It wasn’t easy. But the Detroit Tigers completed a sweep of the Cleveland Indians on Sunday with a heart-stopping 8-7 win – Austin Jackson saved the day by throwing out Kosuke Fukudome at the plate to end the game. Much earlier in the day, it looked like the Tigers would cruise to an easy win. The Tigers jumped on Ubaldo Jimenez for seven runs in the third inning – Delmon Young hit a three-run home run and Victor Martinez a two-run shot – and the Tigers had a 7-0 lead. But the Indians came right back – they knocked Rick Porcello out of the game with five runs in the 4th, and suddenly the seven run lead was down to two. Young drove in another run with a single, but the Indians scored single runs in the 5th and 6th innings, and the Tigers took an 8-7 lead to the ninth. Jose Valverde – who has converted all 36 save opportunities this year – walked Fukudome to start the inning. Then – on a 0-2 pitch – he hit the next batter, Jason Donald. A sacrifice put runners at 2nd and 3rd…And then came the play of the game: Matt LaPorta, pinch-hitting for Lou Marson, hit a fly ball to shallow centerfield. Jackson came in, made the catch, Fukudome tagged at third, and Jackson threw a perfect strike to Alex Avila, just to the left of home plate, Fukudome collided with Avila, but Avila held on, and the Tigers had the win, and the series sweep.
The win moves the Tigers ten games over .500 for the first time this year. They now lead Cleveland by four and a half games – their largest lead of the year. The Tigers now hit the road for seven games in Tampa and Minnesota. The trip starts with a four game series against the Rays on Monday. Justin Verlander goes against Jeff Niemann for the Rays.
Listen below to Delmon Young’s 3-run HR
Listen below to Austin Jackson’s game saving play