|Final - 9.10.2011||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|WP: Al Alburquerque (6 - 1)
LP: Glen Perkins (4 - 4)
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September Central division W/L records:
White Sox: 4-5
The Tigers continue to curb-stomp Central division teams. They are winners of eight straight and 10 of 11, all against the AL Central. The Tigers were five games up when the streak started. With the Indians-White Sox game tied in extra innings as I write, the Tigers are now nine up with only 17 games to play.
KEY MAGIC NUMBER
Number Nine, number nine, number nine...
After entering the game as a defensive sub in the 8th, Brandon Inge ran into a 9th inning, two out, belt high Glen Perkins fastball, drilling it deep into the left field stands for the Tigers' second consecutive walk off win on FOX Saturday Baseball. Though it was somewhat less dramatic than last Saturday's rain-delayed craziness, walk offs never get old.
Say what you will about Inge (and we ALL have an opinion, be it good or bad, there's no middle ground), it was nice to see the Tigers' longest tenured player, who has been through the major and minor league wringer this season, get a moment in the sun.
Actually, all the Tigers need from Inge is what we saw this afternoon. Good defense and occasional power from the right side of the plate.
As someone who really despises how FOX handles the their Saturday afternoon game exclusivity, I could get used to this stuff...though I may have to invest in a case of Maalox.
Inge wasn't the only 3rd baseman to make noise at the plate. Wilson Benemit gave the Tigers an early lead, hitting a solo shot to right in the 3rd inning.
And a recap wouldn't be complete without mentioning Victor Martinez coming through with another big hit. This time it was a 4th inning, two out RBI single to right, scoring Andy Dirks (who had hit a looong ground rule double to dead center) to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
Max Scherzer was impressive for the 2nd consecutive start, tossing seven innings of two run ball. Though he did need help to get out of the 6th, as the Twins had runners at 1st and 3rd with no outs. Austin Jackson ran all the way to Marquette to haul in Danny Valencia's liner to deep left center. What looked like a two RBI extra base hit off the bat was turned into a sac fly, thanks to Jackson's marvelous glove. Scherzer then induced Chris Parmelee to ground into a pretty 3-6-1 double play to snuff out any remnants of a rally. Defense! Who'd a-thunk it?
Al Alburquerque's second appearance after coming off the DL was much more effective than the first. Al-Al struck out two in a 1-2-3 9th inning to become the pitcher of record, gaining his 6th win of the season. A healthy Alburquerque is a necessity if the Tigers are going to make a long playoff run.
What more is there to say about the Tigers? They are hitting on all cylinders, with pitching to match. The Tigers are playing their best baseball of the season at the absolutely perfect time. What was looking to be a pennant race to the wire as the Tigers went head-to-head with their main competition has all but become a victory lap.
After the past few white-knuckle Septembers, I'm enjoying the HELL out of the past week and a half.