Does anyone else have Journey running through their head right now?
Don't stop believin'... Hold on to that feelin'...
I know I'm not the only one. C'mon. Don't be shy.
For the second consecutive Sunday, the Detroit Tigers brought out the big stick for some late-game heroics. Last week in Detroit, it was Placido Polanco's three-run homer in the eighth that stole a victory from the Tampa Bay Rays. Today, Brandon Inge got to wear the cape.
Inge was looking like an unlikely hero heading into the ninth inning, given that he was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. He was getting fitted for the ol' golden sombrero. But with the bases loaded, Russ Springer had to give Inge something to hit after trying to get him to chase two pitches high and out of the strike zone. Springer then hung a slider out over the plate, Inge didn't miss it, crushing it to left for a grand slam.
Just like that, it can change. Especially when facing that Rays bullpen.
The Tigers were down 3-1 in that fateful ninth inning. But as with the other games in this series, they hung around until Joe Maddon brought in the wrong reliever to give up the big hit. This time, it was Springer. He can commiserate with Randy Choate, J.P. Howell, and Grant Balfour. Detroit has been equal opportunity destroyers in their seven games versus Tampa.
One week into September, the Tigers now have the look of a team coming together. We wondered how this team would respond to the pressure of the pennant race, with the Twins and White Sox seemingly ready to pounce on a late-season downfall. Obviously, there's still plenty of baseball left to be played. But winning the first six games of September, including a sweep of the defending AL champs in their ballpark, certainly sets the tone.
So does a seven-game first-place lead on Labor Day.
Okay, we've talked plenty about the offensive heroics, but what about the pitching? Edwin Jackson came into today's game struggling a bit. But against his former team for the first time (one night after receiving his AL championship ring from the Rays), Jackson looked more like the pitcher who's helped lead this playoff drive. Throwing eight innings - his longest outing in his last seven starts - he held the Rays to three runs and six hits.
And how about Brandon Lyon? The guy who was presumably signed in the offseason to be the Tigers' closer notched his second straight save, filling in for Fernando Rodney. Once again, Tigers fans were treated to a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
Comment of the Day:
Oh, there are just so many options to choose from. But let's go with the first one to express this sentiment.
gets a whimper for tonight. but hey, the 8th is coming up and their bullpen is coming in…by mrsunshine
Oh, we tease because we love. Besides, it's not like he was the only one.
Hey, I'm the guy who stopped watching the game early for "family time." Bah. Family. Why don't I just stick with that which brings me joy? But I did have a feeling (and thanks to ahtrap for pointing that out).
By the way, if you want to see some great burying of the lede, check out the recap at DRaysBay. Again, we tease with love.