Another big game, another big win for the Tigers. The 2009 Tigers, exactly the opposite of the 2008 version.
Eddie Bonine, the September call-up, the 4 option for a starter behind Jarrod Washburn, Armando Galarraga, and Nate Robertson, had himself another great game on the mound for the Tigers tonight. His 3rd start in September (4th of the year 9th of his career) was the magic one, as Bonine picked up his first career win. It wasn't easy though, as the Twins had him on the ropes in the first. Down 2-0 with the bases loaded, Bonine got a huge play from Placido Polanco to turn a double play and end the inning. He allowed only 4 more Twins to reach base in the next four innings and had himself another great start in a pressure packed situation.
Last time out Bonine was out of luck as he drew Jake Peavy to try to outpitch. This time he went up against a guy that had been pitching like a Cy Young winner against the Tigers. This time they figured him out. It all started with a pair of singles from Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez. Carlos Guillen drew a five pitch walk and the bases were loaded for Brandon Inge. Inge continued his hot hitting from yesterday, by driving a double to the gap in left center which brought in two. Ramon Santiago drove in Inge and Guillen with a single to center and the Tigers took the lead and never looked back.
The Tigers had the bases loaded again in the 5th. Miguel Cabrera at the bat, one pitch weak pop out. Here we go squandering again, right? Wrong. Magglio Ordonez took his first pitch and drove it deeper in the same part of the field that Inge's when for a bases clearing double, making the game 7-2. Zach Miner took over for Bonine, and while he wasn't as dominant as he was yesterday afternoon, he didn't allow a run to score in 2.1 innings pitched. Brandon Lyon bounced back from his wild performance yesterday (Closer mentality...hint, hint Mr. Dombrowski) as he struck out both batters he faced with runners at 1st and 2nd to end the 8th. Fernando Rodney showed he can in fact pitch a 1-2-3 inning to end the game.
A fact blurbed on "Baseball Tonight", no team has ever come back from 3 games back with 4 to go. The Tigers win tomorrow and they win the AL Central for the first time. Go do it Tigers.
Tigers 7 Twins 2
W: Bonine (1-1)
L: Pavano (13-12)
W - L
85 - 73
1st Place AL Central (3 games ahead of Minnesota)
MAGIC NUMBER: 2