Then the Tigers threw the ball away and lost the game anyway, because sometimes baseball likes throwing us swerves that no one could possibly predict.
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The chaotic game was featured as Wednesday’s Free MLB Game of the Day on Yahoo Sports. Hopefully you were watching with us, but regardless the final play — and really the final half inning — needs to be seen again to be believed and perhaps even understood.
To set the stage, Tampa Bay had loaded the bases against Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez with nobody out in the inning. Rodriguez rebounded to strike out Steven Souza Jr. on a check-swing, which drew the ire of Souza and led to manager Kevin Cash’s ejection.
That alone was pretty chaotic. What followed though was a lot crazier and a lot more painful for Detroit.
Logan Morrison’s grounder looked like a 4-6-3 double play in the making. Then Ian Kinsler made what appeared to be a decent feed. Then Jose Iglesias lost his footing coming across the base. Then Iglesias decided to throw the ball anyway, resulting in an error and two runs scoring.
Within those few seconds, it turned from a potential game-ending double play to a two-run, walk-off error, and a Rays 8-7 win.
We know what Iglesias was thinking. He wanted to end the game right then and there, rather than allow Tampa Bay to tie the game. It was a poor decision, which was then compounded when he took a knee to his face from Brad Miller, who was sliding into second.
There was much concern and confusion as Iglesias remained face down on the field. Eventually, he was helped to his feet and able to walk off under his own power. There was no clear word on his condition after the game other than he’ll be evaluated Thursday. There was also some false hope that an illegal slide would be called. That was not the case, as Miller ended up several feet short of the base. The contact came when Iglesias stumbled into him.
It was a touch of bad luck, followed by an ill-advised decision, all leading to a terrible result.
Those details will not make Tigers fans feel any better. Nor will the fact the offense had awoken from its slumber and rallied from an early 5-1 deficit. This had all the makings of a feel-good win that teams rally around. Now the Tigers will enter play on Thursday looking to avoid a costly sweep.
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