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Detroit at Tampa Bay

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Detroit (75-61) «010000004570
Tampa Bay (72-64)012000000360

Inge's slam in ninth ignites Tigers' sweep of Rays

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Brandon Inge struck out in each of his first three at-bats Sunday. Then, one swing changed everything.

Inge hit a grand slam in the ninth inning and the Detroit Tigers picked apart Tampa Bay's bullpen in a 5-3 victory over the Rays that completed a three-game sweep.

"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."

Edwin Jackson (12-6) allowed three runs and six hits in eight innings for Detroit. Brandon Lyon pitched the ninth for his third save.

"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.

Lance Cormier pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out Carlos Guillen to start the ninth. Manager Joe Maddon then brought in Grant Balfour, who walked Miguel Cabrera.

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.

Longoria homered in the second and Tampa Bay added two more in the third. Dioner Navarro scored on Carl Crawford's double-play grounder and Fernando Perez came home on Jackson's wild pitch.

Notes

  • Jackson, traded from Tampa Bay to Detroit during the offseason, received his 2008 AL championship ring from the Rays on Saturday. He went 14-11 last season.
  • Davis' nine strikeouts set a team record for a rookie in his first game.
  • Tigers closer Fernando Rodney, who threw 35 pitches on Friday, rested for the second straight game.
  • Leyland plans to talk with RHP Armando Galarraga, whose spot in the rotation might be in jeopardy.
  • A group of Detroit players enjoyed watching Leyland drive RHP Jeremy Bonderman's remote-control, high-speed mini-car in the outfield before the game. "We both flipped it," Leyland said.
 
Copyright 2014 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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Brandon Inge picks a perfect time for his fifth career grand slam, unloading in the ninth inning.  (AP)
Brandon Inge picks a perfect time for his fifth career grand slam, unloading in the ninth inning. (AP)

Players of the Game
Detroit

B. Inge
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 4
Detroit

E. Jackson
IP 8.0
H 6
ER 3
BB 3
K 4
 
Detroit Tigers
Curtis Granderson, CF5010022 .254
Ramon Santiago, 2B-SS4000022 .259
Carlos Guillen, LF3000120 .245
Miguel Cabrera, 1B3100112 .336
Aubrey Huff, DH3111000 .244
   a- Marcus Thames, PH-DH0000100 .247
    Wilkin Ramirez, PR-DH0100000 .286
Magglio Ordonez, RF4020010 .285
    Ryan Raburn, PR-RF0100000 .271
Brandon Inge, 3B4114031 .233
Gerald Laird, C2000001 .219
   b- Placido Polanco, PH-2B2020000 .277
Adam Everett, SS2000000 .239
   c- Clete Thomas, PH1000011 .245
    Alex Avila, C1000011 .302
Totals34575313  
a-walked for Huff in the 9th
b-singled for Laird in the 8th
c-struck out for Everett in the 8th
Batting
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
Fielding
DP - Everett-Santiago-Cabrera
Detroit Tigers
Edwin Jackson (W,12-6) 8633341 3.10
Brandon Lyon (S,3) 1000010 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, SS4010001 .333
Carl Crawford, LF4000010 .303
Ben Zobrist, RF3010100 .283
Carlos Pena, 1B3000121 .228
Pat Burrell, DH3000101 .237
Evan Longoria, 3B4111013 .279
Akinori Iwamura, 2B4010003 .296
Dioner Navarro, C3110001 .226
   a- Gregg Zaun, PH1000010 .261
Fernando Perez, CF3110001 .333
Totals3236135  
a-struck out for Navarro in the 9th
Batting
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
Wade Davis 7311191 1.29
Lance Cormier (H,4) 1.1100020 2.86
Grant Balfour0011100 4.77
J.P. Howell0011100 2.97
Russ Springer (BS,2; L,0-3)0322001 4.05
Randy Choate 0.2000020 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
Game Information
Attendance - 28059
Game Time - 2:48
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Laz Diaz, First Base - Eric Cooper, Second Base - Mike Reilly, Third Base - Chuck Meriwether