Monday, September 17, 2007

Crushing Defeat

The Tigers were leading 5-2 after 7. kenny Rogers had just finished a very strong 7 innings. Flame thrower Joel Zumaya was on the mound to start the 8th. It was looking good for the Tigers tonight. Most Tigers fans were thinking it was 10 out of 12 for the Tigers and that the central division lead was down to 3 1/2 games. Not so quick.

It all unraveled pretty quickly in the 8th. Zumaya put the first 2 runners on base and then got the next two on grounders. Up came Jhonny Peralta who had previously homered in the 4th inning. He crushed it to center field for a 3 run homer and the clean victory against the division leaders was gone. Three agonizing innings later, The deciding blow came off the bat of Casey Blake - a solo blast to left center in the 11th off Zach Miner. It was a 6-5 walk off victory for the Indians.

The Tigers did all their scoring in the first 4 innings. Ramon Santiago singled home Carlos Guillen in the 2nd. The relentless Placido Polanco homered in the second to make it 2-0. They added 3 more in the third on a double by Guillen, 3 singles and a Peralta error. Unfortunately, their bats went silent from the 5th through the 11th as they got just 4 more hits the rest of the way off Paul Byrd, Aaron Fultz, Joe Borowski and Rafael Betancourt. Curtis Granderson, Pudge Rodriguez and Brandon Inge all had tough nights going a combined 0 for 14.

The 3 run homer off of Zoom was what really hurt though. He just hasn't been consistently sharp since coming back. It was a pretty serious injury and a long lay off so it's not surprising that he's not at full strength. Still, it's disappointing. Pennant races are fun but they can also be excruciating especially when your team is doing the chasing. There's still hope but they are 3 1/2 back of the Yankees and 5 1/2 behind the Indians. They are running out of time and this was a game they really couldn't afford to lose.

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