Well, that was kind of unexpected. A ninth-inning comeback by the Tigers? From the team that treated this series like it was the Friday before leaving for a two-week vacation? (Although they did come close last night.) Are you flabbergasted? Shocked? Caught off-guard? Have we taken that joke as far as it can go now?
For 7 2/3 innings, this looked like a classic getaway (though they're not going anywhere this weekend), day-game-after-a-night-game, mail-it-in performance from the home team. Once again, the Tigers made a Toronto starting pitcher look brilliant. Jesse Litsch pitched a shutout seven innings, giving up only four hits to a Detroit lineup that didn't appear interested in scoring any runs.
But once Litsch left the game, somebody flipped a switch. Or maybe Litsch was just that good, and Tigers batters were thrilled to see someone else throwing the baseball. Against Jesse Carlson, Curtis Granderson hit a drive deep into the right-center gap that Vernon Wells amazingly ran down. And maybe after that, you thought, "Well, it's not just going to happen today." (That's assuming you were even watching by this point.) Could you have guessed that was the beginning of a rally?
Yet after Jason Frasor came in and walked Placido Polanco, he got Magglio Ordonez to pop out to shallow center for the second out of the inning. Another squandered opportunity in a season full of them, right? Not so fast, my friend. A wild pitch moved Polanco over to second, putting him in scoring position for Miguel Cabrera, who obliged with a single to left to tie the game. Two walks later (one intentional), Edgar Renteria - who did his best to fuel the Tigers' rally last night with a two-out, two-run double - once again played the late-inning hero by smacking a two-out, two-run double to left-center. The lead! And that lead got even better when Brandon Inge drove in two more runs with a single off Shawn Camp. All with two outs!
To quote Mike McClary via IM, "All heart, baby!" (Was his tongue in cheek? You can just never tell over instant message.)
And since the rally came while Armando Galarraga was still the pitcher of record, he was rewarded with the victory, which he really deserved after allowing just one run and six hits (with six strikeouts) in eight innings. Taking a loss for that kind of effort would've been just one more humiliating kick to the cookies in what's been a soul-crushing series.
But not today. Tiger Pride! It's there somewhere.
It was kind of a look-between-the-fingers day in the GameThread, but those that bothered to check in on today's game got something to cheer about at the end.
Thanks to TigerTom (Welcome!), who came strong today, along with longview, Zappatista, Jerkwheat, PBURGTIGER, the aforementioned MikeMcClary, pfuhrmeister, Tigsfan, cannonad03, densogirl, ahtrap, and gf206 for showing their stripes. Tiger Pride!