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Tigers 9, Indians 8: What the heck just happened?

The Tigers scored six unanswered runs against the Cleveland bullpen to pull within a game of the lead for the division.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

In their biggest series so far this season, the Detroit Tigers pulled off their biggest comeback to down the Cleveland Indians 9-8 and move within a game of first place in the hunt for the AL Central Division crown. Yeah, I know it’s mid-May. It seems like ages ago that Francisco Liriano took the mound against Josh Tomlin, but after three and a half hours of pure insanity, the Tigers proved victorious to assure at the very least a series win against Cleveland.

Liriano’s regression tour continued as he gave up a leadoff single to Rajai Davis, and then walked both Michael Brantley and Francisco Lindor to load the bases with one out. After striking out Yan Gomes on three pitches, Brandon Guyer, who had an OPS of .548 coming into the game, sent the first pitch he saw over the Tigers’ bullpen in left field for a grand slam. The night was off to a whimsical start.

Not to worry, however, as JaCoby Jones led off the Tigers’ half of the first with his third home run of the year. With the Tigers now trailing 4-1, Liriano was courteous by giving the run right back to the Indians in the form of a lead off solo shot from Erik Gonzalez, his first of the year. For Liriano, it was his second straight start where he failed to make it through five innings, lasting only four-and-a-third innings, giving up five runs on seven hits, three walks, and 91 pitches.

With the Indians extending their lead to 8-3 in the top of the sixth inning, Nicholas Castellanos made his triumphant return to the lineup with a solo shot to pull the Tigers within four.

And then the seventh inning happened. John Hicks led off with a ground ball single up the middle, and James McCann doubled to left field to bring the score to 8-5. With one out and McCann on third, Dixon Machado hit a ground ball to shortstop that looked to be an easy groundout. Instead of taking the out at first, Lindor fired the ball home to try and save a run, but everyone was safe.


With the Tigers down by two and a man on base, Terry Francona made it clear that he wasn’t messing around by bringing in his ace reliever, Andrew Miller. Game over, right? WRONG! Jones and Pete Kozma both hit back to back doubles to tie the game, and after getting a line out from Castellanos, Miller walked three straight batters to give the Tigers a 9-8 lead. Baseball.

You think that was crazy? Well, onto the top half of the eighth...

Daniel Stumpf, owner of a 5.79 ERA, came on to face the teeth of the Cleveland lineup. Jose Ramirez led off with a double, and Lindor followed with a walk. Gomes followed with a walk, and Daniel had Stumpfled into a bases loaded, no out situation. After a mound visit from the Wizard of Bos, Stumpf battled back to get a strikeout of Guyer. With one out and Jason Kipnis, a lefty, due up, it would make sense that Francona would go to his bench for the right handed hitting Edwin Encarnacion. Not the case. Tito allowed Kipnis to hit, and Kipnis grounded into an inning ending double play on the second pitch he saw. Somehow, Daniel Stumpf’d the Indians, and Shane Greene went on to finish the job in the ninth.


Who was the Tigers’ player of the game?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    John Hicks (2-3, 2 RBI, BB)
    (223 votes)
  • 51%
    JaCoby Jones (2-5, 2B, HR, 2 RBI)
    (458 votes)
  • 23%
    Daniel Stumpf (1.0 IP, Houdini Act)
    (215 votes)
896 votes total Vote Now