Detroit, MI – Jhonny Peralta crushed a grand slam to cap an eight-run sixth inning that propelled the Detroit Tigers to a 12-4 win and a three-game interleague sweep of the spiraling Philadelphia Phillies at Comerica Park.
The AL Central-leading Tigers plated 12 unanswered runs without slugger Miguel Cabrera, who was ejected along with manager Jim Leyland in the third inning.
Peralta's home run was just one of two hits in an absolute ugly frame for Philadelphia during which the club committed three errors. After opening this nine-game road trip with a win against the New York Mets, the Phillies dropped eight in a row to fall a season-worst seven games under .500 (49-56).
"We got a few gifts today that we took advantage of. We caught a team that is missing some of their key players, they lost some guys in the bullpen and they had young guys that struggled throwing strikes," said Leyland.
Despite having steady traffic on the bases, the Tigers were held scoreless through the first four innings by starter Jonathan Pettibone while the Phillies built a 3-0 lead. Detroit, however, knotted the game against the rookie in the fifth before the Philadelphia bullpen and shoddy defense turned the contest into a rout.
For the second time in three innings, the Tigers loaded the bases with no outs. Matt Tuiasosopo made it four straight singles to start the fifth, plating Ramon Santiago with Detroit's first run. Groundouts by Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez each produced a run before an over-the-shoulder grab by second baseman Kevin Frandsen in center field preserved the tie.
Tuiasosopo pinch-hit for Cabrera after the latter was thrown out while batting with the bases loaded by home plate umpire Chad Fairchild. Cabrera disagreed with two called strikes and appeared to mutter something. After Cabrera was tossed, Leyland came out to defend his player and also got the hook.
Pettibone gave way to the bullpen after five innings. Jake Diekman (0-1) walked Andy Dirks to begin the decisive sixth, then made a wild throw to second after fielding an Alex Avila bunt. Santiago beat the lefty reliever's throw on another bunt to load the bases with nobody out.
After Austin Jackson flied out, Don Kelly sent a Diekman pitch that rookie left fielder Steve Susdorf dropped. Dirks likely would have scored on the play, but the error reloaded the bases and resulted in a pitching change.
Luis Garcia took over and promptly walked Tuiasosopo on four pitches. Fielder then hit a high chopper to first, but a high throw from Darin Ruf pulled catcher Carlos Ruiz off the plate, allowing Santiago to score. Martinez drew another bases-loaded walk in front of Peralta's fourth career grand slam, a no-doubter over the left-field wall.
It marked the first time the Phillies allowed eight unearned runs in a single inning since May 22, 1997 versus the Mets.
"I've seen us take a lot beatings, but I won't say that tops it. But, at the same time, that was a rough inning, real rough," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.
Hernan Perez singled home Jackson in the seventh to make it 12-3 and Frandsen brought in a run in the eighth to account for the final score.
Ruiz, Ruf and Laynce Nix each hit an RBI single off Detroit starter Rick Porcello (8-6), who allowed seven hits over six innings.
The Tigers have won seven of their last eight games ... Porcello won his fourth straight start ... Pettibone has allowed three earned runs or less in 15 of his 18 career major league starts, including each of the last seven ... Susdorf notched his first major league hit with a leadoff double in the fifth ... The Tigers were 6-for-20 with runners in scoring position.