Oh, if only that first inning didn't happen.
Were you surprised to hear or read about the final score of this one? Admit it, you turned the game off. Tonight's GameThread emptied like there was a fire drill.
It's okay. This looked like an ugly, painful night in the making after Justin Verlander almost inexplicably gave up hits to six of the first seven Baltimore batters he faced. He fell behind just two pitches into the ballgame, leaving a fastball out over the plate, which Brian Roberts smacked into the right field seats. Three singles and two doubles later, the Orioles had a rather stunning 5-0 lead.
Game over before the Tigers even had their chance to bat? Not quite.
Curtis Granderson led off Detroit's half of the inning with a triple to centerfield (a ball that probably would've been a home run in most ballparks). Placido Polanco drove him in with a double, and just like that, the Tigers made it clear they wouldn't go down quietly. No, they didn't tie the game by the end of the first, but by answering with three runs, the home team showed some fight.
After that, Verlander did his best Gandalf imitation. You shall not pass! (Too nerdy a reference for a baseball recap?) You could just sense that the Orioles weren't going to score another run against him. But could the Tigers score more than five? That hasn't exactly been an easy hill to climb for them lately.
But climb it, they did. Ramon Santiago hit a two-out RBI single in the fourth. Then Miguel Cabrera tied the score with an opposite field shot over the scoreboard in right-center. And while the lineup clawed its way back, Verlander allowed only three more hits in another seven innings. That set the game up for someone to be the hero or the goat.
Clete Thomas stands on two legs, not four. And while goats may eat shrubs, heroes hit baseballs into the centerfield shrubbery at Comerica Park to win ballgames in the bottom of the ninth. (And thank you, Sweet Clete, for saving us from a third extra-inning game in four days.)
Comment of the Night:
I think the BYB Bunch would revolt on me if this, posted minutes before that baseball landed in the shrubbery, wasn't the COTN.