122 games down and 40 games to go for the Tigers (65-57) as they close out the series tonight here against the (53-68) Minnesota Twins. The Indians lost in 14 last night (the second Tuesday in a row in which they have played a 14-inning game) so the Tigers are three up on the Indians and three-and-a-half up on the White Sox. Those two teams get underway in Chicago in about half an hour. That was quite a game there last night. Gavin Floyd of the White Sox struck out 7 of the first 9 hitters he faced, including 5 in a row, but he failed to survive the 6th as the Indians came back from a 5-2 deficit to tie. The Indians were down again, 7-5, going to the 8th but single runs in the 8th and the 9th forced extras. Chicago had 5 triples in the game, including one to lead off the 12th, but they failed to get the man home. They finally won in the 14th, at 1:29am today, Detroit time. The Indians used their entire bullpen last night, and unlike Detroit, they do not have Thursday off. So, theirs could be a tired staff when they come to town Friday night.
I'm busy up here in the press box tonight doing the same thing I was doing last night, cutting up tape from Jim Leyland's afternoon press gaggle and from Lions practice. I'm trying to get all of this done tonight so I can feed my radio stations with material they can hold for release until Friday which will mean that I, like the Tigers, will have the day off tomorrow.
Detroit is down 1-0 after two tonight. Jim Thome hit career homer 601 off Brad Penny with two out in the second, and that's been it. We'll keep you posted, as usual.
1-1 in the 4th, now. Brad Penny just escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the inning, racing to cover first and just barely beating Minnesota's Tsuyoshi Nishioka to the bag to take the throw from Ramon Santiago for the somewhat rare 4-1 putout. The Tigers tied the game in the 3rd on a Sac Fly by Delmon Young who would have had more than that but for a diving grab by Ben Revere in right-center. Young should be 2-for-2 tonight but has twice been robbed by Revere who ran down a fly ball on the track in dead center to deny Young with a Willie Mays-like over-the-shoulder basket catch in the first. It was about as nice a catch as we've seen in this yard this year, and the grab in the third was no slouch, either. We're headed to the 5th...still 1-1.
About ten minutes after Jhonny Peralta put the Tigers ahead 2-1 with a solo homer in the 6th, Rene (really? Rene? What is this, the NHL?) Tosoni hit Penny's 100th (and last) pitch of the night into the seats in right with a mate aboard to put the Twins ahead 3-2. Penny pitched a fine ballgame tonight, allowing only 5 hits in six innings (plus two hitters) of work. Two of those hits went the distance though, and so the Tigers are down a run as they hit in the Detroit 7th.
Miguel Cabrera's two-out single in the 7th tied the game 3-3, but Boesch was cut down at the plate to end the inning as he tried to score the go-ahead run. In the Minny 8th,. Jim Thome hurt the Tigs, again, with an two-out RBI single of his own. The Tigers, down 4-3, have two on with none out in the bottom of the 8th. A good game. A good pennant race game. Now the bases are loaded with none out. Cleveland has gone ahead of Chicago 2-1 and are batting in the 7th at US Cellular Field.
Wilson Betemit, pinch hitting, hits a Sac Fly to center to score pinch runner Austin Jackson and we're tied 4-4 with the Tigers still hitting in the 8th.
The Twins loaded 'em in the 9th off Jose Valverde on a single and two errors on bunts but Valverde fanned the next two hitters. Justin Morneau singled in two with two out on a grounder right up the middle. I happened to have looked it up prior to the game yesterday, and at that point, in the last 365 days, Morneau was hitting a hard-to-believe .222. So much for that stat. On to the bottom of the 9th: Twins 6, Tigers 4. Cleveland is ahead of Chicago 4-1 and are threatening in the top of the 8th, again. We may have to bolt for the locker room so, if so, we'll see you here at Comerica Park Friday night when those Indians hit town...
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