Double play before Miggy's homer costs Tigers
Cabrera's blast comes after Hunter lines into double play with Kinsler running
BALTIMORE -- The Tigers ran right into a costly mistake in the eighth inning of Game 1 of the American League Division Series at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Thursday night.
Trailing by two runs with Orioles right-hander Darren O'Day on the mound, Ian Kinsler led off the inning with an infield single. Torii Hunter came to the plate, worked a 2-2 count and hit a hard line drive right at Baltimore shortstop J.J. Hardy as Kinsler was breaking for second base.
Kinsler was running on his own, not on a called hit-and-run, hoping to get himself into scoring position with the middle of the Tigers' order due up. Instead, Hardy snagged Hunter's line drive and made the throw to first base, completing the easy double play.
"That's a guy that you can run on, and it's a good opportunity to run right there," Kinsler said. "Just bad luck."
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Kinsler's decision didn't bother him, pointing out that Kinsler got such a good jump that he probably would have been safe if Hunter had swung and missed.
"The odds of a line drive going right at a guy are pretty slim. It just so happens, it did," Ausmus said. "If you find a hole, with [runners on] first and third and the heart of your order up, that's a pretty good situation to be in."
As unfortunate as the play seemed at the time for the Tigers, the next pitch magnified how much it changed the game. Miguel Cabrera ripped the first sinker he saw from O'Day to right-center field for a solo home run, the Tigers' third of the night, to cut the Orioles' lead to one run.
If Kinsler hadn't been doubled off first base, Cabrera's homer would have tied the game, 4-4, heading into the bottom of the eighth.
But Ausmus wasn't quite ready to accept that hypothetical scenario, noting that O'Day would have approached the at-bat with Cabrera differently had Kinsler been on base.
"Let's be honest. Miggy isn't getting the same pitches with nobody on and two out as he is with one or two on, zero or one out," Ausmus said. "It's a completely different at-bat."