Another amazing game, this one going into extra innings. A recent joint survey by the Arizona Republic and the Detroit Free Press found that 72% of all Michigan and Arizona sports fans were not even aware of either of their NBA teams making into the Semifinals, on account of the Rumble in Comerica that is currently unfolding before our very eyes. Once again, an intense pitchers' duel, this time by aces Nate Robertson and Shawn Estes. Both were strong in the first two innings, allowing three baserunners total, though none were able to advance past first base. I-Rod was picked off in the first, and baserunners Green (walk) and Guillen (single) were each erased in double plays (hit by Royce Clayton and Rondell White, respectively). In the third Robertson walked Counsell, but fielded Cintron's grounder to end the inning. In the following half-inning Estes allowed a runner (Marcus Thames, who singled) as far as second base, but that was it. Both Robertson and Estes pitched a perfect fourth, with the score still tied at zero...though Robertson had yet to give up a hit. He started out the 5th by striking out Shawn Green on four pitches, but then Royce Clayton smashed his second pitch for a double, ending the no-hit bid. (I should mention that I specifically predicted the Robertson-Clayton matchup to be a crucial one. I rock.) Luis Terrero and Koyie Hill (who the hell are Luis Terrero and Koyie Hill?) made two quick outs to end the half-inning. Estes then made quick work of White, Young, and Monroe, and we're into the 6th. Robertson walked Cintron, but a double play ball hit by Cruz made the walk a moot point; Estes then gave up a single to Infante but got out of the inning easily. In the top of the 7th, Robertson struck out Troy Glaus but gave up a single to Tony-no-longer-the-Tiger Clark, followed by another by Green; the first time all game two bases were occupied. A single by Clayton (I must be psychic!) loaded the bases, and Luis Terrero (!) hit a sac fly, driving in Matt Kata (pinch running for Tony) for the first run of the game. Robertson then walked Koyie Hill (of "Luis Terrero and Koyie Hill" fame), and that was it. With the bases loaded, and 4 of the last 5 batters reaching base, including Luis Terrero and Koyie Hill, Robertson's night was over, and Trammel brought in Doug Creek to face Craig Counsell, who popped out after just two pitches. Is anyone actually reading this? If so, let me know in the comments and I'll by you a beer. Offer expires midnight Sunday. Estes took the mound, now with a 1-0 lead, but on his second pitch to I-Rod gave up a triple; a single by Guillen tied the game. Estes got White to line out, but a single by Young and a walk by Monroe spelled the end of the night for him as well. Lance Cormier (no relation) came in with 1 out, two on, and in 8 pitches struck out both Thames and Infante to preserve the 1-1 tie. Kyle Farnsworth then pitched a perfect 8th for the Tigers; in the bottom of the 8th, Not-Rheal gave up a double to Inge but otherwise pitched well. U.U. Urbina came out for Detroit in the ninth, but was shaky: Green got another single, and Luis Gonzalez, hitting for Luis Terrero (boooo!!!!) drew a walk, as did Koyie Hill (yay!!!!). Once again, bases loaded for Craig Counsell, and once again, he popped out to end the threat. Oogie gave his disco-fist-pump (I'm assuming -- I didn't actually watch any of this, mind you) and the Tigers came up in the bottom of ninth, with a chance to break the 1-1 tie and win the game. But RheaLance Cormier was perfect (just 9 pitches!) and we're into extra innings! The 10th was marked by more dominance by the stellar bullpens (or is it more crappiness by the crapass hitters?) with perfection by both Franklyn German and Jose Valverde. The eleventh, however, was another story. Chad Tracy (hitting for Matt Kata, who ran for Tony-the-once-and-future-Tiger) led off with a triple off German, and while Green and Clayton (who's apparently only good when facing Nate Robertson) were unable to drive him home, Luis "Terrero" Gonzalez drew a walk, and -- you guessed it! -- Koyie Hill singled Tracy home, giving the D-Backs the lead for the first time all night. Craig Counsell, with an opportunity to break the game open a bit, didn't pop out this time. Instead, he struck out. So here we are, do-or-die for the Tigers, down by one, with only one chance to score or they lose the Series. Kinda reminds you of Games 4 or 5 of the ALCS, huh? Things looked grim, with Valverde still on the mound, but I-Rod once again led off with an extra-base hit, this time a double. A groundout by Guillen advanced him -- tying run on third, one out. Melvin calls in Brian Bruney (who got the save the previous night), to face Rondell White, but Rondell hit a double (bow badow badow dow dow dow) to tie the Young is walked intentionally, and Monroe unintentionally, and all of a sudden the bases are loaded, wiining run is on third, still one out. Marcus Thames comes to the plate -- quickly falls behind 1-2, but stays alive with a foul ball, followed by a ball, and then -- hits it to center! No chance for a play! White scampers home, game over. Detroit wins it 3-2, with an amazing come-from-behind victory. The Series is now tied, 1-1. tomorrow is the Rubber Match.
I told you it wasn't over.