Now that was a comeback.
The Detroit Tigers have rallied plenty of times this season when they were behind. But what they did Saturday night in Chicago stands apart from those other revivals.
We've seen pitching duels where Detroit finally broke open a close game by taking advantage of an opponent's inferior bullpen. We've seen game-tying hits and home runs. We've seen walk-off wins. And we've enjoyed many celebrations along the way.
But had we seen anything like this? Down 5-0 after four innings, on the road in hostile territory? Against a pitcher who hadn't allowed more than three runs in his last six starts? With an offense that hadn't scored a run in its last 14 innings?
I guess they were due. In a big way.
Remember last weekend, when the Tigers got all those singles against Carl Pavano, but only scored two runs? It was a bit of a different story Saturday night versus the White Sox.
After only getting one hit off Freddy Garcia in their first four innings, Detroit began to chip away at the 5-0 deficit Nate Robertson left them with. Miguel Cabrera broke the seal with a solo homer in the fifth. But that was just the beginning.
Cabrera drove in two more runs in the sixth, cutting the margin to 5-3 and suddenly making a Tigers comeback look possible. That possibility became reality in the next inning.
Four of the first Detroit batters hit singles, driving in another two runs to the game at 5-5 and chasing Garcia out of the ballgame. Tony Pena took over and promptly gave up another two singles, bringing in two more Tigers runs. The comeback was complete.
But apparently, the Tigers wanted to make sure this one stuck. In the eighth inning, Detroit strung together four straight two-out hits (fueled by Curtis Granderson's triple that was almost a homer), each of them driving in a run. The team that was down by five and looked flat-lined was up by six, with a more than healthy heart rate. Granderson finished off the avalanche of runs in the ninth with a RBI single.
Could there have been a more important win this season? Had the Tigers lost on Saturday (and taken a series loss for the second straight weekend), their lead in the AL Central would be a mere one game. And depending on what happens Sunday, they could've found themselves tied for first place as they play the Twins beginning on Monday.
But instead of a demoralizing loss, the Tigers rallied triumphantly. Perhaps their most inspiring win in a season full of stirring comebacks.
Yes, the offense roared mightily. Cabrera went 4-for-6 with four RBIs. Placido Polanco went 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Gerald Laird and Magglio Ordonez combined for five hits. And Granderson broke out of a 2-for-22 slump with a 3-for-6 night and three RBIs.
But a comeback like that doesn't happen without the pitching also shutting the opponent down. And the Tigers' bullpen put some serious clamps on the White Sox over the final 5.2 innings. Most important was Alfredo Figaro, who took over for Robertson in the fourth and allowed only one hit in almost three innings of work. If baseball teams handed out game balls, he'd get one.
Comment of the Night:
On a night in which more than 1,300 comments were posted in the GameThreads (almost 1,700, if you count the Afterglow thread - and I didn't post any comments!), this wasn't easy. And I may well have not gotten this right. There was a lot to scroll through.
But kudos to you for sticking this one out. The Tigers definitely rewarded you for your fandom.
turned into a pumpkin. And Miguel Cabrera, Curtis Granderson and Magglio Ordonez are all gods among men
And your runner-up, with visual aid. Thanks to everyone who spent their evening with BYB, and participated in one hell of a night. You guys are truly amazing. And this fun had better continue.