BYB's newest tagline - "A Theme Park Ride of Emotions!" - isn't just there because it's pretty. It has the clear ring of truth to it. Cedar Point ain't got nothin' on the ride the Detroit Tigers gave their fans tonight.
Edwin Jackson held the Cubs to two runs and four hits over seven innings (though he was hardly at his sharpest, as his four walks indicate). And thanks to Brandon Inge's two-run homer in the seventh, Jackson had a 3-2 lead when he came out of the game. But he came out of the game, and that's where the trouble began.
Joel Zumaya took over, and was throwing rockets. He touched 103 or 104 m.p.h., depending on whose radar gun you prefer to believe. With Milton Bradley and Derrek Lee having no chance against that kind of smoke, Micah Hoffpauir decided to sit on an off-speed pitch. And unfortunately, Zumaya accommodated him, following three straight fastballs by hanging a 85 m.p.h. change-up right in the middle of the plate.
(Zumaya admitted in a post-game interview that he shook off Gerald Laird three times before throwing that pitch. And that might be the last we see of the change-up for a while, based on what Zumaya said.)
Hoffpauir wasn't the only one with some late-inning heroics in him, however. Carlos Marmol mowed down the Tigers in the bottom of the eighth, but they still had a chance in the ninth against the Cubs' closer, Kevin Gregg. After walking Don Kelly to begin the inning, Gregg hung two sliders high in the strike zone to pinch-hitter Ryan Raburn.
But that second one caught much more of the plate. And Raburn didn't let it go by, launching a bomb to left-center field for a two-run, walk-off home run, and bringing the thrill ride to a fantastic finish.
Inge not only struck what looked to be the game-winning homer, but he did it as part of a touching tribute. He visited a patient at Mott Children's Hospital earlier in the day, a boy who autographed Inge's right forearm ("Tommy"). Inge returned the favor by giving him one heck of a memory later in the evening with that two-run shot (and a 2-for-3 night at the plate).
It's certainly much easier to root for Inge when he's putting up the numbers he has this season. But this was a reminder that he's a player worth cheering for, regardless of performance.
Comment of the Night:
If Maggs hadn’t started, they wouldn’t have replaced him with Anderson, and then replaced HIM with Raburn.
That Leyland. He sure can strategerize.
Calling Inge's homer is good for a runner-up, don't you think?
Oh, and I'm not sure how the ladies of the BYB Bunch feel about it, but we might have ourselves a new Rally Mascot. And this one was pretty effective tonight.