With free agency looming, who knows what the future holds for David Price. This could be his final season in Detroit.
If it is, he’s certainly making an impact.
The Tigers needed Price to stop the bleeding Saturday and that’s exactly what he did. The talented lefty erased Detroit’s eight-game losing streak in spectacular fashion, limiting the White Sox to one run in nine phenomenal innings. The complete game was Price’s second of the season and the 13th of his career. Saturday was the 27th time he’s reached double-digit strikeouts.
At one point, Price fanned seven hitters in a row. That left him two punch-outs away from tying Doug Fister’s American League record. He’s now tied for seventh in the American League with 74 strikeouts.
Price wasn’t the only star on display Saturday. On the day American Pharoah won horse racing’s first Triple Crown in 37 years, MLB’s most recent Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera launched his 12th home run of the season. Cabrera has now reached base in 25 straight games, the longest active streak in the major leagues. The 32-year-old plated more than one run for the first time since May 15.
To say Detroit needed this game would be an understatement. Before Saturday, the Tigers had gone 5-12 in their previous 17, easily the worst mark in the American League. The Tigers’ run differential during that stretch was -30. It was the team’s longest losing streak since 2005.
At least the Tigers know they can count on Price every fifth day.
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It’s hard to believe Matt Kemp led the National League in home runs as recently as 2011. We knew Petco Park wouldn’t do the Padres outfielder any favors, but how did Kemp turn into Ben Revere? He entered Saturday with just one homer in 219 at-bats this season.
Maybe it was only for a day, but Saturday Kemp was his old self. He ended his home run drought with a 380-foot strike to right center in the fourth inning. The two-time All-Star hadn’t left the yard since April 18, a span of 174 at-bats without homering. Kemp also contributed five RBI, one off his career-high set on June 4, 2011.
Yonder Alonso joined the slugfest with three hits of his own including a grand slam. Since returning from the disabled list last week, Alonso has gone 8-for-15 with six RBI.
Derek Norris did his part by gunning down a runner at second base. The Padres catcher has thrown out 19 base runners this season. That leads all major league catchers. The Padres trumped Cincinnati 9-7 to move one game over .500.
Mets Pull Plug on Six-Man Rotation
And then there were five.
“What am I going to do out of the pen?” said Gee. “I felt like there's really not a whole lot of good that comes from it … I'm almost at the point now where I just don't even care anymore.”
Tell us how you really feel, Dillon.
As a starter, Gee was doing more harm than good. He hasn’t won a game this year and his last start against the Padres was an absolute disaster (4 IP, 8 H, 7 R).
There will be opportunities for Gee in the future. The odds of all five starters staying healthy are slim to none. But for now, the 29-year-old will have to settle for long relief.
Verlander Strong in Rehab Outing
The Tigers are paying Justin Verlander $28 million this year and so far he hasn’t pitched a single game. That’s about to change.
Verlander (triceps) entered Saturday’s rehab start with one goal: to make it his last. The 32-year-old right-hander left no doubt. In 5 2/3 innings for Triple-A Toledo, Verlander scattered four hits and one unearned run while striking out nine. His fastball topped out at 94 mph. Translation: Verlander is ready for the major leagues.
Verlander seemed to embrace his minor league experience, brief as it was. He took an Instagram of the Mud Hens’ Jurassic Park-themed uniforms and treated his teammates to seafood at a local restaurant after the game.
American League Quick Hits: It felt like Jose Reyes was making up for lost time Saturday. The Toronto shortstop had three steals against Houston, one fewer than he had in his previous 26 games … Toronto’s Opening Day center fielder, Dalton Pompey, was optioned to Double-A New Hampshire on Saturday. How the mighty have fallen … 40.5 percent of the Astros’ hits this season have gone for extra bases. That leads the league … Astros first baseman Chris Carter got a rare day off on Saturday. It was his second absence of the season and his first since May 2 … Jonathan Villar belted his first home run of the year on Saturday. That ended a 91 at-bat homerless streak … If there’s one thing we know about the Angels it’s that they never quit. Carlos Perez worked a 13-pitch at-bat against Chris Capuano before striking out to end the game … Joe Kelly won for the first time at Fenway since September 27. Red Sox manager John Farrell said either Kelly or Steven Wright will head to the bullpen when Justin Masterson (shoulder) returns from the DL. Your move, Steven … Pablo Sandoval should return to the lineup Sunday against Oakland. The slumping third baseman has sat out three of the last five games and is hitting .117 since May 12 … By now you’ve probably heard about Oakland’s ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte. When asked about his bullpen, manager Bob Melvin said, “We have three and a half lefties and three and a half righties” … Jesse Chavez had his scoreless streak snapped at 15 innings. Hanley Ramirez ended it with a two-run homer to center field … Billy Burns tripled to extend his hitting streak to 11 games … Yordano Ventura only lasted three innings in Saturday’s loss to Texas. He was done in by a 35-pitch first inning … Jason Kipnis now has a 17-game hitting streak at Progressive Field. He’s hit .515 during that stretch … Indians right-hander Danny Salazar contributed his fourth double-digit strikeout game on Saturday. That ties him with Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Chris Sale and Corey Kluber for the league-lead … Speaking of Kluber, Saturday was Corey Kluber Bobblehead Day at Progressive Field … Ubaldo Jimenez only allowed one run in five innings Saturday but his six walks tied a career-high … Football stars Colin Kaepernick and Torrey Smith visited the Orioles’ clubhouse on Saturday. They were in town for a celebrity softball game hosted by Joe Haden … Vikings first-round pick Trae Waynes threw out the first pitch at Target Field on Saturday. It was the Twins’ first sellout since their home opener … Injured Twins starter Ricky Nolasco received a cortisone shot in his ankle on Saturday. He could resume throwing next week … J.R. Graham made his first start on Saturday. The Twins right-hander limited the Brewers to one run in four innings, though Milwaukee eventually won 4-2. The Twins are now 0-17 when trailing after seven innings … Don’t sleep on the Rangers. Texas is four games over .500 for the first time since April 28, 2014 … John Danks stretched his shutout streak to 13 innings Saturday but came unraveled during a five-run fifth inning … White Sox reliever Dan Jennings will begin wearing a padded cap. Jennings was struck in the head by a line drive last year while playing for the Marlins … White Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson is set to return Sunday after missing 13 games following surgery … The Tigers played a little home run derby in batting practice Saturday. The final score: Miguel Cabrera 8, J.D. Martinez 5, Yoenis Cespedes 4.
National League Quick Hits: Rockies outfielder Corey Dickerson will head to extended spring training Sunday in Arizona. He’s been out with plantar fasciitis since May 18 … Carlos Gonzalez has reached base in 17 straight games. His three-run homer Saturday was his first at Coors Field since April 25 … The Rockies have endured 15 hours and 40 minutes of rain delays at home this season … Give Christian Bethancourt style points for making his first home run a walk-off … Jonny Gomes nabbed his first steal of the season on Saturday. It’s his first theft since August 24, 2013 … Chris Johnson delivered his first home run since September 26. He had gone 70 at-bats without hitting one … Juan Uribe started at second base on Saturday. It was his first start there since 2011 … Pittsburgh’s last 15 wins have all been recorded by starting pitchers. It’s the longest streak the Pirates have had since 1990 … Before the Twins scored off him in the sixth, Brewers starter Matt Garza had thrown 11 consecutive scoreless innings … Francisco Rodriguez registered his 358th career save on Saturday. That ties him with Troy Percival for ninth all-time … Hunter Pence, out since Wednesday with wrist tendinitis, is expected to return Tuesday against the Mets. He’s hit .282 since coming off the disabled list … Two more Giants are on the mend. Jake Peavy (back) threw 69 pitches in a rehab start for Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday and Matt Cain (elbow) will pitch Tuesday for Double-A Richmond. He’s expected to throw about 50 pitches … Madison Bumgarner recorded a season-high 11 strikeouts on Saturday but he also allowed his second career grand slam. That grand slam was Jeff Francoeur’s first since 2006 … Nori Aoki reached base five times on Saturday. His .398 on base percentage is the National League’s sixth-highest … Cubs closer Hector Rondon walked the first batter he faced on Saturday. Manager Joe Maddon decided he had seen enough, replacing Rondon with Pedro Strop … Cubs outfielder Dexter Fowler had been 4-for-32 with runners in scoring position before singling home Jonathan Herrera Saturday against Washington … Tyson Ross got permission from the Padres to leave the team Saturday so he could attend his brother’s major league debut in Washington. Joe Ross gave the Nationals five strong innings but took the loss as the Cubs prevailed 4-2 … Wil Myers (wrist) will begin a three-game rehab assignment with Triple-A El Paso on Sunday. He’ll get reps at both center field and first base … Phillies reliever Dustin McGowan used the theme song from Friends as his walkup music on Saturday. It’s unclear if McGowan requested this or if the Phillies chose it for him … Yasiel Puig (hamstring) returned to the Dodgers’ lineup Saturday and went 1-for-3. The Dodgers went 21-18 during his absence … A family of skunks camped out in the Cardinals’ dugout on Friday night. At least two of the skunks were still at large prior to Saturday’s game … Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully took some time Saturday to reflect on the 71st anniversary of D-Day: “Let us not forget, we're here watching a good ballgame, watching some fine players, all because of what happened 71 years ago.”