Detroit Tigers Topple Tribe, Magic Number Is 14
Austin Jackson was named American League "Player of the Week" for his incredible offensive production last week where his batting average was well above .500. Tonight, he made two outs in the first inning. That's actually a good thing. The fact that Jackson had the opportunity to make two outs in the same inning meant that his teammates were doing some serious damage to the Cleveland pitching staff. After Jackson grounded out to start the game, Andy Dirks made the second out in the first. Delmon Young walked for the first time since becoming a Tiger (90+ at-bats). After that, the Tiger batters hit six straight singles and by the time Austin Jackson made the final out of the first inning, the Tigers had a 5-0 lead.
The Tigers would tack on 3 more in the second inning off Cleveland starter Fausto Carmona, and the boo-birds at Progressive Field could be heard quite clearly as the Indians were about to be blown out of the Central Division race.
Porcello would last 6 and a third innings, giving up just one run on a solo homer to Kosuke Fukudome. Phil Coke worked a 1 and two thirds innings, striking out 4. After the Tigers tacked on 2 more runs in the 8th, Al Alburquerque got into a game for the first time since being hit in the head and suffering a concussion more than a month ago. He was a little rusty, giving up a hit and walking two while also striking out two. Daniel Schereth got Alburqueque out of the bases loaded jam by striking out the only hitter he faced and preserving the 10-1 Tiger win.
The victory puts the Tigers 8.5 games ahead of Cleveland, who now find themselves in third place behind Chicago. The White Sox have won 3 straight since the Tigers swept them over the weekend, but trail Detroit by 8 games. With 20 games to play, the Tiger magic number is 14. Any combination of 14 wins by Detroit or losses by the second place team means the Tigers clinch the American League Central Division title and a spot in the postseason.
The Tigers will look to move closer to that goal when they play the Indians in a 12:05 pm start tomorrow. Justin Verlander will go for win #22 against Cleveland's Justin Masterson, who is 11-8. This Tiger team doesn't look like a collapse is in the cards. Time to put some money aside for playoff tickets.