This was the third game I have been able to attend in person this year and each one keeps getting more exciting. I figured it would be difficult to top the last game I attend the June 1st comeback against the Yankees before a sellout crowd, but the Tigers found a way to do it. Before 42,535 excited fans the Tigers won their 50th game in dramatic come-from-behind fashion. They improved to 25 games above .500 with their ten-inning victory over the Cardinals. Baseball is definitely back in the D as an increasing number of metro-Detroiters are realizing this team is for real.
The game began as a seesaw battle going back and forth. St. Louis scored two runs in the top of the first off Kenny Rogers and Detroit answered with two of their own in the bottom of the inning. Rogers made a throwing error on a pick-off attempt at first base allowing a run to score. Rolen followed with a sac fly to score the second run. Granderson continued to be a thorn in the side of the Cardinals. He singled and then stole third following a walk to Polanco. He came home on a ground out by Ordonez and Polanco later scored on a single by Shelton.
Rogers struggled to keep the top of the Cardinal order off the base paths. Rolen added another sac fly as St. Louis took a 4-2 lead in the third. The Tigers halved the lead in the fourth as Granderson drove in Inge with a single. The Cards added a run in both the fifth and sixth innings off of Rogers to once again double up the Tigers 6-3. However, Detroit was not going away quietly. Vance Wilson hit a solo home run in the sixth to cut the lead to 6-4 setting the stage for the ninth inning drama.
Jason Isringhausen was sent in to close the game out for St. Louis. The Tigers had other ideas. Curtis Granderson reached base again this time on an infield single. With one out Marcus Thames stepped to the plate and tied the game with a blast to left-center field. The Tigers threatened but were unable to score the winning run in the ninth. Once again Curtis Granderson got things started for the offense. This time with two outs in the tenth Granderson walked. The stage was set for Placido Polanco to win the game with a walk-off double to the gap in right-center field. Granderson raced around the bases for a dramatic victory.
Despite the struggles of Kenny Rogers the Tigers pen did an excellent job of keeping them in the game. Roman Colon, Jamie Walker and Jason Grilli combined for three scoreless innings. This included a bases-loaded one out jam in the eighth. Jamie Walker came in to throw one pitch and retire Scott Spiezio. Jason Grilli faced Pujols with the bases loaded and two outs and got the best player in baseball to fly out to center. Joel Zumaya pitched the tenth inning to earn his fourth victory.
*** OEs 3 Stars of the Game ***
#3 Jason Grilli – 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BBs, 0 Ks, 4.18 ERA
#2 Marcus Thames – 1-5 with a run scored, a HR and 2 RBI
#1 Curtis Granderson – 4-5 with 3 runs scored, a BB and 1 RBI
On Tap – Game 76 (50-25) v. St. Louis Cardinals (42-31) June 25th, 1:05 ET
Jeremy Bonderman (7-4, 3.82) v. Sidney Ponson (4-2, 5.30)