Tigers Short Hops: Game 5
Defensive miscues once again cost Detroit in Series finale
ST. LOUIS -- Fielding the Tigers' World Series Game 5 loss to the Cardinals on a short hop ...
In < 25 words ...
Another pitcher's error opened the gate. The Tigers couldn't answer Jeff Weaver's pitches and arm angles, and the Redbirds won their first title since 1982.
With runners at first and second and none out in the fourth, Weaver bunted back to Justin Verlander. The rookie had plenty of time to turn and throw to third base for the force play, but he hurried his toss and short-hopped Brandon Inge. The ball skipped by Inge, allowing Yadier Molina to score and So Taguchi to reach third. Taguchi scored one batter later on a David Eckstein groundout.
2 -- Errors were a huge problem for the Tigers throughout the entire World Series, and Friday was no exception. Miscues by Inge and Verlander paved the way for the Cardinals' runs.
Sean Casey provided the offensive spark. One night after hitting his first postseason homer, Casey blasted his second one, a two-run shot in the fourth inning that curled inside the right-field foul pole and helped Detroit gain a 2-1 lead.
Sense of October
Tigers pitchers and hitters had to cope with perpetual chants of "Weaver, Weaver, Weaver," 46,000-plus fans screaming and waving white towels and the entire Redbird Nation on its feet for nearly the entire contest. In the first inning alone, the Tigers used two meetings on the mound -- one by pitching coach Chuck Hernandez and another by Ivan Rodriguez -- to calm down Verlander.
Lines of the Game
4 AB, 0 H, 1 BB
Comment: Polanco, the American League Championship Series MVP, went 0-for the Series. He was robbed on his penultimate at-bat by his best friend in baseball, Albert Pujols. El Hombre dove to his right, and threw to Weaver with his back nearly touching the ground. The relay beat Polanco by a split-second.
6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 4 K, 3 BB
Comment: The start wasn't exceptional, but it limited the Redbird offense. The outing also marked the first time in seven starts that the right-hander worked at least six innings.
Spoken: "I just only hope that nobody forgets the job that we did, the players I'm talking about, to go from 71 wins to the World Series. ... We got beat by a team that played a lot better than we did during the course of the series." -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland
After enjoying its best season in 22 years, Detroit fell three wins short of a World title, but will have much to build on for 2007.
Conor Nicholl is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.