Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tigers Win One for Ernie

The big story tonight was, of course, Ernie Harwell. There was a nice tribute for Mr. Harwell after the top half of the third inning. They showed a brief video of his career and then the legendary broadcaster addressed the Tigers fans for perhaps the last time. As you might expect, Ernie's speech was not about himself but about the Tigers fans. It was simple, unscripted and from the heart. The entire speech can be found in Tom Gage's article at the Detroit News. A clip is shown below:
"In my almost 92 years on this earth, the good Lord has blessed me with a great journey -- and the blessed part of that journey is that it will end in the great state of Michigan.... I deeply appreciate the people of Michigan. I love their grit, I love the way they face life, the family values they have, and you Tiger fans are the greatest fans of all. No question about that".
There was a big game being played tonight as well. The Tigers were trailing 3-0 in the third with left-hander Lenny Dinardo on the mound and it didn't look good. But you knew they had to win it for Ernie. The Tigers needed some instant runs.

The runs didn't quite come instantly but they scored two in the fourth thanks to some sloppy Royals infield defense, an RBI single by Curtis Granderson and an RBI double by Adam Everett. The Royals played defense like a committee that inning. The Tigers added two more in the sixth on RBI singles by Everett and Placido Polanco. This put the Tigers in front 4-3

It was good that Granderson did not stand there like the house by the side of the road against a southpaw tonight. Instead, he singled twice and contributed to both rallies.

Injury replacement starter Eddie Bonine pitched five innings allowing three runs. The bullpen was stellar as Zach Miner, Bobby Seay, Brandon Lyon and Fernando Rodney combined for four scoreless innings. Lyon was especially impressive. Entering the game in the eighth inning with runners on first and third and nobody, he managed to escape without a run crossing the plate.

The 4-3 victory was a rather big win tonight because the Twins had won earlier to close the gap four games. The Tigers will attempt to win the series tomorrow afternoon with Edwin Jackson facing Zach Greinke.

Thank you again, Mr. Harwell.

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