PREGAME: Some lefty-on-lefty action today with Jarrod Washburn taking on his old team and the hyphenated one Ryan-Rowland-Smith (yeah, it’s an extra hyphen but I don’t have time for a proper pregame so instead you get lame punctuation jokes – sorry).
POSTGAME: The Tigers were wheels up for Oakland just before 7 p.m., but thanks to a Clete Thomas line drive to right they’ve been flying since Miguel Cabrera rounded home plate to head to first base and congratulate Thomas. A late rally from 4 runs down surely lifted the spirits of the team and the hopes of a fan base as the Tigers put a dramatic capper on a 4-2 homestand.
For a change today, it was the offense bailing out the starting pitching. Washburn has been extremely homer prone since coming to Detroit (his homer/flyball rate was unsustainably low with Seattle but c’mon with the ultra rapid regression) and with 4 more today it meant 3 bad outings out of 4.
Of course the Tigers did some thumping of their own and solo shots by Raburn and Inge cut a 4 run lead down to 2…but Washburn promptly gave those back. One of them on a near Pepsi-Porch shot by Russell Branyan. Coincidentally, I believe it was Branyan who hit one off the facing of the Porch back in his Cleveland days.
And then the rains came…but not before the Tigers loaded the bases in the 6th and chased Rowland-Smith. And then Jim Leyland started to really manage. He pinch hit Huff for Laird (who hit the ball too softly to second for an inning ending double play). And then Avila hit for Everett and came up with the big knock to close the gap to 6-5.
Fortunately Zach Miner (aka “the much maligned Zach Miner”) and Bobby Seay were perfect for 3 innings the giving the Tigers 3 more cracks at plating the tying run. They would have tied the score in the 8th were it not for some spectacular defense from Gutierrez and Wilson to rob Avila and Polanco on consecutive would-be run scoring plays. But then there was the 9th.
A walk, a pop-out, some cursing, a double, a IBB, a sac fly with a collision, and a big knock and we had ourselves some walk-off fun.