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Zobrist, Rays jump on Tigers' weak bullpen, win in 11th

CBSSports.com wire reports
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DETROIT -- The Tampa Bay Rays are heading into the playoffs for the first time after rallying from a five-run deficit, losing the lead and winning in extra innings.

Ben Zobrist hit a go-ahead single in a four-run eighth and had a solo homer in the 11th, lifting the Rays to an 8-7 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.

"I loved the way we played like that on the last day," manager Joe Maddon.

Then, he put Tampa Bay's 97th victory in perspective.

"By the time Thursday comes around, nobody remembers what you did on Sunday," Maddon said.

Tampa Bay will host the Minnesota Twins or the Chicago White Sox later this week in the playoffs, depending on how a game or two plays out.

The Tigers probably wanted their season to mercifully to end, but they had to fly to Chicago to play a makeup game on Monday because the White Sox had a shot to win the AL Central.

Detroit right-hander Freddy Garcia will get the start against Gavin Floyd, and acknowledged being motivated to beat one of his former teams.

"It will be fun because they're playing for everything," Garcia said. "If they lose, they go home. If we win, we go home, but we were spoilers."

If the White Sox beat Detroit, they will play Minnesota in a tiebreaker Tuesday at home.

Maddon said he would start right-hander James Shields, who threw only the first inning Sunday, or lefty Scott Kazmir in the first two games of the playoffs. But he would not say who would be on the mound for Game 1.

In Detroit's home finale, Tampa Bay took advantage of the weakest link the Tigers had during their disappointing season and the faulty facet of the game led to two coaches losing their jobs.

The Tigers failed to meet high expectations for many reasons, but their pitching -- particularly the bullpen -- might've been the biggest culprit.

Perhaps it was fitting that relievers lost a lead after the seventh inning for an unlucky 13th time in the last game of the year at Comerica Park.

After the game, manager Jim Leyland announced pitching coach Chuck Hernandez and bullpen coach Jeff Jones had been fired.

"It's one of the unfortunate things, in situations like this, you know somebody's going to pay," Leyland said. "If it was next year at this time, it would be me.

"I feel very bad for both guys. I've never fired coaches."

Tigers starter Zach Miner had a career-high six strikeouts, but gave up homers to Rocco Baldelli and Eric Hinske in the fifth inning.

"It was tough to warm up for the last time with (the fired coaches) and I tried to not get very emotional, but I was thinking about it and was sad," Miner said. "If I pitch good, I want people to give me credit.

"If I pitch bad, it's my fault. They prepared us, but somebody has to take the blame sometimes and unfortunately it's them."

Edwin Jackson (14-11) gave up two runs and four hits over two innings. Jason Hammel had his second save in as many opportunities.

Chris Lambert (1-2) pitched a perfect 10th inning, then allowed Zobrist to lead off the 11th with his fourth homer of the series to win the game.

"I like playing here, I guess," said Zobrist, who hit a third of his 12 homers this season at Comerica Park. "I really see the ball well here."

Detroit had chances to finish the season one game over .500 at home.

Curtis Granderson put Detroit ahead 3-0 in the third with a three-run homer and Magglio Ordonez extended the game to extra innings with a two-run home run in the ninth.

Gary Sheffield, however, is stuck on 499 homers.

He had plenty of chances to become the 25th major leaguer to hit 500 homers, but finished 1-for-5 with a walk. He singled in the ninth and scored when Ordonez followed with his 21st homer.

Sheffield hopes to clear the fences at least once at Chicago.

"It would be nice to get it out of the way so I don't have to start next season talking about it," he said.

Notes

Tampa Bay put Carl Crawford in the outfield for two innings, then pinch-hit for him in the eighth. The two-time All-Star returned to the Rays Friday after being out for nearly six weeks with a finger injury. Crawford is expected to play an instructional league game Monday at the Rays' minor league complex.... Tigers SS Edgar Renteria left the game with a left pectoral strain. ... Rays 1B Carlos Pena missed a second straight game to recover from an illness. ... Rays rookie C John Jaso made his first career start behind the plate. ... Detroit's sellout crowd of 40,373 boosted the club-record attendance total to 3,202,645. ... The Tigers plan to make Brandon Inge their everyday 3B and to play Carlos Guillen in LF.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

E. Hinske
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
Detroit

C. Granderson
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 4
 

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Tampa Bay Rays
Akinori Iwamura, 2B2000010 .274
    Dan Johnson, 1B4110001 .192
B.J. Upton, CF2000010 .273
    Fernando Perez, CF2100100 .250
Evan Longoria, 3B3000010 .272
    Carl Crawford, LF0000000 .273
   a- Jonny Gomes, PH-LF2122000 .182
Rocco Baldelli, DH4111132 .263
Willy Aybar, 1B-2B4120100 .253
Ben Zobrist, SS5122013 .253
Gabe Gross, RF2000011 .238
    Justin Ruggiano, RF2000113 .197
Eric Hinske, LF-3B4123111 .247
John Jaso, C5110014 .200
Totals418118511  
a-doubled for Crawford in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jonny Gomes (5, Dolsi), Willy Aybar (17, Miner)
HR - Rocco Baldelli (4, Miner), Ben Zobrist (12, Lambert), Eric Hinske (20, Miner)
RBI - Jonny Gomes 2 (21), Rocco Baldelli (13), Ben Zobrist 2 (30), Eric Hinske 3 (60)
2-OUT RBI - Eric Hinske 3 (19)
SB - Eric Hinske (10, 2nd base off Lambert/Ryan)
Team LOB - 5
Tampa Bay Rays
James Shields 1000000 3.56
Mitch Talbot 2.1555511 11.17
David Price 1.2100020 1.93
Dan Wheeler 1000220 3.12
Troy Percival 1000000 4.53
Trever Miller (H,11) 1000010 4.15
Edwin Jackson (BS,1; W,14-11) 2422111 4.42
Jason Hammel (S,2) 1000010 4.60
WP - Mitch Talbot (1)
Pitches-Strikes - James Shields 10-6, Mitch Talbot 71-36, David Price 31-19, Dan Wheeler 22-12, Troy Percival 10-5, Trever Miller 15-10, Edwin Jackson 43-22, Jason Hammel 13-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - James Shields 3-0, Mitch Talbot 2-4, Trever Miller 1-1, Edwin Jackson 2-3, Jason Hammel 1-1
Batters Faced - James Shields 3, Mitch Talbot 17, David Price 6, Dan Wheeler 5, Troy Percival 3, Trever Miller 3, Edwin Jackson 11, Jason Hammel 3
Detroit Tigers
Curtis Granderson, CF4114221 .282
Gary Sheffield, DH5111111 .227
Magglio Ordonez, RF5122114 .318
Miguel Cabrera, 1B6010015 .292
Marcus Thames, LF3000002 .244
    Matt Joyce, LF3000000 .253
Edgar Renteria, SS2110000 .270
    Ryan Raburn, 2B3010010 .230
   a- Jeff Larish, PH1000010 .262
Dusty Ryan, C5020001 .317
Brandon Inge, 3B4210113 .203
Ramon Santiago, 2B-SS2100300 .289
Totals43710788  
a-struck out for Raburn in the 11th
Batting
2B - Brandon Inge (15, Talbot)
HR - Curtis Granderson (22, Talbot), Magglio Ordonez (21, Jackson)
RBI - Curtis Granderson 4 (66), Gary Sheffield (57), Magglio Ordonez 2 (103)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Matt Joyce 1
DP - Raburn-Santiago-Cabrera
PB - Dusty Ryan (1)
Detroit Tigers
Zach Miner 6433162 4.27
Casey Fossum (H,7) 1233210 5.66
Freddy Dolsi (BS,1) 0.2211120 3.97
Clay Rapada 1.1000110 4.22
Chris Lambert (L,1-2) 2311011 5.66
IBB - Aybar by Freddy Dolsi
Pitches-Strikes - Zach Miner 101-61, Casey Fossum 29-17, Freddy Dolsi 22-9, Clay Rapada 17-8, Chris Lambert 34-20
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Zach Miner 7-5, Casey Fossum 1-0, Chris Lambert 1-3
Batters Faced - Zach Miner 23, Casey Fossum 6, Freddy Dolsi 5, Clay Rapada 4, Chris Lambert 8
Game Information
Attendance - 40373
Game Time - 3:47
Temperature - 84
Umpires - Home - Ted Barrett, First Base - Doug Eddings, Second Base - Lance Barksdale, Third Base - Dana DeMuth