ALCS: Tigers vs. A’s:  The Kenny Rogers Show, Part Deux

Coming into the season, Kenny Rogers came into the season with a reputation as a poor second half pitcher and a poor post season pitcher. He’s debunked both statements this year and in the process, he now has the Detroit Tigers one win away from their first World Series appearance since 1984.

You have to give Rich Harden credit. After getting into some major trouble in the first inning, he pitched out of some jams and kept the Oakland Athletics in the game, but the team just couldn’t get the bats going. Jason Kendall singled to lead the game off and the Athletics didn’t get their next (and last) hit until the fifth inning, when Marco Scutaro singled with one out. True to the Athletics’ recent form, D’Angelo Jimenez then grounded into a double play to end the inning.

The Tigers got on the board pretty quickly. In the bottom of the first, Curtis Granderson led off with a walk and moved to third on Craig Monroe’s single. Granderson then scored on Placido Polanco‘s single and then Magglio Ordonez grounded out for the first out, but Monroe scored on the play to make it 2-0. Monroe hit a solo shot in the fifth inning to make it 3-0 and that would end up being the final score.

It could have been a lot worse. The Tigers had runners at first and second with nobody out when Polanco laid down a bunt on the third base side. Chad Gaudin made a really nice play and flipped the ball over to third for the first out of the inning. The replay was very close but it looked like Granderson slid into third on time. Fortunately it didn’t change the outcome of the game.

In the eighth inning, Nick Swisher led off with a walk and he was forced out on Scutaro’s ground out. Fernando Rodney then relieved Rogers and got Bobby Kielty to ground into a double play. Ramon Santiago made a high throw to Carlos Guillen at first base, but Guillen jumped up, made the catch, and reached with his foot in time to get Kielty to convert. It was probably the defensive play of the game.

The Tigers can wrap things up tomorrow afternoon. It’ll be Jeremy Bonderman, who was awesome against the Yankees last Saturday, going up against Danny Haren, who has the unenviable task of keeping the Athletics in this one.

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