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Archive for Friday, October 27, 2006

Mistakes plague Tigers

October 27, 2006

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— The Detroit Tigers can blame the soggy field for one, big fielding mistake in Game 4.

The other belonged to reliever Fernando Rodney.

It came in the pivotal seventh inning and helped give the St. Louis Cardinals a 5-4 victory Thursday night and a commanding 3-1 lead in the World Series.

Rodney fielded pinch-hitter So Taguchi's sacrifice bunt and rushed a throw that sailed over the head of Placido Polanco covering at first base. That scored David Eckstein, who had reached on a fly ball that center fielder Curtis Granderson didn't get to because he slipped while trying to make the catch.

Detroit's pitchers have committed a World Series-record four errors, with Rodney making the fourth, one that might end up costing the Tigers a chance to win a championship.

"I'm quite furious with myself," Rodney said. "That was an easy out. It's the same old story, you make mistakes and you pay for them."

Detroit tied the game in the eighth at 4-4, but failed to keep it that way.

Rookie Joel Zumaya struck out Juan Encarnacion with one out, but strike three was a wild pitch that allowed Aaron Miles to get to second. Miles had reached by beating the relay to first on what could have been a double play. Then, left fielder Craig Monroe just missed a diving catch off Eckstein's bat.

"In that situation, you have to throw the guy out on a base hit," said Monroe, explaining why he was a bit shallow in the outfield. "And you had a guy at the plate in Eckstein, without a lot of power, so you play the percentages that he doesn't hit it over your head.

"It wasn't a mistake, it just didn't work out."

The Tigers wasted their best offensive production of the Series with sloppy plays that will haunt them for years.

During spring training, manager Jim Leyland was concerned about his new team's defense. The Tigers put Leyland's mind at ease in the regular season with sound defense, but when it has mattered most they have struggled.

"We made a couple of mistakes," Leyland said. "We had an unfortunate break in the outfield, and I don't think Craig could get a really good jump on Eckstein's ball."

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