in the eighth, but Saito did in the ninth. The leadoff man lined out, then Cabrera hit a homer to cut it to 4-2. He struck out the next man… then couldn’t get either of the next two, walking both after getting ahead in the count. O’Flaherty came in and had no idea where the ball was going, walking two and making it 4-3. Bobby had no choice but to go to Moylan — because nobody else was left — and the Tigers used Damon to pinch-hit. He went 3-1, then got it to 3-2, then looked like he threw the next pitch well outside… but it was called a strike. Ballgame.