The Tigers won the rubber match of their three game series versus the White Sox 6-2 tonight. Jeremy Bonderman did his best Kenny Rogers imitation for 5 innings allowing no runs on just 1 strikeout and a lot of grounders including two double plays. One of the double plays came with 2 on and nobody out in the second. Joe Crede hit a one hop rocket to Brandon Inge who snared it, touched third and threw to first to complete the twin killing. It was another fine play by Inge who had a good night all around.
After being staked to a 4 run lead, Bonderman ran into trouble in the 6th allowing home runs to Juan Uribe and Tadahito Iguchi to make it 4-2. Jermaine Dye followed with a one out single. At this point, Tiger fans were very afraid of one of those one inning meltdowns which sometimes plague Bonderman. Seeing Jim Thome at the plate and Paul Konerko on deck didn't make anybody feel any better. Many screamed for a relief pitcher. But there would be no relief pitcher and there would be no more runs as Bonderman struck out Thome and got Konerko on a grounder to end the inning.
The bullpen took over in the 7th. Joel Zumaya pitched 2 scoreless innings striking out 3 along the way. Todd Jones pitched the 9th and allowed 2 runners with one out. Leyland was concerned enough to have Mike Maroth warming up just in case. However, Jones got Tiger killer Joe Crede to ground into his third double play of the game to end it. After the final out, Rod Allen appropriately shouted: "He Gawn"!
Offensively, the Tigers did a little bit of every everything against previously sizzling Jon Garland and 3 relievers. They scored 2 runs in the 3rd on an infield hit by Marcus Thames and doubles by Brandon Inge and Curtis Granderson. They got 2 more in the 5th on consecutive singles by Inge, Granderson and Rodriguez and a sacrifice fly by Sean Casey. Hot hitting Magglio Ordonez (4 homers this week) and Rodriguez capped the scoring with solo homers in the final 2 innings.
The Tigers now have a 6 game lead over the White Sox with 10 to go. Tiger fans can now concentrate on a very tough divisional race. The Twins beat the Red Sox 8-2 tonight to remain a half game behind the Tigers. As for the White Sox, They Gawn!
Tomorrow, the Tigers go to Baltimore to play a make-up game against the Orioles. It will be Nate Robertson against Kris Benson. The Twins will try to complete a sweep of their 3 game series against the Red Sox at Boston. That one will feature Johan Santana and Josh Beckett.