Earned His Tiger Stripes: Bonderman 8.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 7 Ks, .560 WPA
Bonderman in reality was the Tiger of the game in this one -- and for obvious reasons -- but there is no doubt that the most important moment of this game was an eighth-inning, two-out solo home run by Marcus Thames. The long shot to left field, one of only three Tiger hits on the evening, put the Tigers ahead 1-0 late in the game and gave the Twins only three outs to put a run up on the board.
The Tigers had a similar game last season, against these same Twins. Vance Wilson hit a two-run shot off of Johan Santana in the eighth inning that put the Tigers ahead for good in that one; Those kind of games were what made last year such a wild ride following this team. Hopefully we can see the Tigers win a few more of these close games with exceptional pitching and late production from the lineup down the road this season.
As for Marcus Thames, the game-winning homer was a nice change of pace from his normal, nothing-spectacular season as a Tigers' bench player in '07. If we see a few more hits like this, maybe Jim Leyland will find a way to get him some more time in LF alongside Craig Monroe -- who tonight went 0-3 including a GIDP, dropping his average to .223.
For the Tigers, this was an important one to win. They avoided the sweep against a division rival closing in fast.
Up Next: Tuesday vs. Indians, 7:05 pm