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News » Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch 2009-09-04

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch 2009-09-04

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch 2009-09-04Long relievers rarely get their due, which is exactly why manager Jim Leyland went out of his way Thursday to praise Zach Miner's performance in a 4-3, 10-inning win over Cleveland.

Ryan Raburn started the 10th with a double. Two walks later, the stage was set for Placido Polanco to hit a sacrifice fly to medium-depth center to win the game.

"Everybody is going to talk about the double Raburn hit and the sacrifice fly Polly (Polanco) hit," Leyland said, "but the real momentum changer was Zach Miner."

Miner came in after Fu-Te Ni had surrendered a tying two-run double with two out in the eighth. He got the next out, then six more while allowing only one baserunner, who was caught stealing.

"Zach Miner changed the game back for us by the way he pitched," Leyland said. "He had to get through the top of the order the inning before. That's why I always stress the importance of everybody down there (in the bullpen). Everybody has a large role. And he was worth his weight in gold.

"I hope he understands his value to our team. To me, he was the hero."

Puffery? More a case of a manager spotlighting a role that is essential to successful teams yet is often underplayed.

TIGERS 4, INDIANS 3 (10 innings): Placido Polanco's sacrifice fly to center with the bases loaded and nobody out in the 10th inning let the Tigers complete a three-game sweep of Cleveland that widened their lead to five games over idle Minnesota in the AL Central.

Ryan Raburn doubled to open the 10th. Walks to Miguel Cabrera (intentional) and Magglio Ordonez (unintentional) set the stage for Polanco.

Nate Robertson sparkled on his 32nd birthday in his second start for the Tigers since coming back from left elbow surgery, allowing just four hits with two walks and four strikeouts over six shutout innings.

Curtis Granderson led off the first with a home run, his 26th, and Clete Thomas tripled following two walks in the seventh for a 3-0 lead. The Indians rallied for three runs in the eighth off relievers Ryan Perry and Fu-Te Ni to force extra innings. Zach Miner worked the last 2 1/3 to get the win.

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Author:Fox Sports
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Added: September 4, 2009

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