The Tigers’ winning streak is 12 games, the club’s longest run of success since 1934, but the team is trying to view it as 12 individual entities.
“It’s coming out every day, playing hard and trying to win every game,” said Alex Avila, who had a key pinch-hitting appearance and caught the bottom of the 10th inning Wednesday in the Tigers’ 6-5 win over the White Sox. “All we’ve been trying to do, take it one game at a time.”
Detroit has a clubhouse full of cliche spouters, and the month of September has seen them live up to most of those overused phrases.
Avila sat on the bench and watched until he was summoned to bat for announced pinch hitter Brandon Inge in the ninth inning with a man on base. Avila drilled a 1-0 fastball into the seats in right center for a score-tying, two-run homer.
Earlier in the inning, Ryan Raburn had pinch-hit a solo home run to shave a 5-2 deficit to two runs.
Then in the 10th, Victor Martinez doubled with one out, and pinch runner Will Rhymes scored on a ground single up the middle by sparsely used veteran Carlos Guillen, who had three hits, including a solo home run, in his first start since Sept. 3.
“Everybody’s contributing,” Avila said. “That’s one of the biggest reasons we’ve been on a roll. Carlos and Magglio (Ordonez) have been great.”
It was a day when manager Jim Leyland chose to rest many of his veteran regulars, a day game after a night game and with a long flight to the West Coast on tap.
Austin Jackson’s day off ended when he pinch-ran for Ordonez, who had walked pinch-hitting in the ninth. Jhonny Peralta’s day off ended with a pinch-hitting appearance in the ninth. And Avila’s day off ended with his home run.
“That was special,” Leyland said. “But (Thursday), we’ve got to play again. Got to fly to the coast and play Oakland.”
Spoken like a true veteran baseball man.
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