|Detroit (75-61) «||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||4||5||7||0|
|Tampa Bay (72-64)||0||1||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||6||0|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Brandon Inge struck out in each of his first three at-bats Sunday. Then, one swing changed everything.
"It's one of those days where I couldn't really figure out why I was missing," Inge said. "I felt like I was taking good swings all day. As long as you can remember that that very last at-bat is going to be one that can make a huge difference in the game, put all of your previous at-bats aside because it's the last one that's very important."
Detroit earned its sixth consecutive win and opened a seven-game lead over Minnesota in the AL Central.
After Rays starter Wade Davis pitched seven sharp innings in his major league debut, Detroit overcame a 3-1 lead when Tampa Bay used five relievers in the ninth. Inge capped the comeback, connecting with one out against Russ Springer (0-3) for his fifth career slam.
"He did a great job," Springer said of Davis. "It makes it worse to ruin his first start. It was bad in a couple different ways. It wasn't that bad of a pitch. It was on the outside corner. I know he's a hook guy, but on paper he's supposed to hit the ball to second. He got it."
"He gave up that three-spot, but I thought he was tremendous," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of Jackson. "That's what gave us a chance to win the ballgame."
Evan Longoria hit his career-high 28th homer for the Rays, who have lost eight of 11 and fell seven back of wild card-leading Boston. The 2008 AL Rookie of the Year joined teammate Carlos Pena in reaching 100 RBI, marking the first time two Tampa Bay players have reached that total in the same year.
Davis allowed one run and three hits with nine strikeouts and one walk. Taken in the third round of the 2004 draft, the native of nearby Lake Wales, Fla., pitched a day before his 24th birthday.
"Everybody wants to win," said Davis, who watched the ninth in the clubhouse. "I gave them a chance."
Davis struck out his first four batters before Aubrey Huff homered to put the Tigers ahead 1-0 in the second. The right-hander then closed out the second with two more strikeouts.
Struggling closer J.P. Howell entered and walked pinch-hitter Marcus Thames, the only batter he faced. Springer took over and gave up a single to Magglio Ordonez before Inge's 27th homer of the season. Randy Choate got the last two outs.
Maddon said the ninth-inning matchups were established before the inning.
"Obviously the two walks can't happen," he said. "The walks really turned that game around."
Tampa Bay's bullpen is 2-8 with eight blown saves in the last 28 games.
|Brandon Inge picks a perfect time for his fifth career grand slam, unloading in the ninth inning. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Curtis Granderson, CF||5||0||1||0||0||2||2||.254|
|Ramon Santiago, 2B-SS||4||0||0||0||0||2||2||.259|
|Carlos Guillen, LF||3||0||0||0||1||2||0||.245|
|Miguel Cabrera, 1B||3||1||0||0||1||1||2||.336|
|Aubrey Huff, DH||3||1||1||1||0||0||0||.244|
|a- Marcus Thames, PH-DH||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.247|
|Wilkin Ramirez, PR-DH||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||.286|
|Magglio Ordonez, RF||4||0||2||0||0||1||0||.285|
|Ryan Raburn, PR-RF||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||.271|
|Brandon Inge, 3B||4||1||1||4||0||3||1||.233|
|Gerald Laird, C||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||.219|
|b- Placido Polanco, PH-2B||2||0||2||0||0||0||0||.277|
|Adam Everett, SS||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.239|
|c- Clete Thomas, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.245|
|Alex Avila, C||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.302|
|a-walked for Huff in the 9th|
|b-singled for Laird in the 8th|
|c-struck out for Everett in the 8th|
|2B - Curtis Granderson (18, Davis)|
|3B - Placido Polanco (4, Springer)|
|HR - Aubrey Huff (14, Davis), Brandon Inge (27, Springer)|
|RBI - Aubrey Huff (77), Brandon Inge 4 (74)|
|SB - Placido Polanco (6, 2nd base off Cormier/Navarro)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|DP - Everett-Santiago-Cabrera|
|Edwin Jackson (W,12-6)||8||6||3||3||3||4||1||3.10|
|Brandon Lyon (S,3)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||2.91|
|IBB - Pena by Edwin Jackson|
|WP - Edwin Jackson (4)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Edwin Jackson 126-81, Brandon Lyon 12-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Edwin Jackson 8-11, Brandon Lyon 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Edwin Jackson 32, Brandon Lyon 3|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Jason Bartlett, SS||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.333|
|Carl Crawford, LF||4||0||0||0||0||1||0||.303|
|Ben Zobrist, RF||3||0||1||0||1||0||0||.283|
|Carlos Pena, 1B||3||0||0||0||1||2||1||.228|
|Pat Burrell, DH||3||0||0||0||1||0||1||.237|
|Evan Longoria, 3B||4||1||1||1||0||1||3||.279|
|Akinori Iwamura, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||0||3||.296|
|Dioner Navarro, C||3||1||1||0||0||0||1||.226|
|a- Gregg Zaun, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.261|
|Fernando Perez, CF||3||1||1||0||0||0||1||.333|
|a-struck out for Navarro in the 9th|
|2B - Ben Zobrist (20, Jackson)|
|HR - Evan Longoria (28, Jackson)|
|RBI - Evan Longoria (100)|
|2-OUT RBI - Evan Longoria (37)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Lance Cormier (H,4)||1.1||1||0||0||0||2||0||2.86|
|Russ Springer (BS,2; L,0-3)||0||3||2||2||0||0||1||4.05|
|Pitches-Strikes - Wade Davis 105-67, Lance Cormier 17-13, Grant Balfour 5-1, J.P. Howell 6-2, Russ Springer 12-9, Randy Choate 7-6|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wade Davis 4-8|
|Batters Faced - Wade Davis 25, Lance Cormier 5, Grant Balfour 1, J.P. Howell 1, Russ Springer 3, Randy Choate 2|
|Attendance - 28059|
|Game Time - 2:48|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - Laz Diaz, First Base - Eric Cooper, Second Base - Mike Reilly, Third Base - Chuck Meriwether|