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Tigers come from behind twice, take out Twins in 13 innings, 11-10

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Final - 9.25.2010 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 R H E
Minnesota Twins 5 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10 16 2
Detroit Tigers 1 1 0 5 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 11 21 2
WP: Daniel Schlereth (1 - 0)
LP: Pat Neshek (0 - 1)

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If this was the goodbye game for Jeremy Bonderman, he sure didn't want us to forget him, or his penchant for giving up runs in the 1st inning.

So he gave up a quite memorable five.

In what is likely his final start as a Tiger, Bonderman gave up those five first inning runs, four on a grand slam by Danny Valencia. Two more were charged to him in the 5th, giving up back to back home runs to Jason Kubel and Valencia, in what what turned into another five spot inning for the Twins.

The line from Bondo's final home appearance wasn't pretty. Actually, it was pretty...damn ugly: 4 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 3 HR.

It's not how I wanted to see Bonderman go out at Comerica. But it wasn't totally unexpected, either. After all the shoulder injuries, Bonderman just isn't a very good pitcher right now, and may never be again.

Thinking even more fireworks were needed, Eddie Bonine just tossed more fuel on the fire, giving up the other three runs of the inning.

Then something odd happened. The Twins stopped scoring runs.

Good thing, as the Tigers had been slowly clawing their way back into the game the entire time. One run in the 1st, another in the 2nd. In the 4th, the Tigers exploded for five runs of their own, as Alex Avila led off the inning with a solo shot. Don Kelly and Miguel Cabrera proceeded to hit two run shots, giving the Tigers a 7-5 lead...which Bonderman and Bonine quickly gave back, as the Twinkies surged ahead, 10-7.

But the Tigers countered the Twins' five with two more runs of their own. Austin Jackson (who joined some elite company during the game) and Ryan Raburn hit sacrifice flies in the bottom of the inning, knocking Tiger killer Carl Pavano out of the box in the process.

If this recap is making your head spin...well, you aren't alone. Runs were scoring in bunches! Both teams had posted double digit hits by the 4th inning! The ball was just flying in, around and out of Comerica Park!

Then just like that...it wasn't.

What had been a slugfest became a battle of the bullpens. The Twins used eight relievers on the night, the Tigers six.

The Tigers' bullpen shut down the Twins' bats after their big 5th inning. Same for the Twins' pen and the Tigers' bats, save for scratching across a run in the 7th. Jackson singled, stole second and scored on a Raburn single, tying the game at 10 all.

The Tigers' Daniel Schlereth entered the game in the 12th, getting the final two outs of the inning with a runner in scoring position. I guess that wasn't interesting enough for the rookie lefty, because it got FAR more interesting in the 13th.

After a Denard Span infield single, a sacrifice bunt and a steal of third, the Tigers intentionally loaded the bases. Schlereth muscled up, bore down. and struck out the dangerous Kubel and Valencia.

It was fait accompli at that point. This was going to be the Tigers' game.

Johnny Damon singled, Cabrera followed with another single, and Jhonny Peralta reached on Valencia's error at third. After Brennan Boesch hit into a fielder's choice (more on his awful night later), Brandon Inge (who tied a long-time record tonight) lined a single to right. Cabrera strolled home with the Tigers' 11th run and the 21st of the game.

The marathon was finally over.

At least Bonderman didn't get saddled with a loss in his (quite likely) last appearance in Detroit.

Bullets!

  • The wait is over! With a 3rd inning K, Brandon Inge tied Lou Whitaker for the most strikeouts in a career at 1,099. Of course, it took Sweet Lou 19 seasons and 9,967 plate appearances to set the mark. Inge was in a hurry, and got there in a little more than half the time, 10 seasons and 4,839 plate appearances. Inge then made the career record his own with two more strikeouts. Hey, if you're going to get there anyway, get there in a hurry, I always say...
  • Austin Jackson, who had a great game (4 H, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 SB) also joined elite company tonight. When he scored in the 1st, Jackson became the 9th major league rookie since 1901 to post 100 runs, 170 hits, 30 doubles, 10 triples and 20 stolen bases in the same season. It's pretty damn good company. The last two rookies to accomplish the feat were Nomar Garciaparra in 1997 and Hanley Ramirez in 2006. AJax has to be AL Rookie of the Year, doesn't he?
  • Miguel Cabrera added two more RBI to his MLB lead, he now has 124. His home run was number 37 on the season. Miggy has to be the AL MVP, doesn't he?
  • Every Tigers starter got at least one base hit...save for one. So I have to mention tonight's adventure in Brennan Boesch futility. This was easily Boesch's worst game of the season. He was 0-7 at the plate, and added an error in right field for good measure. Hard to believe Boesch is the same player who was thought to have been a All-Star game snub after his electric first half.

With the victory, the Tigers are 51-29 at home thru 80 games. Sunday is the 81st and final game of the season at Comerica Park. Finishing off the Twins with a sweep would be a nice way to end one of the Tigers' most successful home seasons on record.

It's great the Tigers play like pennant contenders at home. Now if they could only do something about turning into cellar dwellers when on the road ...