Today's game was a lot like the other two games of the series. It was a close back and forth game with the team scoring last getting the victory. The big difference was this time the Tigers scored last and came away with a 6-5 win in 12 innings. Thus, today's story is about heroes rather than goats.
The first hero today was Marcus Thames. With the Tigers down 5-3 in the 9th with 2 outs and red hot Dave Aardsma on the mound, Carlos Guillen reached on a single. Marcus Thames, playing left field today in place of slumping Craig Monroe, then belted a home run to left center field to tie the game and send it into extra innings.
The second hero was Wil Ledezma/Jason Grilli who combined for 4 scoreless innings and kept the score tied. Ledezma came into the game in the 9th after Aquilino Lopez allowed a 2 run home run to Tiger killer Joe Crede making it 5-3 White Sox in the 8th. Ledezma pitched innings 9 to 11 and Grilli pitched a perfect 12th. Joel Zumaya, Todd Jones and Fernando Rodney were nowhere to be found today as they were rested after a busy week.
The third hero was the hot hitting Placido Polanco. Ivan Rodriguez and Craig Monroe reached base in the 12th on walks and then Polanco poked one into left field where nobody was for the game winning hit. Polanco seems to be able to hit the ball wherever he wants right now. He did that last year too but this year he seems to be making more solid contact and is thus getting more hits. He went 2 for 5 today to raise his batting average to .377.
So the Tigers avoided the sweep by their divisional rivals and now head off on a brief but tough 4 game road trip - two games versus the Angels and two more against the White Sox.
For another recap of today's game and some interesting statistical tidbits, check out Kurt's Mack Avenue Tigers.