Tigers' Fulmer takes blame for Kipnis mishap

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Indians Wednesday.

Cleveland – It looked scary for a minute.

Michael Fulmer, covering first base on a double-play grounder hit by Jason Kipnis in the fifth inning, fell to the ground grabbing his right ankle.

“I thought it was his knee, initially,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “That would not have been a good thing.”

Nor would it have been good if, as it first appeared, Kipnis had spiked Fulmer’s Achilles’ tendon.

“I didn’t like that,” Ian Kinsler said. “I didn’t see what happened at first, but he was on the ground. When you get stepped on like that, a lot of things can happen.”

It turned out to be nothing but a scare.

“I think he got me right in the middle of his cleat, so I don’t think he spiked me,” Fulmer said. “It kind of scared me when it happened. I didn’t know how my ankle would react, so I went down for a bit. But everything was good.”

Kipnis came over to apologize, but Fulmer knew it was his fault.

“Yeah, I missed the bag (with his foot) the first time, and I got a little panicky,” he said. “So when in doubt, just try to stick your foot back there and see if you can get the out. Hey, anyway, anyhow.”

It was a big double play. The Tigers had just broke the game open, 8-2, and Fulmer was able to get six quick outs in the fifth and sixth innings.

“He was sharper after he got stepped on,” Kinsler said. “He didn’t really have his fastball command early on and he was getting through on his change-up. After he got stepped on, he threw the ball well. I don’t know if that woke him up or made him a little more balanced or whatever.

“But he gave us what we needed today.”