Reds fall to Tigers on Fielder’s tie-breaker

CINCINNATI (AP) — Coming up even with Detroit Tigers
ace Justin Verlander left the Cincinnati Reds feeling pretty good about
themselves — even though they couldn’t close the deal with their
bullpen.

The Reds forced the reigning American League
MVP and Cy Young Award winner out of the game after six innings before
Prince Fielder drove in the tie-breaking run with a two-out single in
the eighth to lift the Tigers to a 3-2 victory
Saturday.

Cincinnati left six runners on base against
Verlander, three in his last inning, which left Reds manager Dusty
Baker lamenting the missed opportunities.

“We had him
on the ropes a couple of times, but we couldn’t come up with the big
hit,” Baker said.

Brennan Boesch started Detroit’s
two-out rally against Sean Marshall (1-3) with a double off the wall in
center field. After Miguel Cabrera was intentionally walked, Fielder —
who hit a solo home run in the fourth — softly lined a single to center
and Boesch slid across the plate just ahead of Chris Heisey’s strong
throw.

Brayan Villareal (2-1) pitched a scoreless
seventh inning to earn the win before a crowd of 42,443, the largest
non-Opening Day, regular-season crowd in the 10-year history of Great
American Ball Park.

Joaquin Benoit pitched a perfect
eighth and Jose Valverde duplicated the effort in the ninth for his 11th
save.

The Tigers took a 2-0 lead on two-out solo
home runs to right off Cincinnati starter Bronson Arroyo. Switch-hitting
shortstop Ramon Santiago hit his second homer of the season on a 2-1
pitch in the second inning, and Fielder hit his 10th on the first pitch
from Arroyo in the fourth.

Santiago’s homer, which
extended to 55 the number of consecutive games in which at least one
home run has been hit at Great American Ball Park, did and didn’t
surprise Arroyo.

“It was a 2-1 sinker on the outer
half,” he said. “That happens in this ballpark — or maybe he’s stronger
than he looks. That’s not an easy lineup to pitch to. They have a lot
of pop, and since they’re an American League team, you don’t know to
pitch to them.”

The Reds tied it in the fourth on
Heisey’s leadoff single, Joey Votto’s drive to left that Delmon Young
misplayed into a double and Todd Frazier’s two-out single to
right.

“His stuff is really good, but when you go up
there, you’ve got to have confidence that you’re going to get the job
done,” Frazier said about Verlander. “I got a little fired
up.”

Votto extended his hitting streak to a
career-high 15 games (29-for-53, .547), surpassing his 14-game streak in
2009. The streak is the longest by a Red since Brandon Phillips’
15-game streak from May 28 through June 12,
2010.

Neither starter was involved in the decision.
Verlander threw 127 pitches, his second-highest total of the season to
the 131 he threw on April 16 in a 3-2, complete-game win at Kansas City.
He allowed six hits and two runs with three walks and nine strikeouts
in six innings. Arroyo went seven innings, giving up five hits and two
runs with four strikeouts.

“I’ll take a 2-2 tie with
Verlander any day,” Arroyo said. “Once we tied it up, I figured that was
all we’d get, and we were willing to take our chances later in the
game.”

NOTES: Both teams are 3-2
in interleague play. … Cincinnati LHP Bill Bray was scheduled to pitch
an inning for Single-A Dayton Saturday night and another on Monday
during a rehab assignment. Bray has been out since April 24 with a groin
injury. … Detroit activated OF Austin Jackson from the 15-day DL and
recalled IF Herman Perez from Single-A Lakeland. The Tigers placed SS
Jhonny Peralta on paternity leave and optioned RHP Jose Ortega to
Triple-A Toledo. Perez grounded out to third in the eighth inning in his
major league debut. … Reds OF Kristopher Negron drew a seventh-inning
walk in his first major league plate appearance.