Detroit 9, Chicago 7 (11 inn.) (box)
For those of you who went to bed before the bottom of the ninth, this final score must come as a shock.
For most of the game, the Tigers could do nothing against John Danks. The Chicago left hander held the Tigers to just one run, a Scott Sizemore homer, through the first 6.1 innings. But after Jhonny Peralta walked with one out in the seventh, Casper Wells launched a game-tying homer. Another walk followed and then an infield hit. Gerald Laird then gave the Tigers the lead with an RBI double and Austin Jackson drove home another with a single before Danks was lifted from the game. His line wasn’t closed yet, however, as pinch hitter Will Rhymes doubled home two more against J.J. Putz to give the Tigers a commanding 7-3 lead.
Coke allowed a lead-off double to A.J. Pierzynski, but with one out he was ahead of Manny Ramirez. That’s when the wheels started to come off for Coke. Though Mnny was having trouble catching up to the mid-90s gas Coke was throwing, he eventually worked a walk. An RBI single brought the White Sox to within three and made pinch hitter Andruw Jones the tying run. Coke walked him as well, loading the bases with just one out. Still, Coke couldn’t stem the tide and served up an 0-2 single to Juan Pierre, scoring another run and reloading the bases.
Now at 7-5, Leyland went back to the bullpen and called on Robbie Weinhardt. Weinhardt allowed the sixth run to score when Alexei Ramirez‘s chopper was hit too softly to turn two, but they did record the second out. His next two pitches found the strike zone and hope seemed restored until his 0-2 to Alex Rios sailed up and in and plunked the batter, bringing up Paul Kornerko was the sack drunk one more time.
Chicago didn’t need heroics to tie the game this time, Weinhardt took care of that all by himself by uncorking a wild pitch before eventually recording the final out of the ninth. The damage was done, however, thanks to three hits, three walks, a hit batsman, and a wild pitch. Not exactly what Leyland was hoping for in his 3000th game as a manager.
For the Tigers, the only way to top their performance in the ninth would be to find an equally unbelievable way to win. Enter Brandon Inge, with a little help from the White Sox.
After Sergio Santos sat down each of the first five batters he faced, he got ahead of Inge and struck him out, which should have ended the 11th. But the pitch was wild and Inge took off for first. Pierzynski tracked down the ball but his throw sailed up the right field line and Inge was able to motor all the way to third on a strikeout. Still, there were two outs in the inning, but Chicago wanted to part of Brennan Boesch so they opted to put him on and face Laird.
G-money lived up to his moniker last night and collected a solid single to left, bringing home Inge with the go-ahead run. Jackson followed with a double to left that scored Boesch and gave the Tigers a hug insurance run. They would need it, as Eddie Bonine was all set to enter the game in the bottom of the 11th.
As we have stated and he has proven, Bonine is not very good. He didn’t surprise anyone last night. The first two batters reached on a single and a walk and Konerko was the winning run at the plate with no one out. Then he tattooed one deep down the left field line. The would-be walk-off homer began hooking and fortunately for the Tigers, crossed just in front of the pole in left. On the next pitch, Konerko took a called strike three.
Leyland then made the best managerial decision of recent memory and removed Bonine from harm’s way, calling on Daniel Schlereth to try to close out the game. Schlereth came in throwing strikes with his slider, which was very good and got Pierzynski to ground out for the second out of the inning. But Schlereth couldn’t find the plate with his fastball and eventually walked Carlos Quentin. Now all that stood between Schlereth and his first big league save was Manny. Still struggling with fastball command, Schlereth turned to his slider and froze Ramirez for strike three, finally ending a wild night in Chicago.