The first four games were easy for the Tigers. They led from start to finish and there was never a feeling they were going to lose the game. It was like watching the 1984 team that started out the season 35-5. They were near perfect in every phase of the game - hitting, running, fielding, starting pitching and even the bullpen behaved itself. Today was a different story.
It started out as pitcher's duel between two former Cy Young winners - David Price for the Tigers and Cory Kluber for the Indians. The Tigers jumped out to an early lead with two runs in the first and were still up 2-0 after 5 1/2 innings. Then the roller coaster began.
David Price walked two batters in the bottom of the sixth, then made a throwing error on a ground ball which should have been an inning-ending double play. Then he allowed a two run double to light-hitting reserve outfielder Jerry Sands. The Indians were up 3-2.
The hottest hitting team in baseball would have none of that. They came back with three runs in the top of the seventh on two-out singles by Ian Kinsler, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. The Tigers were up 5-3.
But this is not your 1984 Tigers with Senor Smoke and Willie Hernandez shutting down any late-inning lead no matter how precarious. Two walks - one by right hander Al Alburquerque and the other by southpaw reliever Ian Krol set it up another Indian rally in the eighth. The immortal Jerry Sands came through again with a two-run double off Krol. The score was tied at 5-5 after eight.
While they are not the 1984 Tigers, the 2015 Tigers can really hit. They torched Indians closer Cody Allen for four runs in the top of the ninth. The big hits were a tie-breaking single by Kinsler and a two-run double by left fielder Yoenis Cespedes. The final score was Tigers 9 and Indians 6.
Not to be forgotten in the late-game craziness was another impressive performance by speedy center fielder Anthony Gose. He led off the game with a home run to right off Kluber and later made two outstanding catches - one on a dive and another on a ball which he ran down in the left field gap. In four games, he has nine hits, including four for extra bases, in 20 at bats. He is looking like he could be an excellent acquisition defensively and perhaps offensively.
The win was the fifth in a row for the Tigers. According to Baseball-Reference.com, this is only the ninth time the Tigers have started the season 5-0, the last time coming in 2006. They have started out 6-0 only three times and went as far as 9-0 in 1984. Three of those eight previous fast starts resulted in American League Pennants - 1909, 1984 and 2006. Seven of the teams ended with winning seasons with only the 1960 team finishing below .500 at 71-83.