I’m going to make this shorter than yesterday, mainly because I’ve got quite a bit going on with my job, but thankfully Justin Verlander delivered and I’m not writing the Eulogy of the Detroit Tigers, at least not until this weekend.
The game started off wrong; not too many fans (late arriving), and a run in the first inning put the Tigers behind the 8 ball before they even got to bat. After C.J. Wilson got the first seven Tigers’ out, Alex Avila, he of the broken knees and ever pained expression launched a home run to left field to tie the game.
The crowd got into it a bit after that, and then, in the bottom of the fourth, Delmon Young, he of the strained oblique, a man who was not even supposed to be on the ALCS roster but thanks to a broken ankle gifted from Magglio Ordoned, homered himself and gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
The top of the fifth was a little scary, after Ian Kinsler walked, Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton both singled and the score was 2-2. Verlander got out of that jam relatively unscathed.
Then the six inning came and the face of the game was altered.
After Mike Napoli singled, and Nelson Cruz struck out (amazingly enough), David Murphy doubled and there were runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out. They unintentionally/intentionally walked Mitch Moreland (I think unintentional based on his frustration) and JV found himself with the game tied 202 with the bases loaded and one out.
Somehow Ian Kinsler swung at the first pitch and it went right to Brandon Inge who stepped on third and fired a bullet to first for the inning ending, run saving, double play.
Ryan Raburn, who is having a very, very good series, singled to left and then the turning point in the game happened.
Miguel Cabrera hit was looked like a double play ball to Adrian Beltre at third, but the ball struck the bag and flew past him, resulting in a run and a 3-2 lead.
The pagan god, basebaal, had suddenly found favor with the Tigers.
Victor Martinez tripled to right field. Cabrera obviously scored.
Delmon Young Homered for the second time in the game and the score was suddenly 6-2 Tigers as they had just hit for the first natural cycle in palyoff history.
After that, Verlander came back out for the 7th, mowed the Rangers down, Ryan Raburn homered in the bottom of the inning, and JV came back out for the 8th with a 7-2 lead.
However, Nelson Cruz, who many Tiger fans would like to walk into incoming traffic, hit a two run home run, again a home run, and the score became 7-4.
JV was lifted at that point to a standing ovation (after giving up a 2-run homer? funny). Phil Coke came in, got the final two outs of the inning and finished the bottom of the ninth for the save (albeit a little hiccup, o a big hiccup but it’s over) and win for Verlander.
Final score 7-5 Tigers.
Verlander threw 133 pitches, 94 of them were for strikes. He was the ace in the hole the Tigers needed. Obviously.
They may be down 3-2 in the series, but at least they left Comerica with a win on their Ace and MVP Justin Verlander on the mound.
Game Four was brutal, a game that they should have won, but the series goes back to Texas where they play two games and anything can happen, especially when both of the team’s aces are out of the series.
Waiting impatiently for Saturday.