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10/13/06 7:30 PM ET

Tigers Short Hops: Game 3

Rogers' encore puts Tigers on verge of World Series

DETROIT -- Fielding the Tigers' Game 3 victory over the A's on a short hop ...

In < 25 words ...
Kenny Rogers tossed another gem, the offense did just enough and now the Tigers sit one win away from the World Series.

Frozen moment
Rogers allowed two of the first four batters he faced to reach and found himself in a big situation with runners at first and second with two outs in the first. Rogers got Jay Payton to ground into a fielder's choice to get out of the inning. From there, Rogers gave up just one more hit and never allowed more than one A's batter on base in an inning.

Big number
Seven. The number of walks the Tigers drew during Game 3. Detroit would score just one run from those walks, but it showed once again the improving patience of an often free-swinging team.

Game ball
It's Rogers because, for the second straight start, he delivered an electric performance in the playoffs, proving that he can indeed be a big-time pitcher in the postseason.

Sense of October
The crowd was a little quieter than usual for such a big playoff game, but much of it had to do with the weather. Temperatures hovering around 42 degrees meant that most of the crowd was bundled up, and the gloves on the hands of many kept the noise level to a minimum. That changed in the fifth, when Craig Monroe homered to lead off the inning and the crowd came to life.

Lines of the Game
3 AB, 2 R, 2 H, HR, 1B, 1 RBI
Comment: Even in the No. 2 spot, Monroe was able to continue his productive hitting for the series. Once Monroe hit his solo home run in the fifth, the game looked to be all but over.

7 1/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 2 BB, 6 Ks
Comment: No one seems to be questioning manager Jim Leyland's decision to start Rogers in Game 3 at home now after Rogers has pulled the Tigers to within one win of clinching the American League pennant.

"However he was during the season and how he is now, I hope he stays the way he is right now. I wouldn't change a thing about him. He's done a great job out there battling the way he has, and it makes you want to play harder for him." -- Brandon Inge, on Rogers' increased emotion during the playoffs

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Next step
It was just last Saturday that Jeremy Bonderman delivered a strong performance to clinch the ALDS in Game 4 at Comerica Park. The Tigers are looking for a similar effort exactly one week later, as Bonderman has a chance to carry the club to its first World Series in 22 years on Saturday with a win against the club that drafted him.

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.