On a night when they shared the Detroit sports spotlight with the Pistons and Redwings (both playing playoff games at home), over 41,000 fans watched the Bengals play the Twins at Comerica Park. That is a pretty impressive crowd for a regular season game of a team which has frustrated their fans all year. Tonight, the Tigers did not disappoint as they put up more points than the Lions do on many Sundays. They pounded Boof Bonser and the Twins 19-3 and probably could have scored more had they not called off called off the dogs after the fifth inning.
The Tigers scored early and often tonight - two runs in the first, four in the third, six in the fourth and finally seven in the fifth. They had 17 hits and they didn't just hit; they lashed line drives and long shots all over the field.
The big hitter was Magglio Ordonez who crushed a two run homer to left in the first, a two run double to the opposite field in the third and another two run blast over the left field wall in the fourth. That's six RBI in four innings leaving him two short of the Tiger record of eight by Jim Northrup. Magglio came up again in the fifth with two on but Juan Rincon walked him on four pitches. It seemed like he pitched around him with the score 14-3? That would be his last chance as Jim Leyland yanked him from the game to give him a rest after the inning. Miguel Cabrera and Carlos Guillen were also replaced.
What kind of night was it for the Tigers? Brandon Inge struck out in the fifth and a run still crossed the plate. With bases loaded, Inge swung and missed on strike three but the ball got by the catcher Joe Mauer, Inge reached first and a run scored.
Another positive was some decent pitching from Nate Robertson who gave up three runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings. Robertson has actually pitched a little better than his 5.88 ERA this year would indicate. He has not pitched any terrible games. He has been consistently mediocre but he gives a good offensive team a chance a chance to win in just about every game. The Tigers are notorious for not giving Nate a lot of run support but that obviously wasn't a problem tonight.
On the 24th anniversary of their 35-5 start in 1984, the Tigers are just 21-28 but are somehow just 5 1/2 games back as they picked up a game on the first place White Sox tonight. They also moved into a fourth place tie with the Royals who got shutout today. The Tigers have tried hard to fall out of the race but this division won't let them. Hopefully, they can now start taking advantage. They play the rubber game of the series tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 when Justin Verlander faces Glen Perkins.