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Rhymes, Avila dig the long ball: Tigers 7, Royals 5

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Final - 9.20.2010 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Kansas City Royals 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 5 16 1
Detroit Tigers 0 1 3 0 0 2 0 1 X 7 11 0
WP: Brad Thomas (6 - 2)
SV: Phil Coke (2)
LP: Zack Greinke (9 - 13)

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So as we all probably know by now, the Tigers were officially eliminated from playoff contention a few days ago. You know what, though? They're still really fun to watch, and today's game showed why.

The Tigers scored six runs (five earned) off Zack Greinke? THE Zack Greinke? And it only took three innings to get the first four? Pretty impressive stuff right there. Even if it is a down year for Greinke, he isn't the reigning American League Cy Young winner for nothing. I think it's safe to say the left-handed lineup worked.

Maybe the true highlights of the game were made by Will Rhymes and Alex Avila. In the sixth inning Rhymes hit his first MLB home run, a hit that just inched over the home run line before falling back to the field. Rhymes stood at third base while the umpires checked out the replay, then had just the biggest smile on his face as he trotted home to an unimpressed dugout. OK, it was the silent treatment, which the team held for a few seconds before swarming Rhymes in celebration.

As well they should, because that home run gave the Tigers a 6-5 lead.

Avila hit an opposite fielder in the eighth inning, but his true highlight of the night was on the defensive side when he caught a foul ball just before he flipped heels-over-head into the Royals dugout. (Hopefully we'll have a photo of that and can update.)

The only real negative tonight is that Rick Porcello appeared to take a bit of a step backwards, allowing five runs on 12 hits in 5 1/3 innings. Fortunately he didn't walk anyone. However, Porcello's line showed what can happen to a contact pitcher when everything starts to go wrong. In the five-run fifth inning, the first six Royals who came to the plate all had hits. Yuni Betancourt had a 3-run homer.

So the Tigers are two games over .500, just 3.5 behind the White Sox, and there's still 12 games left in the season.

What are you going to do, watch the Lions? Network TV? That's what DVDs or DVR are for. Enjoy baseball for a little while longer, you're sure to be rewarded.