05 August 2012
It looked like the Tigers were going to let one get away in the final game of the series against the Indians. After the game was tied 5-5 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Austin Jackson led off with a triple to the gap in right center. With a runner on third and no outs and the heart of the Tigers’ lineup coming up, the Tigers were going to win this one in front of the home crowd and sweep the Indians out of town. Right? Not so fast. Omar Infante struck out for the first out of the inning. Then Indians’ manager Manny Acta chose to intentionally walk Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder to load the bases. With Delmon Young due up, Quintin Berry was called on to pinch hit. With the Indians using five infielders to try to cut off the game winning run at home plate, Berry hit a sharp grounder to first base. Carlos Santana fielded and threw home for one out. Catcher Lou Marson returned the throw to Santana at first for a huge double play.
The crowd was deflated as the Tigers blew a golden opportunity to win the game. Cleveland promptly scored three runs in the top of the tenth. Travis Hafner and Ezequiel Carrera hit back to back homers off Joaquin Benoit. Lou Marson followed with an RBI double to put the Indians up 8-5.
Cleveland closer Chris Perez came in and quickly retired the first two Tigers’ hitters. Now with two outs and no one on base Cleveland would surely snap its eight game losing streak. Right? Again, not so fast. Perez walked Alex Avila and then walked pinch hitter Andy Dirks. Jackson followed with a double, knocking in Avila. Then Infante came up with a clutch, two RBI single, setting the stage for Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera, who was at DH in order to give his sore ankle a little rest, sent a shot into the Indians bullpen to cap an amazing Tigers comeback. The 10-8 win sent the crowd at Comerica Park home happy after a thriller.
Here are some other notes from a wild game:
Tigers backup catcher, manager get tossed
Alex Avila was supposed to have the day off. But that didn’t last very long, as backup catcher Gerald Laird was ejected from the game in the bottom of the second inning. Laird hit a ground ball back to the pitcher Chris Seddon. Seddon raced to the bag and while Laird slid head first into the bag at first, Seddon made an attempt at a swipe tag. The replays showed that Seddon appeared to have applied the tag late. Laird argued mildly at first, and then was run from the game after returning to the Tigers’ dugout. Then Jim Leyland came out to defend his player and after an intense argument was also given an early exit. Lloyd McClendon took over while Leyland was out.
First two Tigers hitters come up big
Jackson and Infante set the tone for the Tigers’ offense all game long. Jackson tripled twice in the game before hitting his big RBI double in the bottom of the tenth. Jackson finished the game 4-6 with 3 runs scored, raising his season average to .322. Infante hit a solo homer in the fifth to tie the game at four and came up with the big two RBI single in the tenth. He also was 4-6 with 3 RBI and 3 runs scored.
Downs earns first Major League win
Left hander Darin Downs came on to relieve Benoit in the top of the tenth. He allowed a single and a RBI double, but was able to record the final two outs of the inning. After the Tigers crazy comeback in the tenth, Downs earned his first win as a Tiger and his first win in the big leagues.
Cabrera clutch as designated hitter
Miguel Cabrera was nursing a bit of a sore ankle, so manager Jim Leyland decided to give him a bit of rest and had Infante play at third base instead of Cabrera. But Leyland wanted Cabrera’s bat to stay in the lineup so he used him at DH and played Delmon Young in left field and sat Quintin Berry against the lefty starter. Miguel wasn’t affected by the move to DH, producing two hits and three RBI, including of course the huge walk-off homer that gave the Tigers a sweep of the reeling Indians.