Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Welcome Plot Twist

It looked like the same game the Tigers have played far too often this season. The Detroit bats fell silent after a 3-run first inning, wasting another quality start from Justin Verlander. The bullpen gave up a home run to give the Chicago White Sox a late 2-run lead. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the Tigers had nobody on and looked like they'd be swept by the White Sox at home.

Then Carlos Guillen blooped a single to center, and Mighty Marcus Thames stepped into the batters box. With a 1-1 count, David Aardsma tried to blow a belt-high fastball by Thames. 420 feet later, the game was tied and the Tigers had new life.

Wilfredo Ledezma pitched three scoreless innings, and Jason Grilli pitched a perfect 12th, setting the stage for Placido Polanco to knock in the winning run with 2 on in the bottom of the 12th.

For all the Tigers' struggles this year, the victory vaulted them into second place in the AL Central, only a game back of the Minnesota Twins. If Detroit's hitters ever get on track, and the bullpen stops blowing games, the Tigers should be in great shape to win their first division crown since 1987.

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