Arlington, Texas – Against the Rangers, whose hitters are more like blacksmiths the way they wield bats and punish objects, a young pitcher – any pitcher – is expected to accept his bruises and welts and move on.
And then there’s Michael Fulmer, who doesn’t buy into notions he’s beneath any big-league lineup.
The Tigers rookie maestro spun another silken treasure Sunday at Globe Life Park as he put away the Rangers on a four-hit, 7-0 shutout victory that came ever closer to helping Fulmer win 2016’s American League Rookie of the Year trophy.
It was another astonishingly efficient, and at times seemingly effortless, stretch of pitching mastery by Fulmer, who could breathe a bit thanks to a big day by Tigers hitters, who crashed four home runs.
Victor Martinez, J.D. Martinez, Ian Kinsler, and Miguel Cabrera hit the homers, while James McCann had an RBI single as part of his two-hit day.
Fulmer’s pitch-count was in such marvelous shape – 94 at the end of eight innings – Tigers manager had little to think about as Fulmer returned for the ninth. He allowed a leadoff single, then put away the final three Rangers batters on a day when he struck out nine Texas batters and walked none.
The Tigers shut out the Rangers for the second time inside of 24 hours as Fulmer followed another rookie, Matt Boyd, with a virtuoso against one of the most unforgiving lineups in baseball.
The Tigers, who had lost five straight games coming into Saturday, now have a winning streak to bring home ahead of a three-game series against the Royals that begins Monday night at Comerica Park.