What a beautiful day for a ball game!
Amrys was in town visiting Paul, so the three of us made plans to catch a baseball game today — and boy, did we luck out in game selection. The weather was fantastic — upper 70s. The seats were in the shade out the sun — but still with a good view of the field. And then there was the game itself…
The first inning started out great for the Tigers, particularly for my fantasy players, Curtis Granderson and Magglio Ordonez. Granderson led off with a double, and scored on a Placido Polanco single, which was followed by an Omar Infante single. Then my other player, Mags, hit a single up the middle and knocked in those two runs. Detroit looked infallible with the 3-0 lead so early on, but the White Sox decided to demonstrate that they were in town to play some baseball too.
It started with a Pierzynski solo shot in the 2nd and was followed by two runs in the 5th to tie it up (including one scored by my only White Sox fantasy player in the field today, Juan Uribe). In the meantime, the Tigers didn’t get another base runner until the 7th when they squandered a walk and a single, leaving Carlos Guillen and Sean Casey stranded. It looked like the White Sox may have sealed the deal in the 8th when Joe Crede hit a two run blast to left center to put the Sox up 5-3. When the Tigers went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning, fairweather fans began to slowly trickle out of the stadium.
But then the top of the ninth ended with a stellar double play and it looked like the big orange cats might try and scratch their way back after all. But the bottom of the ninth didn’t start well when Infante popped up to second and Mags struck out on four pitches. Guillen hit a single up the middle to keep Detroit alive, but with two outs already and Marcus “.125” Thames at the plate, the stands were emptying fast as the crowd was more worried about the impending traffic jam in the parking lot. But then one of those miracle plays that can only happen in baseball happened. The bottom of the ninth, two outs, and a guy who had already struck out twice and hit into a double play once at the plate. And I’m sure you’ve guessed already — Thames hit the ball 395 feet, over the left field wall to tie the game up. All those people who thought they were leaving quickly sat down.
After Sean Casey got on with a single, due up was catcher Mike Rabelo, 0 for 9 on the season. Anyone who was expecting a miracle from Rabelo was a fool and even Jim Leyland knew that. While Pudge Rodriguez thought he was getting a day off today, everyone in the stadium knew they wanted the future hall of famer up there instead of a guy batting .000. And so he put on a helmet, stepped into the batter’s box and the crowd went nuts. The game was on the line. It was one of those moments at a baseball game where you can just feel that you’re about to see something special. And sure enough — Pudge scored the winning run. Tiger victory!
Only that wasn’t until the 12th when Placido Polanco hit him in after he and Granderson walked. At that moment in the bottom of the ninth, Pudge struck out very anticlimactically and the game went to extra innings. But this meant that Pudge actually caught the last three innings, his 1,951st game behind the plate, securing him fourth place all time in games caught.
Other than when my Tiger boyfriend, Brandon Inge, hit a double and was stranded, the 10th and 11th innings were tense but uneventful. (Inge also made two masterful plays at third in the top of the 10th.) Amrys’s scorecard only went to eleven, so she didn’t get to score the 12th inning. (A note to Spinal Tap — sometimes even eleven is not enough.) For her sake, here’s the play by play of the game’s final inning, in excruciating detail:
Top of the 12th, Chicago batting:
- Paul Konerko takes first pitch strike, second pitch ball, pops up to second.
- Jermaine Dye takes first pitch ball, grounds out to third, 5-3
- A.J. Pierzynski takes two balls, flies out to left
Bottom of the 12th, Detroit batting:
- Ivan Rodriguez walks on four pitches
- Brandon takes ball 1 and 2, 3rd pitch strike, 4th pitch ball, sacrifice bunt to pitcher, S1-3; I-Rod advances to second.
- Pitching change: Boone Logan relieves Nick Masset
- Craig Monroe (27) pinch hits for Granderson, walks on 4 pitches
- Placido Polanco takes first pitch ball, second pitch strike, singles to deep left, Rodriguez comes around to score