Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Dramatic Homer by Monroe Salvages Split

It was one of the most frustrating days of the year. The Tigers lost the first game of a doubleheader this afternoon to the hated Yankees 2-0 wasting a fine pitching performance by Nate Robertson. The Tigers took a 2-0 lead in game 2 but a 3 run 6th highlighted by a two run double by Derek Jeter put the Yankees up 3-2. The slumping Tigers were facing a sweep at the hands of the yankees and it didn't look like the offense was up to the challenge. They looked pathetic at the plate - swinging wildly at balls out of the strike zone, hitting weak fly balls and easy grounders, leaving men on base. Fans were cursing. A feeling of hopelessness was starting to haunt even the most optimistic among us.

Finally, they were down to the final out in the top of the 9th. Two men were on base. Craig Monroe was at the plate. He's been one of the best hitters in the league in these situations all year. But this was Yankee Stadium and the Tigers have been reeling. It just didn't seem like it would happen tonight. Personally, I was going to blow off Tiger Tales tonight. I wasn't going to talk about this ugly doubleheader sweep. Then boom! Monroe smashed the first pitch from Scott Proctor to left field for a 3 run homer. It was another clutch home run for Monroe and perhaps the most dramatic of them all.

Todd Jones came in to pitch a 1-2-3 9th to record his 19th straight save. He's becoming quite automatic. Isn't he? The Tigers had won 5-3 and salvaged a split of the twinbill. The most frustrating day of the year had now turned into one of the most amazing moments of the season. Is there anything better than a pennant race?


Not to be lost in the Monroe heroics were 3 solid pitching performances today:

Nate Robertson allowed 2 runs on 10 hits in 7 innings in game one. He got into quite a bit of trouble but did a great job working his way out of jams. He continues to throw quality starts and to pitch deep into games.

Andrew Miller pitched a scoreless hitless inning in his Major League debut in game one. He did hit one batter but that was the only blemish on his line.

Wil Ledezma allowed just two hits and 2 runs in 5 1/3 innings in his second start of the year. He left the game with a 2-0 lead and two men on base with one out in the 6th. He got a no decision when Fernando Rodney allowed the two run double by Jeter.

Also, not to be dismissed, were two walks which set up Monroe's blast. Brandon Inge reached on a 7 pitch walk and Curtis Granderson kept the game going with an 8 pitch walk leading up to Monroe.

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