When the the Tigers were shut out 2-0 by Francisco Liriano and Jon Rauch on Tuesday night, they found themselves just one game about .500 and 3 1/2 behind the Minnesota Twins. On the following night, Max Scherzer - their most reliable early season starter - was knocked out in the fourth inning and the Tigers were down 6-1. With the enigmatic Dontrelle Willis going the nest day, it was not difficult for Tigers fans to envision a sweep at the hands of the Twins. Had that happened, the Tigers would have fallen under .500 and dropped to 5 1/2 games back. Only the most optimistic of Tigers fans could have predicted how the week would actually unfold.
The Tigers exploded for four runs in the bottom of the fourth and six runs in the sixth to turn a 6-1 deficit into a 11-6 victory on Wednesday night. Willis followed that up with his best performance of the season to date pitching shutout ball for six innings. Joel Zumaya and Jose Valverde completed the 3-0 shutout. That gave the Tigers a 2-1 series victory over the Twins and closed the gap to 1 1/2 games.
Next up was the Los Angeles Angels, always a tough opponent for the Tigers. They defeated the Angeles 10-6 on Friday night thanks to an 8-run outburst in the fourth inning and a 5 for 5 performance by Austin Jackson. On Saturday afternoon, they won 3-2 when Johnny Damon blasted a walk-off home run. Also encouraging was a solid six innings from Jeremy Bonderman. Today, they completed a sweep of the Angels behind Justin Verlander's first dominant performance of the year.
I was out running in a race today and did not see much of the 5-1 victory. For more information on today's game check out Bill Ferris's Detroit Tigers Weblog, and Kurt Menching's Bless You Boys.
The 5-1 homestand leaves the Tigers at 16-10 andjust a half game behind the Twins in the American League central division. They now go to Minnesota for a three game series. The hopefully good news is that it will be their first series in new Target Field. Nobody in Detroit is sad to see the end of the Metrodome.