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Tigers Steal a Sweep of Tribe


Cleveland 8, Detroit 9 (box)

My wife and I arrived at the stadium and settled into our seats, all ready to watch the Tigers ace make up for a rocky first start his last time out. But Justin Verlander just didn’t have it today. Cleveland’s lead-of man Asdrubal Cabrera singled on an 0-2 pitch, which would become a common theme. In fact, Micheal Brantley followed with a two-strike hit, Shin-Soo Choo worked a walk after falling behind 1-2 and Travis Hafner drove an 0-2 offering to the warning track for a sacrifice fly. Two batters later, Matt LaPorta walked after being down in the count 1-2 and Luis Valbuena cleared the bases with a grand slam.

Just like that, The Tigers trailed 5-0 and we were 25 minutes into the game and Justin Verlander had thrown 42 pitches. And the Tigers had yet to bat. If I was at home, I would have turned the television off, or at least flipped over to the Masters.

The Tigers had opportunities to get back into the game, but couldn’t come up with the big hit. Detroit left two runners on in the first, third and fourth innings. They didn’t break through until the fifth when Miguel Cabrera’s single brought the Tigers to within 5-1, but they would strand two more runners in that frame as well.

Of course, as soon as Detroit scored, Cleveland came right back. Jhonny Peralta extended the Indians lead to 7-1 with a no-doubt shot to left off Tigers reliever Eddie Bonine. Though the Tigers were able to score twice in the bottom of the sixth, Cleveland would tack on another in the seventh, pushing them out to an 8-3 advantage with just six outs remaining for Detroit.

At that point, I looked at my wife and I asked here those fateful words… Do you want to take off early? My wife, my beautiful best friend, who was all for spending our anniversary celebration at the ballpark. “No, I wanna stay”, she said back to me. What a gal, huh?

In the Detroit half of the eighth, The Tigers had runners at second and third with no one out. A Brandon Inge single scored a run, and the Tigers got another on the double play grounder from Ramon Santiago. Still down two with none on and two out, Gerald Laird stepped in and delivered his first hit of the season, after starting 0 for 17. The whole place erupted, easily the biggest cheer of the game to that point.

But only a game this crazy could have ended the way it did. With Chris Perez on to close it down, Ryan Raburn grounded out to start the inning. A single from Magglio was followed by a walk to Cabrera. Carlos Guillen was the winning run at the plate and he scorched a double down the right field line, scoring one and setting up Inge with runners at second and third and only one out.

But Inge grounded the first pitch into the grasp of a diving Asdrubal Cabrera who was able to hold the runners and get the out. Two down for Santiago, but all of a sudden Perez can’t find the plate. Santiago walked on five pitches to load the bases for pinch-hitter Johnny Damon. Again, Perez is all over the place and Damon watches four straight balls to force home the tying run. One the very next pitch, Perez throws one to the backstop and Carlos Guillen scores to win the game for Detroit.

It was the most improbable comeback that I have ever attended. This Tigers team just flat stole that game. They had their ace put them in a 5-0 first inning hole, they fell behind by as many as six in the sixth inning. They left 18 runners on base. They got 18 hits, but 16 were singles. They walked nine times.

Cheers for

  • Gerald Laird– Hey, he finally has a batting average. Sure, it .056, but it’s an average.
  • Magglio Ordonez– Two more hits and two big RBI, Maggs is still hitting better than .470 this season.
  • Miguel Cabrera– This team will win if the big boys hit, and Cabrera is hitting. Three hits and an RBI today keeps his average above .500.
  • Carlos Guillen– The Venezuelan part of the order came through with Guillen adding two hits to the day of Maggs and Miggy before him.
  • Scott Sizemore– Congrats on your first three-hit ballgame, kid.

Jeers for

  • Justin Verlander– He just couldn’t put away anyone in Cleveland’s lineup all day. After laboring through the first, he found a way to work through five, but by then it didn’t seem like it would matter much. Two straight rough starts to open the year.
  • Chris Perez– Perez became the latest in a growing line of relievers bullied by Tigers batters. He walked three in the ninth inning, allowed two hits and wild-pitched away the game.

What’s on tap?

The Tigers stay home to welcome the Royals in for three games starting tomorrow. All of the games are 1 pm starts and all will be on FSN-Detroit. Max Scherzer will get the ball first for Detroit, followed by Dontrelle Willis and Rick Porcello. The Royals are expected to throw Luke Hochevar, Brian Bannister, and Kyle Davies at the Tigers.