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Swept Away: Rays 6, Tigers 5

"Geez, if only the Tigers could get some good starting pitching..." you may have said to yourself before today's ballgame. Well, they did, and it didn't matter.

Armando Galarraga gave Detroit exactly the kind of start it needed, holding the Rays scoreless for 6 2/3 innings. And even when he finally yielded after a full seven, he'd only given up one run and four hits.

"If the Tigers could just get that one big hit..." Well, they did, and it didn't matter.

Besides Magglio Ordonez twice driving in Placido Polanco after Carlos Guillen methodically moved him along to third base, Gary Sheffield finally connected with one of those wild swings (Didn't it seem like he'd drill himself into the dirt during this series?) and answered Tampa's score with a solo home run that again provided a two-run cushion.

After Tampa took a 4-3 lead in the eighth against Kyle Farnsworth (more on the bullpen later), Curtis Granderson came right back in the ninth and hit a game-tying home run. And in the 10th, Miguel Cabrera gave the Tigers the lead again with a leadoff homer of his own.

"If only the Tigers' bullpen could shut the other team down..." Okay, that's where Detroit hit a major pothole today.

If you were excited to see Farnsworth pitch in a Tigers uniform after he was acquired on Thursday, you're probably ready to ship him back to New York - or maybe China - after his performance today. The Farns took over for Galarraga and proceeded to hand the game over to the Rays by allowing hits to three of the first four hitters he faced. And two of those hits left the yard, giving Tampa the lead.

Yet the Tigers got that lead back. And that brings us to the guy who's supossed to protect it at the end of the game. The closer. Was it just a week ago that we were so excited that Fernando Rodney was taking that job from Todd Jones? The wick on that firecracker died pretty quickly.

But since I mentioned fire, let's talk about the gasoline puddle that Rodney left and lit in the 10th inning. (And if you watched this live, perhaps you'd prefer I not re-enact it for you.) He led off by walking Willy Aybar. Followed that by hitting Shawn Riggans (who's not Chone Figgins, even though when I heard the name last night, I looked up like, "Wha... ?"). Two men on. After Akinori Iwamura moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt, Rodney then walked B.J. Upton.

Now I wasn't watching with the sound on, so I don't know what Mario and Rod said (or what Dan and Jim said on the radio), but only the most optimistic of observers could have been thinking, "Well, that sets up the force at home, and maybe a double play." To such fresh-faced positivity, my only response would be "What baseball team have you been watching lately, Cowboy?"

First, Carl Crawford tied the game with a single. Rodney may have restored some hope by striking out Evan Longoria on five pitches. But the bases were still loaded, which meant soul-crushing failure was still a possibility. Rodney got ahead of Carlos Pena with a 1-2 count. Could he really escape this? "What baseball team have you been watching lately, Cowboy?"

Three more pitches from Rodney (two of which looked pretty damn close), and all of them were balls. Game over. And the rest of this season isn't looking too good, either.

Roll Call

Such a great GameThread today, which just makes the train wreck ending all the more painful. If only I could give Pepto-Bismol to pfuhrmeister, explosivo2k2, rook34, dettigionswings'stons, Grant E.,ashmark, JIMDALE, MSU4LIF, HavocRox, Wingz, MackAveKurt, Tony K, Juskimo, Zappatista, densogirl, tricks318, STEVIEYz1, skoneyhill, ThaWalrus9, and TigsFan for their nausea right now.