Tigers Vs. Roadrunners - By Richard Deyerle
Game 1 - Thomson vs. Washburn. Jim set the early stage for this series by scoring four in the first off Thomson, highlighted by Reggie Sander's two run shot. Barry Bonds hit his second homer of the post season to make it 4 to 1 in the bottom of the first. Danny Bautista homered in the second to make it 4 to 3. a slugfest seemed inevitable. Both Washburn and Thomson settled in at this point. Thomson was pulled after five while Washburn lasted into the seventh. With one out in the seventh the Tigers chased Washburn with back to back doubles by Lieberthal and Edgar Martinez. Isringhausen intentionally walked Barry and Jeff Kent strolled to the plate. Kent ripped a shot at first rounder Mark Bellhorn. Bellhorn knocked down the ball and should have eaten the obvious single but he rifled the ball towards first and right field for a two base error clearing the bases and putting the Tigers ahead 6 to 5. Cordero walked two int ninth to make it interesting but the Tigers held on for the 6 to 5 win.
Game 2 - Moyer vs. Ru. Ortiz. Preston Wilson homered to complete a four run second for the Runners. The Tigers answered with a four spot of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Lofton tripled, Sexson singled him home and Herbert Perry hit a two run homer. A double by NcLemore and a single by Durazo tied it up. After Cliff Floyd homered for the Roadrunners to regain the lead, the Tigers scored three runs on two bases loaded walks and a single. Cliff floyd homered again in the fifth to make it a one run game. Jeff Kent homered in the eighth for a much needed insurance run. Cordero struck out five to in one and two thirds for the save.
Game 3 - Zito vs Jennings - Has there ever been a worse pitcher start in the post-season than Jason Jennings? Amazingly I got Jennings out of the game with the score tied at three, but the Runners exploded for five fifth inning runs keyed by Jeff Kent's two out error to pull away and win 9 to 3. Zito went the distance and Reggie Sanders went deep.
Game 4 - Thomson vs. Washburn. This game seemed critical to the series for both of us. Mike Lieberthal led off the game with a solo to give us the lead 1 to 0. The Roadrunners answered by adding solo runs in the second, third, fourth and fifth. In the fourth we scored two ourselves and trailed 4 to 3. We head to the ninth and the Tigers still trail 4 to 3. Only four hits so far for the Tigers. With Kim on the mound the Kenny Lofton singles. We have 0 steals for the series and a good lead will make Lofton a 14 to steal second. Seems risky. I try to get the lead, semi hoping not to get it. I get the lead and steal second. Bill Mueller then hits a hit and run RBI singlt to tie the score. To extra innings we go. In the top of inning twelve, with one out the pitcher comes to the plate. Every pinch-hitter has been used so Cordero bats. He hits it towards third again and Bellhorn throws it away for a two base error. Former Tiger pitcher Pote seems shook up. His first pitch is a fat one that Jeff Kent unloads for the automatic two run shot. Up 6 to 4, Cordero has pitched three innings and is now dotted. The only remaining pitcher is Scott Stewart. Jim's lineup looks poised for a rally. A walk and a single put runners at the corners and no one out. With three righties up that include Preston Wilson and Reggie Sanders the rally looks like it will develop. What happens? Strike three, strike three, strike three, Stewart strikes out the side to end it. The Tigers are outhit 15 to 8. The Tigers establish or at least tie a record by using 23 players in the game.
Game 5 - Moyer vs. Ortiz. Mark Bellhorn homered to give the Roadrunners the early lead. A Kent homer and another Runner error help the Tigers anwer with three in the second. Mike Piazza hit a three run homer in the third to push the Tigers up 6 to 1. Bonds and Sexson homered later as the Tigers rushed by the Runners 9 to 1. The Tigers win the series 4 games to 1. Congrats to Jim on a fine season.