Jhonny Peralta is relieved that his long absence is over.
Peralta played in his first game since completing a 50-game suspension, and had a hit and an RBI in the Detroit Tigers’ 3-2 loss to the Miami Marlins on Friday night.
”I felt pretty good,” Peralta said. ”I saw the ball well, the breaking ball and everything. I made good contact.”
Peralta, who was suspended as a result of Major League baseball’s investigation into Biogenesis, the Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs, started in left field. He had his first chance on Giancarlo Stanton’s bases-loaded double in the third inning that gave Miami a 3-0 lead. The Marlins loaded the bases on Koyle Hill’s leadoff single and consecutive two-out walks to Placido Polanco and Christian Yelich.
”I played deep to him, close to the wall,” said Peralta, a career infielder trying a new position in an effort to earn a spot on Detroit’s postseason roster. ”That’s what they told me to do. He hit it perfect, close to the line. There was nothing I could do.”
Peralta’s run-scoring double chased Miami starter Tom Koehler in the sixth and cut the Marlins’ lead to 3-2.
”He was slow getting to the ball by Stanton,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of Peralta. ”But overall he did fine – first time out there in a big league game.”
The loss guaranteed AL Central champion Detroit will open the division series on the road. Oakland beat Seattle and holds a two-game lead over the Tigers for home-field advantage with two to play. The Athletics hold the tiebreaker, having won the season series 4-3.
”You can’t win a division title if you can’t win on the road,” Leyland said. ”I’ve always been proud to take my team on the road. I think sometimes – to be honest – the pressure is on the home team more.”
Stanton drove in three runs for the Marlins and Koehler (5-10) pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs and five hits while walking three and striking out three.
”We had some great at-bats, were patient,” Miami manager Mike Redmond said. ”(Stanton) was fortunate enough to come up with the bases loaded and hit it down the line.”
Ryan Webb relieved Koehler and pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings and Chad Qualls followed with a perfect eighth. Steve Cishek pitched a scoreless ninth for his 29th consecutive save and 34th in 36 opportunities.
”It was a great way to go out,” said Koehler, who battled a stomach virus before the game. ”I’ve been real pleased the way I’ve been throwing the ball the last couple of outings. I only feel the experience I’ve had here is going to help me in the future.”
The Tigers scored their first run on Austin Jackson’s run-scoring single in the fifth. Koehler struck out Andy Dirks to end the Tigers’ threat.
Detroit’s Jose Alvarez (1-5) lasted 2 2/3 innings in his return to the starting rotation after eight relief appearances. He allowed three runs and two hits, walking two and striking out three in his first start since Aug. 16.
Earlier Friday, the Marlins fired Larry Beinfest, the team’s president of baseball operations. Beinfest had overseen player personnel for the Marlins since 2002.
NOTES: Former Marlin Miguel Cabrera received a warm ovation before his first at-bat in the first inning and after he was removed for a pinch runner following his leadoff single in the sixth. Cabrera, who went 2 for 3, played with the Marlins the first five seasons of his career before being traded to Detroit in 2008. … 1B Prince Fielder was replaced by Don Kelly after he walked to lead off the second. … The roof at Marlins Park was open for the 14th time in the season..Marlins 3B Placido Polanco reached over the railing and landed in the stands to catch Don Kelly’s pop-up in the eighth inning.