Monday, August 03, 2009
Clutch Clete Hits Walk Off
Photo credit: Michael Scott
Tonight's 6-5 win over the Orioles was not a pretty one but was probably one of the hardest fought and most satisfying victories of the year. The Tigers really needed this one tonight after a rough road trip where they looked bad in the field and anemic at the plate.
It could not have gotten off to a worse start as the Orioles scored five runs off of ace Justin Verlander in the first inning They were not lucky runs. He was shelled for six hits including a home run and two doubles. And everything was hit hard. The way the Tigers have been struggling to score runs in recent weeks, it looked like the game was over before they got a chance to bat.
Verlander rebounded remarkably well shutting out the Orioles on three hits and striking out eight over the final 7 2/3. It was a great show of maturity for the 26 year old right-hander. Given the circumstances, those 7 2/3 innings were among his most impressive of the year. He did not get a win for himself but he kept his team in a game that looked lost.
Down 5-0, the Tigers chipped away at the lead off rookie right-hander Chris Tillman. They scored three in the first highlighted by a lead off triple by Curtis Granderson, an RBI double by Placido Polanco and a two run double by Miguel Cabrera. They added another in the fourth on singles by Marcus Thames and Ramon Santiago and a couple of wild pitches. Cabrera then tied the game at five in the fifth with his 21st homer of the season.
It was still tied at five in the bottom of the ninth thanks to verlander's effort and a one two three ninth by Fernando Rodney. Granderson and Polanco were easily retired by reliever Danys Baez who looked very sharp in 1 2/2 innings up to that point. The last hope to prevent another extra inning game was Clete Thomas. Baez got two strikes on him and looked like he had him over matched but Clete was not impressed. Clutch Clete drilled the 1-2 pitch to center field fence to win it 6-5.
Tigers fans are feeling a lot better after this one than they were after yesterday's game. And the White Sox were idle tonight so the Tigers are now up by two games in the A.L. Central.