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Oh Jackson! Game-ending double play leads Tigers to weekend sweep

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Final - 8.21.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cleveland Indians 0 0 0 5 1 1 0 0 0 7 13 0
Detroit Tigers 0 0 7 1 0 0 0 0 X 8 11 0
WP: Phil Coke (2 - 8)
SV: Jose Valverde (37)
LP: Ubaldo Jimenez (1 - 1)

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BOX

KEY STATS

4.5 games -- The Tigers have their biggest division lead of the season

2-for-4, HR, 4 RBI -- Delmon Young had a great game

3.2 IP, 5 R -- Rick Porcello did not

KEY PLAY

You know the key play, so just watch the video.

KEY THOUGHTS

It was the best, and biggest, win of the season in what really felt like the worst game. In retrospect, you can point to several worse games, notably when the Mets and Giants were in town. But had the Indians actually won the game, no doubt, that would have been the worst game. That might be a rambling introduction, but I apologize as the rest of this post gets no better. In many ways, that alone parallels how the game felt.

I turned the game on in my car just as the first out of the ninth inning was recorded. I know Jose Valverde hasn't blown a save, but given the plot line in the game -- a 7-0 lead that dwindled to 8-7 -- that really meant little. Then a shallow fly ball to Austin Jackson. Two outs, I thought. But Dan Dickerson tells me Kosuke Fukudome is running home. "Oh $%!" I think. But what did I have to worry about? Austin Jackson's got this. And he did. Much celebrating by radio and TV folks alike ensued. I may even have made a little fist pump.

So the game ended on a high note. For the final five innings or so, that was far from certain. In fact, it was downright frightening contemplating the meaning of losing a seven-run lead to one of your key division foes in the middle of August. Not good. Not good indeed. Tried not to think of it any more than that.

The Tigers looked like they would win in a laugher when they ran out to a 7-0 lead after three innings against Indians (ace?) Ubaldo Jimenez. All the premature celebrating by Tigers fans must have ticked off the baseball gods. Or maybe it's just that the Indians are a worthy opponent. In any case, it was quickly 7-5 and Rick Porcello was watching from the bench. He was soon joined by Duane Below, Ryan Perry and Daniel Schlereth, none of whom impressed their manager greatly. By the time the game was over, every reliever but David Purcey Pauley got into the game.

Still, as bad as the pitching was, we have to point toward several key position players. Ramon Santiago made several nice plays at second base. I've never been one to see him as the primary starter at the position, but I'm quickly rethinking that. In the fifth inning, his diving stop of a line drive and throw to first base from his knees was quite nice. With the lineup now settling in with several of the black holes removed, I think Detroit actually can carry Santiago as the starter.

Delmon Young may have worn out his stay in Minnesota, but his fresh start in Detroit has been wonderful. He was key today, as he went 2-for-4 with a home run and 4 RBI. He can certainly count on having a lot of support from the fans at Comerica Park.

Alex Avila really deserves a day off. I cannot believe how beat up he is getting. Back there he was holding onto the ball after he took the blow at home from Fukudome.

Austin Jackson had two hits, Wilson Betemit had two hits and a walk.

Enjoy it for a day, because the Tigers travel to Tampa for a four-game series. That won't be easy, but a good showing there will set up the Tigers for the final push. Fortunately, Monday is Justin Verlander Day!