Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Raburn Walk Off Stuns Cubs

Magglio Ordonez made his return to the Tigers starting line-up batting seventh versus the Cubs tonight. The winning blow came out of the of that seventh spot but it was not delivered by Magglio. In the bottom of the ninth inning with the Tigers trailing 4-3, Ryan Raburn pinch hit for Josh Anderson who earlier pinch ran for Ordonez. Ryan belted a 1-0 slider from Chicago closer Kevin Gregg into the seats in left center field to beat the Cubs 5-4. It was a fitting end to a game which saw the lead change three times in the last three innings.

Brandon Inge clubbed a two run home run to left field off of Carlos Zambrano in the seventh to put the Tigers up 3-2. Scoring ahead of Inge was rookie Donnie Kelly who reached when he was hit by a pitch. Kelly would later score the tying run after drawing a nine pitch walk prior to Raburn's game winning blast.

Joel Zumaya came into to pitch the eighth in relief of Edwin Jackson who allowed two runs in seven innings. Jackson was a little wild tonight walking four but gave up only four hits and struck out seven. Zumaya looked sharp getting two outs on an assortment of curveballs and 100 MPH plus fastballs. After allowing a hit to Derrek Lee, he looked to have Micah Hoffpauir over matched but then he inexplicably waved off two pitches from catcher Gerald Laird and threw a big fat change-up right down the middle. Hoffpauir jumped on it and crushed a long home run to right field to put the Cubs up 4-3.

As has been the case a few times lately, Zumaya was saved by some late innings heroics from Tigers bats. This time, it was Raburn who bailed him out and the Tigers are now 11-8 in one run games, the best record in the division. More importantly, they have have the second best record (39-31) in the American league and are still four games ahead of the second place Twins.

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