It's getting to the point where Tigers fans expect a walk-off win and we predict who will knock in the game winner each night. You could have guessed anyone tonight, because it took three innings to happen. If you picked Victor Martinez, you were the winner. He drilled a hit just inside the third base line and into the left field corner scoring pinch runner Danny Worth with the game-winning-run in the eleventh inning. Brandon Inge's lead-off walk and Miguel Cabrera's one-out single set up the winning hit.
The 4-3 win over the Orioles gives the Tigers a 28-16 record in one-run games, the best in the American League. That's a big difference from 2010 when they went 16-26 in one-run games. If they had played .500 ball in one-run games both years, they would have gone 86-76 last year and 85-72 this year. So, one-run wins explains all but a 1 1/2 game disparity between the two years.
Rick Porcello pitched his usual high-hit game allowing nine safeties in seven innings, but he limited the damage to just three runs. Thankfully, he allowed just one extra base hit, a run-scoring double by Vladimir Guerrero in the first inning.
The bullpen took over in the eighth. The playoff-ready Phil Coke, Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde cruised through the eighth, ninth and tenth innings allowing no runs and one base runner between them. The playoff-unready Ryan Perry allowed two base runners but managed to pitch a scoreless eleventh.
Tomorrow tonight, Justin Verlander will attempt to become baseball's first 25-game winner since Bob Welch won 27 for the Oakland Athletics in 1990.