DETROIT (AP) -- Jim Leyland insists it's not Motown magic -- just
a group of gritty players refusing to give up.
The Tigers won their 50th game of the season Saturday, the first major league team to reach that level. This is the sixth time in team history that Detroit was the first major league team to 50 wins in a season (1911, 1950, 1961, 1968 and 1984 were the others). The last two such seasons ended with the Tigers winning the World Series.
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Placido Polanco's two-out double in the 10th scored Curtis
Granderson from first base and lifted the Detroit Tigers to a 7-6
win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday night, earning their
fifth victory when trailing after eight innings.
In the ninth, Marcus Thames tied the score at 6-all with a
two-run homer off Jason Isringhausen, who entered the game with a
"Everybody is talking the magic. There's no magic -- it's hard
work, concentration, playing nine innings your best," Leyland
said. "Did I like our chances with Jason Isringhausen on the mound
in the ninth inning? No, I didn't. But sometimes when you keep
grinding it out, things happen. He got a ball up and Marcus smoked
Granderson led off the ninth with an infield single, and after
Isringhausen struck out Polanco, Thames followed with a shot into
the left-field seats that brought a roaring, sellout crowd of
42,535 to its feet.
The Cardinals did not think Granderson should've been on first,
putting the tying run at the plate.
"The ball, it looked on the replays like it went off his
foot," Isringhausen said.
With the fired-up fans chanting, 'Let's go Tigers,' Magglio
Ordonez hit a double and advanced to third on a flyout, but Craig
Monroe struck out -- sending the game into extra innings.
"No matter what the situation is, even if we're ahead, it's not
over until we walk off the field," said Granderson, who was
4-for-5 with three runs, an RBI and a walk.
The Tigers became the first team in baseball to reach 50 wins,
with their eighth victory in nine games.
St. Louis has lost five straight for the first time this season.
Tyler Johnson (0-1) relieved Isringhausen with two outs, then
allowed Granderson to reach on a walk. Polanco followed with a
double to the right-center wall, allowing Granderson to score
easily and setting off a celebration on the field -- and in the
"We've won games like that -- we've broken people's hearts
before," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. "Tonight, we got
our hearts broken."
Joel Zumaya (4-1) pitched the 10th to earn the win.
The Cardinals handed Isringhausen a 6-4 lead, keyed by Scott
Rolen's two RBI on sacrifice flies, Albert Pujols' run-scoring
grounder and a slew of slick defensive plays.
St. Louis starter Jeff Suppan gave up three runs, nine hits and
three walks. He threw 55 pitches in the first two innings, and 39
over the next three.
"The first two innings, I wound up throwing a lot of pitches,
which effected me later in the game and limited the amount of
innings I could go," Suppan said.
to pitch three innings, giving up only one run, before Isringhausen
blew his fifth save in 29 opportunities.
Tigers ace Kenny Rogers allowed six runs -- five earned -- seven
hits and three walks, two of which were intentional to Pujols and
Jason Grilli didn't give up a run over 3 2-3 innings, allowing
Detroit to come back.
"When you come out of the bullpen, you're a hero or a goat --
and we had a lot of heroes tonight," Grilli said.
The Tigers had several scoring opportunities before they rallied
in the ninth, but St. Louis' defense prevented them from turning
hits into more runs.
In the fifth, trailing 5-3 after Pujols' groundout led to David
Eckstein's second run, Detroit had two on and one out. The
Cardinals got Suppan out of the jam with a double play -- their
third in three innings -- leaving Tigers general manager Dave
Dombrowski shaking his head from his seat near the press box.
"We had our chances, but we couldn't put Soup away -- he made a
pitch when he needed it," Leyland said.
Detroit catcher Vance Wilson, playing for the banged-up Ivan
Rodriguez, hit a solo homer in the sixth off Wainwright to make it
Pujols, in his third game since coming off the disabled list,
was at the plate with the bases loaded in the eighth. Grilli got
the slugger to end the inning with a flyout.
Leyland said he told Wilson "cross your fingers" when giving
signs to Grilli.
"He had a chance to blow it open, or at least give them a
cushion," Grilli said.
St. Louis outfielder Juan Encarnacion had his hitting streak
snapped at 14 games, which was the longest active streak in the
Cardinals CF Jim Edmonds missed his third game because of a
concussion and is day-to-day. ... Rodriguez was held out of the
lineup as a precaution because of a wrist bruise from a foul ball
Friday night. "I'll play (Sunday) -- for sure," Rodriguez said.
... Encarnacion, who signed as a free agent in January, has been
traded three times since the Tigers sent him to Cincinnati in 2001
in a deal bringing DH Dmitri Young to Detroit. ... Leyland said his
brother, Larry, told him to put Thames on the roster coming out of
spring training. "I want to put my brother on the payroll,"
- Home Plate Umpire - Mike Muchlinski
- First Base Umpire - Jerry Crawford
- Second Base Umpire - Phil Cuzzi
- Third Base Umpire - Brian Onora