Gm 11 Analysis: Tigers Win on Walk-Off

After letting a few close games slip away, the Tigers were able to marry strong pitching with some great defense and a couple of key hits to propel the team to a 5-4 win.

The Skinny

Games like these had not been going the Tigers way so far this year.

Brad Penny turned in a solid start, the offense provided a bit of support, the defense was executing and made a couple of run saving plays (Ryan Raburn going over the fence and robbing Michael Young of a home run, anyone?).

Something had to go wrong before the team got a win, right?

Well, it almost did, when reliable setup man Joaquin Benoit allowed a single, a runner to advance on a wild pitch, and then another single, wiping away the Tigers' 4-3 lead and allowing the game to tie up at 4 in the top of the eighth.

But this time around the Tigers offense came through, loading the bases for Miguel Cabrera in the bottom of the ninth, who promptly ripped a hard ground ball to the hole between shortstop and third base, bringing home the game winning run.

The Star

Raburn deserves credit for the run-saving catch, and Cabrera certainly deserves credit for driving in the game winning run, but the star has to be starter Brad Penny, who didn't get the win, but gave the Tigers 6 2/3 innings of solid baseball. In part thanks to the strong defense early on, he was able to keep the Rangers off the scoreboard in big numbers, and cruised toward the end of the appearance, mixing mostly four-seam fastballs.

Key AB's Of The Game

Top 3, Brad Penny (RHP) vs. Michael Young (RHB)
It was a tenuous spot in the game, with runners on the corners, just one out, and the game tied at 1. Young strolled to the plate with an opportunity to break the tie and possibly give his team a comfortable cushion. On the first pitch of the at-bat, Penny made his biggest mistake of the game, leaving a change-up out over the middle of the plate and belt high. Young turned on the pitch and sent it toward the bullpens in left, and it would have been a game-opening three run homer, if not for a leaping play from Ryan Raburn who elevated and snagged the ball just as it was about to go over the wall. The Rangers would get one run on the play as a sacrifice fly, but the catch kept the game close when it needed to be.

Bottom 9, Darren O'Day (RHP) vs. Miguel Cabrera (RHB)
In a tie game, with the bases loaded, there are few players you'd rather see stroll to the plate than Miguel Cabrera. O'Day had worked himself into the jam, loading up the bases for Cabrera with two outs, meaning any hit would end it for Detroit. The Rangers elected to keep O'Day rather than turn to Neftali Feliz, and the move came back to bite them. O'Day used a sinker/slider combo to get the count to 1-1, but missed with the slider on pitch 3. O'Day tried to come back to the sinker, but Cabrera was ready for it, dropped the bat head down and hit a hard grounder between short and third, for the walk-off winner.

The Standings

4-7, 5th in the AL Central

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