|Yeah, he's a boss.|
Oh, yes they did.
We have never, in our many years of watching Tigers baseball, seen* a comeback that momentous. A blend of bad Brad Penny pitching, untimely poor defense, and the usual crappy umpiring put us in an 8-1 hole. Fabulous. In the past, we could expect our boys to take this loss sitting down, getting a major smackdown from the hated Sox today and focusing on tomorrow, hoping to win the series finale with Scherzer on the mound. By the third inning, all of Tiger Nation had accepted that the White Sox were probably going to take this game.
The Tigers, however, had other ideas.
What, did you think this was 2009? This team obviously isn't going to take a loss sitting down. This team clearly isn't going to give up in a pennant race. This team has learned that every. Game. COUNTS.
How else can you explain the onslaught of offense that built up to the most dramatic ninth inning we've seen in years?
After Austin Jackson (four more hits!!! Someone's getting hot), Wilson Betemit, Delmon Young, Juh-honny Peralta and more made a seven-run deficit into a two-run one, and the not-so-oft-used David Pauley and rookie Luis Marte pitched four scoreless innings to keep the White Sox at bay, it was time to stage the biggest comeback in Comerica Park history. And this is where the Drama comes in.
Wilson Betemit Strikes Out. One gone.
Austin Jackson Singles. Of course he does!
Ryan Raburn Homers (!!!!!!!!).
Seriously?! Look, we know we have never been the biggest Raburn fans. But we've also never been part of the Haters Club. So for Ray Ray to launch that majestic, 420 foot shot into the stands, give a fist pump, and round the bases with the game all tied up was a very heartwarming thing indeed. Haters, without Ryan Raburn we probably would not have won that game. It was beautiful.
Funny thing was, as far as epicness goes, it wasn't even close to what happened next.
Delmon Young Strikes Out. Two gone.
Ok, we thought. We can settle for a tie ball game. We'll just win it extras!
Our thoughts were not shared by Miguel Cabrera.
Why? Because Miguel Cabrera wanted to win NOW. Miguel Cabrera wanted to make a statement to these White Sox. The statement: The Central Division is Ours.
The No-Doubter that came off his bat off of the first pitch had such beautiful timing, we almost teared up. The team went crazy, we went crazy, the fans in the stadium went crazy, Jim Leyland went crazy (for him), and we're sure all you people watching at home did too.
That was one of the the final nails in the coffin to the White Sox's season, don't you think? What a demoralizing loss for them. In fact, it seems like the kind of loss our boys might have taken down the stretch in the past few years. But this year, it seems everything is Different.
We have been afraid to say it, because we've been down this road of false hope before. But this team wants the Postseason, and they're going to get it. Valverde is still--still!--perfect. We have a club full of professional hitters ready to back our big slugger up. AJax has awoken. Our bullpen is finally pitching to their potential. We've had amazing pickups late in the season. But it is players Justin Verlander,, who's great outing yesterday was overshadowed by today's theatrics, and Miguel Cabrera, who's becoming more and more clutch by the game, who we need to thank the most.
What this long and rambling and emotional article is trying to say is that this team is Going The Distance. And it's games like these that fuel teams to go far. Keep it up, babies. Keep it up.
PS-Did anyone see Max Scherzer's reaction to Cabrera's homer? Holy crap, he's excitable. If you don't know what we're talking about, watch the bench's reaction to the walk-off. You'll see what we mean.
*We didn't get to actually WATCH this game. We listened on the radio and watched Gametracker. Stupid Fox broadcast wasn't in our region, so of course we miss the most exciting game of the year. So typical.