illustration by Samara Pearlstein
I was going to wait until the end of the weekend and do a wrap-up post, but yesterday’s game really demanded some sort of response.
The Tigers were down almost the entire game. After the top of the 5th they were losing 8-1. If the Tigers were going to make up that difference, it would have to be their largest comeback in three years. Brad Penny was being Brad Penny. It was by all accounts excruciatingly hot, making the slow Pennyish pace of the game even more intolerable for fans and fielders alike. The crowd was annoyed, the Wrong Sox were feeling feisty, and if the Tigers had actual tiger tails, they would have been dragging. You don’t come back from that.
Except when you do.
Austin Jackson tripled in a run. Delmon Young hit a two-run homer. (8-4) Wilson Betemit homered. (8-5) With a man on second, Jhonny Peralta singled in a run. (8-6)
At this point it was the bottom of the 9th. Betemit struck out to start. Action Jackson tripled (again!). Ryan Raburn came up, representing the tying run. No way, right?
Oh, but he did. The Rhino hit one 424 feet, a soaring moonshot that tied the game at 8. Rain had lowered the temperature on the field. The Wrong Sox were stunned.
It was still far from inevitable that Detroit would win the game, but there is a certain inexorable slide towards Tigers victory that begins when you give up the tying run in the 9th inning and leave time for Miguel Cabrera to come up to bat. After Raburn, Delmon Young struck out (2 outs), and then Cabrera came to the plate.
He only needed one pitch.
With nobody on base, the only way he could win it immediately was with a home run, and that is what he proceeded to do. Boom, moonshot #2, game over, walkoff Tigers win and a great big pile of happy hugging cats at home plate. It was such an extreme turnaround that it was hard to even remember what Penny had done to the first half of the game. And that is good; that is as it should be.