Miguel Cabrera saves the day as Detroit Tigers walk-off Chicago White Sox 4-3

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You could feel the tension in Comerica Park and throughout Tiger Nation on Tuesday evening.  After a humiliating loss to the White Sox on Monday, the Tigers knew they had to have this game.  For most of the night, it looked like the Tigers were going to put away Chicago and maintain their one game lead in the AL Central.  However, the Tigers do not like to do things the easy way.

After rolling through the White Sox lineup for eight innings, the wheels fell off for David Price in the ninth inning.  The Tigers went into the final inning leading 3-0.  Price could not maintain that lead, giving up three runs.  It would be up to the Tigers offense to deliver in the bottom of the ninth.  Miguel Cabrera played the role of hero with a walk-off single to left field, giving Detroit a much-needed victory and allowing Tiger fans across the country to breathe a huge sign of relief.

“He’s the best hitter in the game.  He’s the guy you want at the plate, so when you get runners in scoring position with him up, we are confident” – Ian Kinsler on Miguel Cabrera

The Tigers were able to end their 18 inning scoring drought when they pushed a run across in the bottom of the fifth inning.  Rajai Davis led off the inning with a sharply hit single to left field.  Rajai then advanced to second on a ground out by Ian Kinsler.  Rajai then put his game-changing speed on display by stealing third base.  The throw to third by catcher Josh Phegley got away from Marcus Semien, allowing Rajai to score the first run of the game.

Detroit was able to do some more damage in the seventh inning.  Alex Avila led off the inning with a single to right field, chasing White Sox starter Scott Carroll from the game.  Ronald Bellisario came on in relief and was able to retire Avila at second on a bad bunt attempt by Eugenio Suarez.  The Tigers were able to catch a break when Rajai Davis hit a ground ball that was badly played by third baseman Marcus Semien.  The ball trickled into left field, putting runners on first and third base with one out.  Ian Kinsler promptly stepped to the plate and drove in his career high 87th RBI on a single that was drilled to left field.

The Tigers were not done yet in the seventh inning.  Torii Hunter came through with a ground rule double down the third base line, scoring Rajai Davis.  Hunter’s 32nd double of the year gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead.  With runners on second and third and only one out, the Tigers had a chance to blow the game wide open.  However, Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez both struck out to end the threat.

Sep 23, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher David Price (14) pitches in the second inning against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

For the majority of the night, David Price looked like the pitcher we all thought he would be when the Tigers traded for him at the deadline.  He cruised through eight innings, scattering three hits with no runs allowed.  Price took the mound in the ninth inning looking for a complete game shutout.  Things did not go as planned.

Adam Eaton greeted Price in the ninth with a single to center.  Alexei Ramirez then followed with a double to left, putting runners on second and third.  Price was able to get a big out by striking out Jose Abreu, but then allowed a single to Avisail Garcia to cut the Tigers lead to 3-2.  With Joe Nathan throwing in the bullpen, Brad Ausmus walked to the mound.  The crowd immediately perked up in support of David Price.  They wanted him to finish this game.  Ausmus decided to stick with Price, much to the satisfaction of the home crowd.

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Price immediately got Dayan Viciedo to fly out to right field.  Things got a little dicey after that.  Paul Konerko stepped up and hit a bloop single to left field, putting runners on first and third with two outs.  The crowd rose to their feet, anticipating the final out of the game, but it was not meant to be.  Marcus Semien singled to right center, tying the game 3-3.  Ausmus had no choice but to go with Joe Nathan to keep the score tied and give the Tigers a chance to win it in the bottom of the ninth.  Nathan walked the first batter, but got Carlos Sanchez to fly to center to end the inning.

As the bottom of the ninth began, you could feel the nervous energy in the crowd.  A game that was seemingly wrapped up would now require the Tigers to push across a run against White Sox reliever Jake Petricka.  Luckily for Detroit, the top of their batting order was due up.

Sep 23, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) hits a game winning RBI single in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Detroit won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Ian Kinsler led off the bottom of the ninth with a single over the head of the third baseman.  Torii Hunter then drew a walk, putting runners on first and second.  It was now up to Miguel Cabrera, the best hitter in the game, to play the role of hero for Detroit.  As he has done so many times in his career, Cabrera drilled a single to left, scoring Ian Kinsler and giving the Tigers a huge 4-3 win.

This was a game the Tigers had to win.  With the Royals beating the Indians like a drum 7-1, the Tigers needed this game to maintain their one game lead in the AL Central.  David Price dazzled for eight innings, the offense woke up a bit, and a clutch hit by Miguel Cabrera allowed Tiger fans to breathe a little bit easier.  At least for one day.

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