With the Tigers squaring off against the upstart Athletics, ye Olde Luck Gods became mightily confused as to where their chaos powers should shine brightest. After Tommy Milone (6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 6 K) and Doug Fister (7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 8 K) squared off and sent the game into its final act, runs broke out like wild, untamed beasts.
In the bottom of the seventh and with two on and two out, Miguel Cabrera stepped to the plate with his team down 2-1. Sean Doolittle got him to hit a pop fly to shallow center field, but when Coco Crisp came in to make the catch, instead the ball falling safely into the webbing of his mitt, it popped off the heel and despite the athleticism of a man blessed with gymnastic abilities, he was unable to corral the ball. Two runs scored on one of Miguel Cabrera’s weakest hits of the season.
It was at this moment that Crisp knew disaster would strike:
The Athletics would quickly come back to tie it up, however. Yoenis Cespedes singled in the top of the eighth and, showing off the strength, speed, and acumen that he displayed while roasting a pig, stole second and alertly stole third without a throw. Joaquin Benoit then uncorked a wild pitch and Cespedes would race home to tie the game. Shortly after, Josh Reddick hit what may be the biggest home run by a mulleted man (as pointed out by Cee Angi) in nigh on twenty years. It was exciting even if it wasn’t shocking as Benoit had the second highest HR/9 rate among relievers behind the fetid corpse of Livan Hernandez this year.
With only six outs left for the Tigers, Jim Leyland went to his bench in the next inning, using two pinch-runners and two pinch-hitters. The Tigers got runners to second and third and two outs, and Ryan Cook, a spectral hand perhaps gripping his arm, let loose a wild pitch that brought pinch-runner Don Kelly scampering in from third. He was able to strike Alex Avila out shortly thereafter, but once again, the chaos magick of the Luck Lords dropped from the sky and brought the game to a tie.
Scoring would not change for a whole half inning, though the Athletics would get men on the corners before Al Albuquerque, with the best name in the postseason, induced a groundout from Yoenis Cespedes to end the inning. Knowing that he had nothing to do with the outcome, but instead it was fated from the Universal Powers that Be, Albuquerque made an offering, kissing the ball in thanks as he threw the ball to first base.
(gif via The Farm Club)
Then the Tigers came to the plate. After Austin Jackson struck out, Omar Infante and Miguel Cabrera singled (another little squib from Cabrera) and Prince Fielder was then walked to load the bases. With one out and no room left in hell, Don Kelly, he of the .186/.276/.248 season and who hadn’t driven in a run since June 7th came up to bat. If ever there was a bases-loaded, one-out situation you’d want, this was it.
After taking a curveball for strike one, the Mighty Utilityman lofted a flyball to Josh Reddick in right field and Omar Infante came around to score.
Luck favored the Tigers today and with a 2-0 series lead, it will be mighty difficult for the A’s to crawl out of that deficit. Of course, they were down by two games with three left for the division and swept the Rangers, so maybe Moneyball 2 will have a happy ending after all.