I'm not about to compare this season to 2006; that would be ludicrous. But one of the great things about that season was that there seemed to be a different hero every night. Craig Monroe, Carlos Guillen, Magglio Ordonez... even Vance Wilson had his turn as a late-game hero.
Against a pitcher who had no-hit stuff for five innings, this game initially looked like those we'd seen so often in April or May. Another fine pitching performance by Kenny Rogers may have been wasted by a lineup that couldn't generate any offense. Nowadays, however, the Tigers are getting the big hit when they need it. Tonight, that came from Ryan Raburn, who pinch-hit for Rogers in the eighth inning. Raburn crushed the second pitch he saw from Sanchez high and deep (deep!) into the left field seats to break a 1-1 tie.
But the game was truly put away by the guy who's been wearing the cape so well over the past five games. All good things have to come to an end? Someone tell Marcus Thames that. For the fifth straight game, The Hammer nailed a baseball out of the park. This one was blasted to dead center field, ricocheting off the wall behind the fence. The man's last eight hits have been home runs, and I don't know how we're able to look directly at him on TV without being blinded.
Not even a typical roller coaster ninth from Todd Jones (Three hits? Really, Jonesy?) was going to ruin this one.
Here's one more happy note to take to bed: With Cleveland's 10-2 loss at Colorado, the Tigers are now tied for third place in the AL Central, 6 1/2 games behind the White Sox.
Oooh, it was a hot one in the GameThread tonight! And unlike last night, we were rewarded for staying up late with the Tigers.
Fist-bumps to ThaWalrus9, rook34, beefshower (Good luck on the bar exam), spotstarters, rock n rye, pfuhrmeister (Congrats to the Celtics), Tony K, Zappatista, busta, cannonad03, Grant E., Tigsfan, syratiger, densogirl (keep bringing the Vernor's), rossjohnson87 (Rojo!), spartyboy40 (thanks for posting the lineups), and EricV (Welcome!) for making it a fun night.