With 162 games, entire weeks can become a blur. That happens to us, too. But we put our heads together and tried to think of some of our favorite games of the year, and this is what we came up with. After you read ours, share your favorites in the comments, too.
Just after I went back to Michigan for the Bless You Boys meet-up, the Tigers were in Cleveland during the following week, so I went down to Ohio and stayed with my family down there. We went to the Tiger game at Progressive field on Aug. 7, which lasted 14 innings, each team using seven pitchers and each team getting 14 hits in the game.
Danny Salazar, the Indians' rookie pitcher, had whiffed Miguel Cabrera his first three times up, but the fourth time, Cabrera took him deep with a monster two-run homer to center field in the eighth inning to put the Tigers ahead. The Tigers won, 6-5, with Jeremy Bonderman getting the win, and went on to sweep the series in Cleveland, never looking back as they coasted to the division title.
John McGeehan's favorite:
Aug. 5 at Progressive Field. I attended due to business taking me through Cleveland at game time, and an Indians fan gave me a ticket at the gate. The Tigers' bats snoozed all game. But unlike the Marlins series, the regulars stayed in. Avila hit a three-run home run in the ninth off Chris Perez to win the game. Sanchez went 7⅔ innings, allowing two runs with 11 strikeouts. On talk radio after the game, the Indians' fans felt it was the night that ended their season. In a way they were right, because it turns out a win would have meant they ended the season tied for first in the division. But they still have the wild card.
Jon Erkkila's favorite:
Aug. 17. In the weeks after the All-Star break ,the Kansas City Royals were one of the hottest teams in baseball. However they had the misfortune of playing in the same division as another hot team, the Tigers. Despite a 15-3 stretch the Royals had actually lost a bit of ground. A five-game series in Detroit was their chance to make a statement and get back into the AL Central mix. The Tigers did win the series opener, but the Royals pitching staff rose up and bottled up the Tigers allowing a lone run in a double-header sweep on Friday.
The Tigers had taken a punch in the twinbill sweep. How would they answer on Saturday night? Well ... it was one of the better ball games of the season. A see-saw affair that saw the Tigers leap out to a 3-0 lead on big hits by Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez in the first inning and beauty of a suicide squeeze by Jose Iglesias that plated Omar Infante. The Royals fought back to tie it however against Doug Fister. Then Fielder homered in the seventh to take the lead on mighty swat deep into right-field. Jose Veras couldn't hold the lead and immediately allowed a run though he also showed some toughness to keep it tied when he pitched out of a bases loaded jam.
This led to an amazing finish. With the score tied at five, Aaron Crow took over on the hill with Miguel Cabrera at the plate. One swing. Slicing drive to right. Gone. Cabrera Moment. Great night at Comerica Park. Royals advances on first place repulsed.
Cabrera's three-homer game May 19 against Texas. He was already off to a great start, but this was the moment where everyone realized "Wow, he's really doing something special here." It was one of the more amazing games we have seen from him, which is saying something.
Hook Slide's favorite:
My favorite moment from 2013 is not likely to make anyone else's list. It was Aug. 22, Tigers vs Twins, and I was watching the game at home with my son. The Tigers were down 6-2 going into the 6th inning, and with two outs, Infante singled, Iglesias doubled, and Holaday singled to drive in one run. Austin Jackson stepped to the plate, and on an 0-1 pitch, he drove the ball into the left field seats to tie the game, 6-6. It was just me and my son at home, so we went ballistic, jumping around, hugging, high-fiving, and screaming. The Tigers went on to lose the game anyway, but for me, it's those rare moments of shared excitement that make the season so much fun.
April 17. Brayan Pena has the best 14th inning ever, driving home the game-winning RBI in the top half of the inning, then stopping the Mariners' Justin Smoak cold at the plate to win the game. In a desperate attempt to tie the game at 2-all in the bottom of the 14th with two outs, Smoak lowered his shoulder and tried run through Pena, hoping to dislodge the ball. When the dust had settled after a huge collision at the plate, Smoak was out while Pena was lying face first in the dirt, victoriously holding the ball in the air. The Tigers had won a ridiculously good pitcher's duel in ridiculous fashion at a ridiculously late hour.
April 26. The Braves came to Detroit red-hot. The Tigers were .500, up to their old ways of underachievement. What happened over the next nine innings was nothing short of total domination. Anibal Sanchez set a franchise-record with 17 strikeouts -- in eight innings. The Tigers won the game, 10-0, behind Matt Tuiasosopo's home run and five RBI.
Tell us in the comments!