Detroit Tigers’ Top 10 Games of 2014: #9 August 28 vs New York Yankees

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Motor City Bengals has picked the top 10 games of the Detroit Tigers’ 2014 season. We continue with #9 today and will present another game each Sunday until reaching the best Tigers’ game of the season. 

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#9: August 28, Comerica Park — Detroit Michigan 

When the Detroit Tigers headed into this matinée match up with the New York Yankees, they had reached the deepest hole of the 2014 season. Prior to this Thursday game, Detroit found themselves 2.5-games behind the first place Kansas City Royals.

The Tigers and Yankees had split the first two games of the series with Detroit claiming the first game when Rick Porcello went eight innings and won his 15th game of the season (it would turn out to be the last win for him in 2014). The next day David Price was lit up for nine consecutive hits and eight runs in the third inning to drop the middle game.

The Tigers were turning to rookie Kyle Lobstein in the series finale. A couple of days earlier he had made his major league debut and went nearly six innings in relief in Minnesota. This would be the first start of his career and would turn out to be one of several stellar starts for Lobstein.

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A slumping Alex Avila opened the scoring in the second inning when his sac fly scored Nick Castellanos. In the ensuing inning, Jacoby Ellsbury continued his torrid hitting against Detroit pitching, tying the score with an RBI single. One inning later, New York took the lead.

It did not take long for the Tigers to even the score when Rajai Davis singled home Don Kelly in the fifth inning. It would stay 2-2 for a while and the fate of the game fell to the dreaded bullpen.

Detroit used Blaine Hardy, Joba Chamberlain, and Phil Coke in relief. The duo pitched very well until reaching two outs in the ninth inning. Chamberlain walked Mark Teixeira and was pulled for Coke. He promptly allowed a single to Carlos Beltran to move the go-ahead run to third base. McCann stepped up and drilled one down the right field line that looked off the bat like a devastating three-run homer. Instead it hooked just foul and Coke came back to strike him out.

Victor Martinez opened the bottom of the ninth with a double. J.D. Martinez was issued an intentional walk and the logic worked out as Castellanos struck out. Torii Hunter pinch hit for Kelly and struck out, which left the game up to Avila.

Alex smoked the ball to deep right field and just missed going out of the park, but it didn’t matter. Pinch runner Bryan Holaday scored easily and Avila saved the day.

A few hours later Kansas City lost, allowing Detroit to pick up a game in the standings. Two days later, the Tigers tied for the lead in the division. Though they would eventually fall back to second, this game was a catalyst for helping them overtake the Royals for good on Sept. 12.

Next week, we will look at the eighth-best Detroit Tigers’ game of 2014. Hint: It involves another walk-off and an unlikely hero whose stay in Detroit was all too brief. 

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