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Rays beat Tigers 3-2 in 10 innings on walk off fielder's choice. Brandon Inge: "That's the only play you have"

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Final - 8.24.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E
Detroit Tigers 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 4 0
Tampa Bay Rays 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 8 1
WP: Joel Peralta (3 - 4)
LP: Duane Below (0 - 2)

Complete Coverage >


BOX

KEY STAT

I really don't have one. I'm still fuming over how game ended.

KEY PLAY

Bottom of the 10th, bases loaded, Duane Below on the mound, the Rays' Elliot Johnson at the plate. Johnson hits a ground ball to 3rd base, which Brandon Inge (who entered the game in the late innings for his defense) handles, and it looks as if the Tigers are going to the 11th...but Inge throws to 2nd instead of 1st. Ramon Santiago had been playing far off 2nd, and was unable to beat a hustling Sean Rodriguez to the bag in an extremely close, bang bang play.

Everyone is safe, run scores on, of all things, a walk off fielder's choice. Rays win 3-2.

Question. Did Inge make the right play?

He could have thrown to 1st, and likely would have had Johnson by several steps. Inge could have beat the runner to 3rd base fairly easily as well. Instead, he chose to throw to 2nd, which turned out to be the toughest play to make.

A smirking Inge was interviewed on FSD after the game:

"It's the right move...instinct's right, that's the only play you have."

So is he saying it's Santiago's fault, he was late getting to the bag? He's essentially saying as much, calling it the "only play." MLB.com's Jason Beck has more details from the clubhouse:

Inge said that's automatic choice to throw to 2nd rather than 1st. Santiago said 1st thought was to cover 2nd. Both blame ump.

So it's the ump's fault! That explains everything! No one is taking the blame. Wonderful.

Actually, you could also make a case Below should have already been out of the inning. Inge double clutched on what looked to be a double play ball off the bat of Ben Zobrist with one on and no out. Inge could only get the force at 2nd.

I have a feeling the much loved/loathed (there's no in between) Inge is going to be a very hot topic over the next day on the web, sports talk radio, and on the upcoming BYB Podcast...and in the BYB comments.

KEY THOUGHTS

BUNTS ARE THE TOOL OF THE DEVIL. The Tigers bunted twice tonight. The first was in the 3RD INNING. Once again, instead of playing for the big inning, Jim Leyland wanted one run...and got it The second was in the top of the 8th, when Don Kelly, who had gone in for defense in place of Brennan Boesch an inning earlier, sacrifice bunted his way into double play. He popped up, and Austin Jackson was doubled off. Which leads to another question. Who would you prefer to be at the plate in the 8th inning of a tie game, Boesch or Kelly?

As my friend @MonkeyWrench32 posted on Twitter:

Leyland is making me hate all forms of bunting, even the festive decorative type!

Word.

There's not much else to say...

Alex Avila hit another clutch home run, of the tape measure variety. Avila is good.

Max Scherzer threw 97 pitches in five innings. That's not going to fly. Not at all.

Daniel Schlereth and Ryan Perry combined for three innings of shutout ball. Things are looking up for the young relievers.

The rumors David Pauley is dead were highly exaggerated. He made an appearance on the mound in the 9th inning, getting one out. We may never see him again.

The Indians lost, the White Sox are losing, so the Tigers remain six games up in the Central. So there's that. But the story of the game is the final play. I'm sure you all have something to say about it in the comments.

KEY ROSTER MOVE

Earlier today the Tigers announced Miguel Cabrera would miss Thursday's game, taking maternity leave as his wife is going to have labor induced. After tonight's Mud Hens game, John Wagner of the Toledo Blade tweeted the name of who was being called up to temporarily take Cabrera's roster spot. You won't be surprised.

#Hens mgr. Nevin confirms Santos will join #Tigers "for a day or two" (Cabrera on maternity leave). Kunkel has joined @MudHens.

With the arrival of catcher Omir Santos, I hope Alex Avila enjoys his well deserved Thursday off.