Wednesday, October 10, 2012

These Detroit Tigers pitchers came through at 'closing time'

Denny McLain is not on the list. Nor is Jack Morris.
The Detroit Tigers had won eight post-season series as they took the field at Oakland and tried to eliminate the Athletics behind Max Scherzer on Wednesday night.
Eight different men were the winning pitchers of the Tigers' first eight series-clinching victories.
Tommy Bridges was the first.
Bridges was the winning pitcher in Game 6 of the 1935 World Series, when the Tigers won their first world championship by taking out the Chicago Cubs four games to two.
The others: Hal Newhouser, Mickey Lolich, Milt Wilcox, Aurelio Lopez, Jeremy Bonderman, Wil Ledezma and Doug Fister.

TOMMY BRIDGES: Tennessee native Thomas Jefferson Davis Bridges went 2-0 with two complete games and a 2.50 ERA against the Cubs in the 1935 World Series. The right-hander spent his entire 16-year career with Detroit and won 194 games, sixth-most in club history.

HAL NEWHOUSER: The future Hall of Famer was 2-1 with a 6.10 ERA in the 1945 World Series, when the Tigers beat the Cubs in seven games. Newhouser was the winning pitcher in Game 7, a 9-3 Detroit victory in the Windy City. The left-hander and Detroit native, who pitched for 15 seasons for the Tigers, is still in the franchise's top five in wins, starts, complete games and shutouts.

MICKEY LOLICH: Will any Tiger ever top the Mick's performance in the 1968 World Series? The left-hander won a duel with Bob Gibson in Game 7 as the Tigers won at St. Louis to complete a comeback from a three games to one deficit. For the series, Lolich, a long-time Macomb County resident, turned in three complete games and posted a 1.67 ERA in 27 innings against a Cardinals lineup that featured speed and power.

MILT WILCOX: The right-hander went eight innings to earn the victory in a 1-0 win over Kansas City that wrapped up the Tigers' three-game sweep in the 1984 ALCS. Wilcox also won Game 3 of the World Series that year against the San Diego Padres.

AURELIO LOPEZ: Senor Smoke was the winning pitcher in relief in Game 5 of the World Series against San Diego. The game will always be remembered for Kirk Gibson's three-run, series-clinching home run off Goose Gossage in the eighth inning, but it was Lopez who earned the pitching victory that Sunday at Tiger Stadium.

JEREMY BONDERMAN: Was this Bonderman's finest moment as a Tiger? The right-hander pitched 8.1 innings in an 8-3 victory that clinched Detroit's four-game ALDS win over the New York Yankees in 2006. It was the Tigers' first post-season series win in 22 years, and Bonderman put his name on it.

WIL LEDEZMA: Ledezma pitched nine big-league seasons, and won only one post-season game, but what a victory it was. The lefty worked a scoreless top of the ninth inning and then became the winning pitcher when Magglio Ordonez hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the frame to give the Tigers a 6-3 victory and sweep of Oakland in the 2006 ALCS.

DOUG FISTER: The 6-foot-8 right-hander gave the Tigers their second post-season series win over the Yankees in six years when he prevailed in Game 5 of an ALDS in 2011. Fister also won a game in the 2011 ALCS against the Texas Rangers.

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