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Misc General General Archive 2007's Greatest Cleveland Sports Moments - #10 Mighty Casey BURIES Tigers
Written by Erik Cassano

Erik Cassano
2007 has really been an awesome year to be a Cleveland sports fan.  Cavs go to the finals.  Indians to the ALCS.  And the Browns.  THE FREAKIN BROWNS!  I love it!  What a year!  Over the next 15 days, Erik Cassano is going to run down the 10 greatest moments of this calendar year.  And what an event to start it off.  September 17.  Jacobs Field.  Tigers 4 1/2 games back.  Zach Miner, meet Casey Blake.  Have a nice off-season Detroit ... 10. Casey Blake's walk-off homer virtually ends the AL Central race

September 17

When the Tigers came to Jacobs Field for a three-game series in late September, it was hyped as a series that would decide the American League Central title. What it became was the Tigers' last stand.

And it was thanks in no small measure to the bat of Casey Blake.

The Tigers came in to the series 4 ½ games behind the Indians. Taking two of three would have shaved a game off the lead. A Detroit sweep would have cut the lead to 1 ½, and it would have been time for Tribe fans to start popping antacid tablets.

Through seven innings of the first game, it looked like the AL Central title was anything but secure. The Tigers had clawed their way to a 5-2 lead thanks in part to a two-run homer by Placido Polanco and a strong seven-inning effort from starting pitcher and perennial Tribe killer Kenny Rogers.

But then the bullpens entered the game and everything changed.

While the Tribe's Rafael Betancourt doused the potent Detroit offense for two scoreless innings, Detroit's Joel Zumaya continued a shaky season in the bottom of the eighth, allowing an RBI single to Victor Martinez, and a two-run shot to Jhonny Peralta that tied the game at five.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Tigers turned to Zach Miner. Blake, who had beaten the Royals on a walk-off homer several days previous, turned on Miner's 1-2 pitch, depositing it in the left-field stands and giving the Indians the haymaker they needed to effectively end the division race.

Blake was greeted by a mob of teammates at home plate as delirious fans danced in the aisles, sensing that the Tribe's first playoff appearance in six years was now a matter of "when," not "if."

The loss dropped the Tigers 5 ½ games behind the Indians and cost them a lot more in the team morale department. The Indians won the next two games to finish off the sweep and increase their division lead to 7 ½ games. The following Sunday, the Indians clinched the AL Central title with a win over Oakland.

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