The Detroit Tigers seem to be all but a lock for the AL Central division championship. They’ve dominated their chief competition in the first two games of a key four-game series this week, outscoring the White Sox by a total of 11-1. But anyone familiar with baseball knows that it ain’t over until it’s over.
Last night’s 4-0 victory was orchestrated by Tigers pitcher Kenny Rogers, who walked just one batter and gave up four hits in his seven-inning shutout performance. Reliever Fernando Rodney came perilously close to letting the Sox back into the game in the eighth inning, but a Paul Konerko double play bailed him out.
Offensively, the Tigers were led by outfielder Marcus Thames, who was involved in three of the four scoring plays for the team. The first was when Sox pitcher Mark Buerhle walked Thames with the bases loaded, an especially bad omen considering that it happened in the opening inning. He also contributed an RBI triple in the third inning and a solo homer in the fifth.
The win was a milestone for Detroit because it ensured that no matter what happened for the rest of the year, the team would have its first winning season since 1993 (back when rookie pitcher Justin Verlander was 10).
“Normally, this would be one of those just-for-fun bits of baseball trivia,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. “But for a team like us, blowing the rest of the season is entirely plausible. All I can say is, stay tuned … ”
Number of the Night: 1 2/3
Innings it took Sox manager Ozzie Guillen to get ejected for arguing with ump Dan Iassogna over his unique interpretation of the strike zone.