Tigers prove they're not dead yet

September, 12, 2012
9/12/12
12:30
AM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- It was a bit premature to start writing off the Detroit Tigers after Monday night’s loss to the White Sox which put Chicago up three games in the American League Central.

Jake Peavy was not able to hold off the slumping Tigers offense which had scored six runs in their last four games -- all losses -- as Detroit took Game 2 of their series 5-3 on Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field.


Peavy, who at 10-11 has pitched much better than his record indicates, was burned by the home run ball with Austin Jackson and Miguel Cabrera going deep in a three-run fifth inning.

“We had a chance,” Peavy said. ”I would love to have some pitches back, but that is the way it goes. The lineup is deep and that lineup’s dangerous all the way down. That is a deep, deep lineup.”

The two-game swing in this series is an emotional roller coaster for all involved. With a two-game lead and three weeks left in the season, the division may indeed go down to the last games on October 1-3.

“I would assume, I would assume (it would),” said Gordon Beckham, who homered in the loss. “(The Tigers) are playing hard, and we are playing hard. We will see what happens, but it will probably go down to the last three games of the season.”

Peavy agreed that the division race could go down to the wire.

“These are two very talented teams that are not going anywhere,” he said. “It is going to be a good battle going right down to the end.”

Once again the Sox lived and died by the long ball. Home runs by Dewayne Wise and Beckham accounted for all three of their runs. With the tying runs on base and no outs in the eighth inning, manager Robin Ventura asked Kevin Youkilis to get a bunt down. After two aborted tries, Youkilis struck out swinging as did Wise. Paul Konerko grounded out to end a once-promising inning.

“We are trying to tie it up,” Ventura said. “We are trying to get them into scoring position. It just didn’t happen. We didn’t execute very well.”

What Ventura left out was that Youkilis was in a 3-for-33 slump and instead of taking a shot on a big inning he asked Youkilis to get down his first sacrifice bunt of the season. That strategy failed on two levels. First, by asking a non-bunter to lay one down and second by not wanting to pinch hit with a more experienced bunter such as Orlando Hudson. But Ventura did not want to make his slumping third baseman look bad.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Conor Gillaspie
BA HR RBI R
.305 5 46 46
OTHER LEADERS
HRJ. Abreu 33
RBIJ. Abreu 93
RJ. Abreu 67
OPSJ. Abreu .962
WC. Sale 10
ERAC. Sale 2.12
SOC. Sale 158