It's gotten to the point where late inning heroics are now expected of the Tigers. For the third straight game, the Bengals staged a late rally to beat the Rays in Tampa this afternoon. Today was Brandon Inge's turn to be the star. The Tigers third baseman crushed a grand slam in the top of the ninth inning to lead the Tigers to a 5-3 comeback win over the Rays.
The ninth inning rally started with a one out walk to Miguel Cabrera. Marcus Thames, pinch hitting for Aubrey Huff, followed with another walk on a 3-2 count. Magglio Ordonez then singled to right field loading up the bases for Inge. Inge blasted his homer to left field on a 2-2 pitch to put the Tigers ahead.
Brandon Lyon easily nailed down the save for the second straight game. I wouldn't read too much into Lyon being used as the closer twice in two days though. I think Jim Leyland was just resting Rodney who had pitched four games in six days including a 35 pitch outing on Friday night. Lyon is not a bad second option though as he has held opponents scoreless in 19 of his last 20 appearances.
Rays starter Wade Davis was very impressive in his MLB debut starting off the game with four consecutive strikeouts. He then allowed a homer to Huff but nothing much after that. He pitched seven innings striking out nine and allowing just that one run. His bullpen could not hold the lead though.
Tigers starter Edwin Jackson worked eight inning and 126 pitches allowing three runs on six hits and three walks. Jackson has not been as dominant in the second half as he was in the first half but has been keeping the team in the game in almost every start.
With today's victory, the Tigers have won six in a row and have a seven game lead over the second place Twins. What looked like a close race that would go down to the wire a week ago is now looking more like a run away for the Tigers.