10/07/06 8:45 PM ET
Tigers Short Hops: Game 4
Superlative Bonderman helps send Tigers to ALCS
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
The Tigers partied like it was 1987 behind a stellar outing from Jeremy Bonderman and the offense's relentless attack against Jaret Wright and Cory Lidle. Frozen moment
The lead in his back pocket was four runs in the top of the fifth, and Bonderman was running through the heart of the Yankees order for the second time on the day. A Comerica Park crowd that lived and died with every pitch erupted as the 23-year-old Bonderman got Jorge Posada chasing a 2-2 slider for strike three and the final out of his five perfect innings of work. Big number
Fifteen. The number of consecutive batters retired by Bonderman at the outset of the game. Backed by some early big hits, the right-hander had little trouble getting through this much-hyped lineup unscarred, and the Tigers had all of the momentum they needed to march to victory. Game balls (out of five)
Bonderman, five. The kid was all right, continuing the Tigers' incredible dominance of the potent Yankees lineup by pitching five perfect innings. And by the time he finally allowed a baserunner in the sixth, the game was all but over.
Magglio Ordonez, four. It took him a while to get going at the plate in this series, but his monstrous, 422-foot solo homer to deep center got the Tigers on the board against Wright in the second.Craig Monroe, four. He followed up Ordonez's blast with a two-run shot later in the inning. The rout was on. Ivan Rodriguez, four. He had another nice day at the plate, walking and scoring in the second, hitting an RBI single and scoring in the third and contributing a sacrifice fly in the fifth.
Sense of October
Tigers fans came here to party, and their faith was rewarded with each and every out recorded by Bonderman and each and every run tacked on by the Detroit lineup. Their stir became a downright frenzy in the second, when Ordonez and Monroe both went deep to make it 3-0.
4 AB, 3 R, 2 H, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Comment: Ordonez was pretty quiet in the first three games of this series, but his second-inning homer, his third-inning run after reaching on an error and his fifth-inning RBI single were huge in this one. Pitching
8 1/3 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 1 BB, 4 Ks
Comment: Ordinarily, Bonderman needs his changeup to be working to tame left-handers, but on this day, the vast majority of his pitches to both sides were sliders and fastballs. The Yankees were impatient and flustered against him all afternoon. Spoken
"All of us are going to go through our ups and downs, but when it was on the line, how did [Bonderman] perform? Magnificent. That's a great lineup. It's the best lineup a pitcher can face. And Bondo, Kenny [Rogers] and [Justin] Verlander -- those guys stepped up and got it done. Wow!" -- Monroe, on the stellar pitching of the Tigers in the final three games of the series
Bring on the A's. The Tigers, by virtue of their American League Wild Card status, again won't have home-field advantage. But that didn't seem to bother them against the Yanks. It's on to Oakland on Tuesday, when the Tigers will make their first appearance in the ALCS since 1987.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.