Kansas City 3, Detroit 4 (box)
Magic Number 13
The box score will show that Fernando Rodney earned his 33rd save of the season in the Tigers’ 4-3 win on Wednesday night. The real save of this game, however, happened in the eighth inning, and it belonged to Brandon Lyon.
With the Detroiters clinging to a one run lead, Bobby Seay gave up singles to David DeJesus and Mitch Maier, both left handed hitters, to start the eighth, putting runners at the corners with no one out. Enter Brandon Lyon into a near impossible situation. His task: to keep the Royals off the board and preserve the lead for Detroit.
The first hitter Lyon faced was Billy Butler, who had made his living pounding Tigers pitching this season. But Lyon got Butler to hit a comebacker, Lyon checked the runner at third, then threw to first for out number one. Curiously, Lyon did not attempt to turn the double play at second base, so Maier moved up into scoring position with one out.
The next batter was Mike Jacobs and Lyon battled him to a full count before getting Jacobs on a fastball away for the strike out. Now there were tow outs and the tying run was still standing on third, where he had been when Lyon entered the game. Alberto Callaspo jumped at the first offering he saw , but popped it up to Miguel Cabrera to end the threat, and effectively end the game.
- Ernie Harwell– Harwell address the crowd in the middle of the third inning, thanking the fans for their support as he nears the final chapter of his remarkable life. Personally, from what I could tell, Harwell looked good, if a little thin. His words were positive and gracious, just as he always has been. When his journey ends, the world will lose a tremendous human being. There will never be another like him.
- Curtis Granderson– Granderson showed that in a pennant race, all things are possible. He went 2 for 4 with both hits coming against the lefty, Lenny DiNardo.
- Adam Everett– Opie knocked in two with a double and a single, going 2 for 2 with RISP. Everett has a had a knack for driving in runs in big spots this year.
- Placido Polanco– Polly had a huge two out RBI single in the sixth that gave the Tigers the lead. One batter earlier, Aubrey Huff had struck out with a runner at third, but Polly made sure the Tigers didn’t squander that chance.
- Billy Butler– Butler was 0 for 2 with RISP and left the tying run at third in the eighth in what was the Royals best chance. You could throw Mike Jacobs in here too, but Butler is the guy you fear if you’re a Tigers fan.
What’s on tap
The Tigers wrap up the season series with KC this afternoon when Edwin Jackson opposes Zack Greinke. Greinke (13-8, 2.19) has not earned a decision in either of his past two starts, but has allowed just one run over 15 innings of work. Greinke will be making his fifth start of the season versus Detroit, he holds a 2-1 record with a minute 1.16 ERA and 34 strike outs in 31.2 innings. Jackson (12-6, 3.22) has split two decisions against the Royals this season with a ERA of 3.65.
The White Sox fell to Seattle last night, and now sit a distant third at 6.5 games back. The White Sox still play the Tigers six more times, but they are probably too far back to matter at this point.
Minnesota completed a sweep of Cleveland yesterday to keep the pressure on the Tigers. Minnesota is off today as they await the Tigers for a three game set in the Metrodome starting tomorrow. It will be the final trip to the Metrodome for Detroit, as the stadium is closing at season’s end.