This game was billed by many as the "biggest game of the year" for the Tigers. I didn't get caught up in the "biggest game" concept but the battle between the two division leaders did have an aura of excitement surrounding it. The two teams didn't disappoint as they battled into extra innings with the Tigers eventually winning it 6-2 in the 10th.
The starting pitcher for the Tigers was Jeremy Bonderman who had been abysmal in his 4 previous starts. He had his usual rough first inning hitting Casey blake with a pitch and then yielding a homer to Grady Sizemore. Tonight, the bleeding stopped right there as he shut out the Indians on 2 hits over the next 6 innings.
Bonderman's opponent CC Sabathia was also very sharp shutting out the Tigers for 5 innings before allowing single runs in the 6th and 7th. In the 6th, Ryan Raburn doubled and eventually came around to score on a grounder by Magglio Ordonez. They scored in the 7th an a double by Marcus Thames and a single by Omar Infante. Sabathia and Bonderman both left after 7 innings with the scored tied 2-2.
The game remained tied after regulation but not without some scares for Tigers fans. Tim Byrdak allowed two walks in the 8th but then Curtis Granderson got him out of the inning with a game saving diving catch on a ball hit towards the gap. In the 9th, Fernando Rodney allowed a lead off double and seemed to be struggling a bit with control but he recovered by striking out the side.
The Tigers then broke through for 4 runs in the 10th off of closer Joe Borowski who often struggles in non-save situations. Granderson led off with a walk and Raburn and Gary Sheffield followed with singles to score the go ahead run. The amazing Magglio then followed with 3 run homer to make it 6-2.
The game was not over yet as another closer who does not do well in non-save situations would have to preserve the victory. Todd Tones allowed the first 2 batters to reach base and then survived a couple of long close fouls. Somehow, he managed to get out of it with no damage and the biggest game of the year went to the Tigers.
the Tigers and Indians will once again play the biggest game of the year tomorrow night. It will be Jair jurrjens in his Major League debut against Fausto Carmona at 7:05.