Free passes don't get handed out very often at BYB, but we were ready to write one out for Edwin Jackson when the lineup for today's game was announced. (Three hours before the game was actually played, by the way, thanks to a three-hour rain delay.)
At any point during today's game, the White Sox could have gone through a bottom three of Gerald Laird, Ramon Santiago, and Adam Everett, followed up by a top three of Josh Anderson, Ryan Raburn, and Clete Thomas. Yes, Jackson had been amazing in his past two starts, and certain guys in the lineup needed a day off after four games in three days. But giving a pitcher at least the promise of run support wouldn't have been a bad thing.
Jackson didn't have his best stuff or control, but he held the White Sox to two runs and five hits over five innings. (He did issue four walks, however.) Unfortunately, the lineup performed as poorly as expected (especially against a pitcher like Gavin Floyd) and couldn't give Jackson any runs. But they finally broke through in the eighth when Ramon Santiago hit a solo homer to put the Tigers on the board. (... Yes!) That seemed to wake the team up and give them some juice going into the final inning (even when Nate Robertson gave that run right back on a home run by A.J. Pierzynski).
The chances of a comeback didn't look good against Bobby Jenks, who has 20 saves in 31 appearances versus Detroit, with a 1.59 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 36 innings. But the Tigers gave Jenks an example of what's won them several games this season. Unexpected hitting (a single by Raburn), speed (a stolen base), and power from Curtis Granderson. Jenks teed up a fastball low-and-in, and Grandy uppercut it deep to right field for a game-tying two-run homer. Offense when needed.
But the White Sox had the last shot at winning in the bottom of the ninth, and Joel Zumaya let them take it. Zumaya loaded the bases on a single, a throwing error that gave Tigers fans chilling flashbacks to the 2006 World Series, and a walk to the first three hitters he faced. So he had no margin for error left. Zumaya actually got ahead of Scott Podsednik 0-2, but Podsednik fought back by fouling off the next three pitches. He then knocked a 101 m.p.h fastball (according to MLB Gameday) into right for the game-winner.
It was a tough loss, but considering how it began and the comeback that followed, along with Detroit already winning three games in this series, perhaps some of the sting was taken away. (We don't want to speak for anyone else who may have felt a stomach punch on this one, however.) Regardless, this long, cold, wet slog of a five-game series is over, and the Tigers performed better than many expected. Onto Pittsburgh for some Interleague Play.
Comment of the Day:
Home runs by Tigers Killers bring out the best references in everyone, it seems:
I hate you Jim Thome…I hate you….by Tagne13