Lately, I have expected the Tigers to come back and win every game regardless of the score, but this one felt different. I was listening to the radio at work and wasn't to focused on the action, but it had the feel of one of those lazy weekday afternoon games where they just can't get it going. They had a bare bones line-up with Alex Avila, Jhonny Peralta, Austin Jackson and Ryan Raburn on the bench. They were losing 5-2 going into the ninth and it it looked like a sure loss.
Then it happened again. With one-out in the ninth, Raburn clubbed a pinch-hit homer to left to make it 5-3. Another pinch hitter, Magglio Ordonez, followed with a walk. Avila, yet another pinch hitter, then smashed a long two-run home run to center off of White Sox closer Sergio Santos to tie it at five.
It looked like the game might slip away when reliever Phil Coke walked two batters in the bottom of the ninth. Chicago catcher AJ Pierzynski then hit a rocket on a hop to second baseman Carlos Guillen at second. Guillen bobbled it momentarily but turned it into an inning-ending doubleplay.
Designated hitter Victor Martinez got things going in the tenth with a one-out double. Guillen, who earlier homered, then put the Tigers ahead 6-5 with a single to center. Then it was time for Jose Valverde to close it out and he did so in dramatic fashion. He struck out the side for his 44th consecutive save of 2011.
It was the 12th win in a row for a Tigers team that just won't lose The last time they won that many games in succession was 77 years ago in 1934 when Charlie Gehringer, Hank Greenberg and company terrorized the American League.
In a year of amazing comebacks for the Tigers, this one was probably the most stunning of all.