DETROIT – If you were asleep by 11 p.m. Tuesday, you missed one of the most exciting moments of this Detroit Tigers season.
For a team that had lost four straight games to inferior opponents, the Tigers looked like a mess again Tuesday. Tyler Alexander gave up a grand slam before recording a single out in the top of the first inning -- the second time in three games the Tigers trailed 4-0 before getting an out.
Other than an Akil Baddoo solo home run, there wasn’t much fight over the first eight innings. The Tigers were down 5-1 for almost the entire game, and after they failed to capitalize on a rally in the seventh, many fans probably decided to call it a night.
But in the top of the ninth inning, after Robbie Grossman, Miguel Cabrera and Jeimer Candelario reached base with one out, Eric Haase provided perhaps the greatest highlight of 2021 so far.
On the eighth pitch of the at-bat, he took a 96 mph fastball on the outside corner and smashed it 362 feet over the tall right field fence.
Suddenly, the game was tied 5-5, and the Tigers had a chance to break their losing streak. Just listen to the emotion from the Bally Sports Detroit announcers:
But then, when the Tigers failed to score their automatic runner from second base in the top of the 10th inning, the game started to look eerily familiar. On Monday night, Grossman had tied the game with a pinch hit two-run homer in the ninth only to see the Tigers lose on a walk-off in the bottom of the 10th.
This time, though, Jose Cisnero got out of a bases loaded, one out jam by piping 98 mph past Monday’s hero, Max Kepler, and overpowering the strikeout-prone Miguel Sano.
Miguel Cabrera drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th inning, and Daniel Norris stranded Minnesota’s automatic runner with a trio of groundouts to seal the victory.
Miggy now has 5,044 career total bases, tied with George Brett for 20th all time. pic.twitter.com/CrVGwWRfBY— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) July 28, 2021
Between Haase’s heroics, relievers coming through in high-leverage situations and Cabrera knocking in the winning run, it was a magical end to an ugly, deflating losing streak.
Even though the Tigers have been outplayed for about 19 of the 21 innings so far this series, they woke up Wednesday morning with a chance to take two out of three. That would be a big boost before they head home for four games against the Baltimore Orioles.