Tigers edge Brewers 1-0 on Derek Hill's walk-off double in 11th inning
Detroit — The dueling Peraltas portion of the festivities at Comerica Park Tuesday night ended in a mark-less draw before Mother Nature intervened.
The Milwaukee Brewers’ Freddy Peralta and Tigers’ Wily Peralta — who spent the first six years of his career with the Brewers and left the year before Freddy arrived — put up one zero after another for six innings.
But after Freddy got Robbie Grossman to pop out on a 3-0 pitch with two on to end the sixth, the storms that had threatened since the start of the game finally hit – lightning, high winds and sweeping rain.
The game was delayed an hour and 49 minutes and resumed at 10:10 p.m.
And the zeros kept going up on the board. It remained scoreless though 10 innings. Each team squandering scoring chances.
Finally, at 11:46 p.m., Derek Hill, after failing to get a bunt down, lashed a double to right-center, scoring Victor Reyes from second base and giving the Tigers another win over a first-place team — a 1-0 win over the Brewers.
"It's a nice reminder that we can win any day's game," manager AJ Hinch said. "And we have another one in about 12 hours. But if you want to play with the big boys, you have to play like the big boys. That's what we're trying to do, just defend ourselves and win some games."
The Tigers just finished winning two of three from the A.L. East-leading Tampa Bay Rays. And, in a five-hour grind, they beat the N.L. Central-leading Brewers and outduel one of the stingiest bullpens in baseball.
So, in back-to-back games, the Tigers scored walk-off wins against two teams that are at least 30 games over .500. According to Stats by Stats, that had never happened before in Major League baseball.
The Tigers hadn't won a 1-0 extra-inning game since Jack Morris shutout the Yankees in 10 innings Sept. 27, 1986. They hadn't won a 1-0 game in 11 innings since July 16, 1976 against Oakland.
"I think we are built for the long haul and to compete from the first pitch to the last pitch," said Hill. "That's the culture that's been instilled in this club and it's exciting to watch."
It was the Tigers' 12th extra-inning win this season, second most in baseball to Seattle. And it was Hill's first career walk-off.
"AJ said if I didn't get the bunt down in the first couple pitches, just swing away," Hill said. "I'm glad it worked out. Thankful to how the boys battled the entire game. I just came in and did what I could to help the team."
So, why did he keep hustling into second base, even though the winning run had already scored?
"That was just pure instinct, to be honest with you," Hill said, sheepishly.
The Tigers dodged a bullet in the top of the 11th. With the bases loaded and one out, right-hander Bryan Garcia fell behind Christian Yelich 3-1, but got him to bounce into a 6-4-3 double-play.
"The game was on the line and that was a very difficult part of their order," Hinch said. "There was no margin for error there. It was a very good inning for Bryan."
The Tigers missed their own golden opportunity to end it in the bottom of the ninth. Brewers lefty Josh Hader walked Jonathan Schoop, Grossman and Miguel Cabrera to load the bases with one out.
But the All-Star first struck out Jeimer Candelario and then, on his 32nd pitch of the inning, Eric Haase to end the threat. The Tigers struck out 18 times in the game, nine after the delay.
"Hader can dial it up with the best of them," Hinch said. "No situation is too big for Josh Hader. He's the back end of an elite team for a reason and he showed us why."
Tigers de facto closer Gregory Soto pitched a scoreless ninth and 10th innings, with three strikeouts. Tigers relievers allowed one hit after the delay. Brewers relievers didn't allow a hit after the delay.
The Brewers had won five straight and own the best road record in baseball (49-25)
Before the deluge, though, the game was in the right arms of two guys named Peralta.
Freddy got the first 12 outs in just 40 pitches. Candelario was the only Tiger to reach base against him for the first five innings. Candelario was hit in the wrist or forearm with a 92-mph fastball in the second inning, then dropped a broken-bat, bloop single behind third base leading off the fifth.
Willi Castro singled and Schoop was hit in the leg with another errant pitch from Freddy. But the Tigers couldn’t capitalize.
Freddy, making his third start after missing time with shoulder soreness, struck out nine. He bullied he Tigers with his four-seam fastball. He got six misses on 13 swings and 11 called strikes with it. He also deftly mixed a slider and curve ball.
It didn’t come quite as easily for Wily, but he matched Freddy out for out, allowing just two singles and two walks in his six innings.
It was the third time this season that Wily Peralta has pitched six or more innings of shutout ball. He blanked both Texas and Minnesota over seven innings earlier this season. On Tuesday, the velocity on his four-seam fastball was up 1.2 mph on average. His slider was different, too – firmer (85 mph vs. his season average of 82) with 36 more rpms of spin.
He struck out five and got six ground-ball outs.