Even though MLB Commissioner Bud Selig announced he would not reverse the call to give Armando Galarraga a perfect game, Galarraga was presented with a red Chevy Corvette before the game. Tigers manager Jim Leyland thought that yesterday would be a day for the city of Detroit to shine, and it did (I am not sure many ballparks would have been that classy).
When the umpires walked out onto the field, the fans gave a sympathetic applause for Joyce (who was set to be the home-plate umpire). Leyland had Galarraga deliver the lineup card so that fans could see Galarraga and Joyce interact. They shook hands.
“That was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen,” said Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge, who watched from the dugout. “What sets that apart from anything that’s probably happened in a long time in our sport is the absolute sportsmanship of it. I’ll tell you what, Galarraga and Joyce are two true gentlemen, period, in the way that they handled themselves. People will always remember that. I’ll never forget it.”
Miguel Cabrera and Gerald Laird (two of which let Joyce know that his call was wrong) gave him a friendly pat on the back when walking by. Laird, the catcher for Thursday’s game, apologized to Joyce before the game.
All of the outpouring of support made Joyce emotional but there was a game to be played. The other big event of the game was the return of Indians starter David Huff to the mound after being struck on the side of the head by an Alex Rodriguez line drive. Huff did not miss a start though he only lasted three innings on Thursday.
The game went back and forth between the Tigers and the Cleveland Indians. The Tigers held a 5-1 lead only to see the Indians take a 6-5 lead. However the Tigers bullpen shut down the Indians by going 3.2 hitless innings.
The Indians bullpen imploded again, capped by a five-run seventh inning. Magglio Ordonez hit a three-run homerun followed by a Miguel Cabrera homerun. Ordonez finished the game a single away from the cycle, and rookie outfielders Austin Jackson was 4-for-6 and Brennan Boesch went 3-for-4.
The Washington Nationals again took the lead against the Houston Astros and closer Matt Lindstrom, this time on a Willie Harris RBI triple (that was played poorly in left field by Carlos Lee) and a Cristian Guzman RBI single. Guzman quickly went from hero to goat, as he did not catch a fly ball off the bat of Lance Berkman in right field (he is normally a shortstop), who reached second base and Michael Bourn scored to tie the game at 4-4.
Lee followed with a two-run walk-off to turn from goat to hero. Nationals closer Matt Capps allowed the three unearned runs in less than an inning to drop to 0-3 on the season.
Josh Johnson for the Florida Marlins was again dominant in his start against the Milwaukee Brewers. He allowed just one run on seven hits in seven innings while striking out eight. Marlins catcher Ronny Paulino delivered two RBIs in the 3-2 win. For the Brewers, starter Chris Capuano returned to the big league mound for the first time since 2007. Capuano allowed three runs on seven hits in 3.2 innings.
The Atlanta Braves won again (their 9th in a row) this time defeating the LA Dodgers at Chavez Ravine. Braves starter Kris Medlen was dominant until the eighth inning when he got into trouble (reliever Pete Moylan came in with the bases loaded and allowed all three runs to score). Medlen even delivered an RBI double. The Braves held on for the 4-3 lead on the back of one of the hottest hitters in the game, Troy Glaus, who went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
LA Angels ace Jered Weaver pitched a gem against the KC Royals and their ace Zack Greinke. Weaver pitched seven shutout innings while striking out nine. However he had to hold his breath as he watched his bullpen bend but not break (they allowed four runs). The Angels held on for the 5-4 victory. Greinke dropped to 1-7 as he allowed four runs on ten hits while striking out six in six innings.