"Walk-off" had an entirely different meaning at Comerica Park Wednesday night.
It wasn't the prettiest game, with both the Tigers and Cubs walking seven batters, and Detroit also using seven pitchers. (Putting Joel Zumaya back out there after giving up a bad homer on Tuesday was a deft bit of managing by Jim Leyland, however.) Rick Porcello needed 97 pitches to get through five innings, while Rich Harden threw 109 in his 5.1 innings. Both lineups combined for 21 hits, yet scored just eight runs, leaving a total 21 runners on base. And Fernando Rodney needed 24 pitches (14 of them strikes) to close out the game.
But the Tigers got the big hits when they needed them, especially home runs from Miguel Cabrera and Gerald Laird, along with a bases-loaded single from Adam Everett that put the home team ahead for good. (That go-ahead run, by the way, should really be charged to Geovany Soto who dropped a foul pop-up by Marcus Thames. Thames walked two pitches later, and eventually scored.) We should probably also credit Aaron Heilman and Carlos Marmol for both walking in runs, as well.
The final result is what matters most in Tiger Town, of course. Winning ugly is still winning. (Though I'm not sure Leyland would've agreed, given his terse demeanor after the game.) Another hard-fought win over the Cubs. A six-game winning streak.
Eight Nine games over .500. And thanks to the Twins' loss to the Brewers (the Brew Crew continues to give!), a five-game lead in the AL Central.
Those who got hits drove in runs for the Tigers tonight. (Placido Polanco being the lone exception.) And it was the bottom of the batting order that largely got the job done, collecting six hits with a homer and two RBIs. Two of those hits belonged to the freshly shorn Magglio Ordonez. Was it a breakthrough for The Big Tilde? Well, let's not get crazy. He got two singles, but still isn't driving the ball. That's fine from the seventh spot in the lineup, however.
I don't want to kick Nate Robertson while he's down. He can't be enjoying baseball right now. Especially when he's brought in to get a lefty batter out, gives up a single to Kosuke Fukudome (which loaded the bases), and is promptly replaced by Zach Miner. It's kind of tough to watch, at this point. And if you agree with Eddie's theory that Nate is still here because he refused assignment to the minors, then the endgame becomes clearer with each poor outing.
Comment of the Night:
It will probably have already happened by the time most of you read this, but I'll be on WSGW (790-AM, Saginaw) to talk Tigers at 9:35 a.m EST. (You can listen live, but I'll also try to post a clip later tomorrow.) I'll be chatting with our old buddy, Pat Johnston, who invited me onto his old show a few times during the winter. I'm looking forward to chatting with him again.