Tigers are clicking on all cylinders

Originally Published: October 14, 2006
ESPN.com

BASEBALL TONIGHT EXTRA

There's some kind of baseball magic going on in the Motor City this October. The Tigers, 22 years to the day of their last World Series triumph, clinched a trip to the Fall Classic with a dramatic victory over the A's on Saturday.

The Tigers won their seventh straight postseason game, and Magglio Ordonez secured his place in baseball history with the third-ever LCS-clinching walk-off home run to complete a dream-like four-game sweep for Detroit. The Tigers dominated the series in every aspect, shutting down Oakland's best hitter, Frank Thomas, and getting contributions from just about everyone on the offensive end. Placido Polanco copped MVP honors, hitting .529 in the LCS after batting .412 in the Division Series against the Yankees.

It's been a long time since the Tigers had a team like this, and it's been a long time since the Tigers had a manager like Jim Leyland. He became the third skipper in Tigers history to guide the club to the World Series in his first season with them. The other two -- Mickey Cochrane and Hughie Jennings -- are both Hall of Famers. Leyland may find himself there too, someday, especially if this magical run can continue for another couple of weeks.

INSIDE THE ALCS*
  Tigers A's
Runs 22 9
BA .285 .221
BA ahead in count .545 .217
HR 7 4
GIDP 4 7
Starters ERA 2.59 7.97
*Tigers sweep A's, 4-0

WALK-OFF HR TO CLINCH LCS
Player Year Teams
Magglio Ordonez 2006 Tigers vs. A's
Aaron Boone 2003 Yankees vs. Red Sox
Chris Chambliss 1976 Yankees vs. Royals

SERIES-CLINCHING HITS (TIGERS POSTSEASON HISTORY)
  Magglio Ordonez Goose Goslin
Year 2006 1935
Series ALCS Game 4 World Series Game 6
Opponent A's Cubs
Hit Home run Single

LCS MVP (SECOND BASEMEN)
Placido Polanco 2006 Tigers
Adam Kennedy 2002 Angels
Craig Counsell 2001 Diamondbacks
Roberto Alomar 1992 Blue Jays
Marty Barrett 1986 Red Sox
Manny Trillo 1980 Phillies
Frank White 1980 Royals

MANAGED TIGERS TO WORLD SERIES*
Manager Year Regular-season record
Jim Leyland 2006 95-67
Mickey Cochrane 1934 101-53
Hughie Jennings 1907 92-58
*First series with team

NEWS AND NOTES
Lou Piniella • Lou Piniella could be the manager of the Cubs before the World Series begins, a source told ESPN's Peter Gammons. The Chicago Sun-Times first reported that negotiations between the Cubs and Piniella could begin Monday. On Friday, Piniella took himself out of the running for the Giants' opening. He has also spoken to the Nationals and Rangers, although he said the Washington job is not an ideal fit.

• Fox baseball broadcaster Steve Lyons was fired for making a racially insensitive comment directed at colleague Lou Piniella's Hispanic heritage on the air during Game 3 of the ALCS. The network confirmed Saturday that Lyons was dismissed after Friday's game. He was replaced by Los Angeles Angels announcer Jose Mota.

• Buck O'Neil, the former player-manager who became a beloved spokesman for the Negro Leagues, was remembered Saturday for his capacity "to love even in the face of hatred." "Buck O'Neil always had a smile for you," said the Rev. Spencer Francis Barrett, pastor of the Bethel A.M.E. church that O'Neil faithfully had attended since 1947. "It didn't matter what you said about him. It didn't matter how you treated him." More than 600 friends and family members, including several Hall of Famers and prominent business and civic leaders, gathered for the private funeral service near the Negro Leagues Museum that O'Neil helped found in 1990.

MOTOR CITY MAGIC
Tigers win the AL pennant.
NOTEWORTHY PERFORMANCES
GOOD
Magglio Ordonez Magglio Ordonez hit two home runs, including a three-run walk-off shot with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, to lift the Tigers over the A's 6-3 for a sweep of the ALCS and a spot in the World Series. The wild-card Tigers now get a week to rest and wait for Game 1 at home next Saturday against either the Mets or Cardinals. It will be their first Series appearance since winning it all on the same date (Oct. 14) in 1984.
BAD
Where is the offense? The Mets managed only three hits in their 5-0 loss to the Cardinals in Game 3 of the NLCS and have gone 12 innings without scoring a run.
UGLY
The A's scored just nine runs on 32 hits in four games against Detroit -- suffering the first ALCS sweep since Oakland chased Boston in 1990.
SPECIAL DELIVERY
How did Jeff Suppan pick up his first win of this postseason? Check out Inside Edge's report card of his outing against the Mets.
STAT OF THE DAY
0. That's how many hits Frank Thomas had in 13 at-bats in the ALCS, after hitting .500 (5-for-10) with two home runs in the ALDS vs. the Twins.
DID YOU KNOW?
The 1976 Cincinnati Reds are the only team to go undefeated in the postseason (7-0).
GEM DEALER
AP Photo/Dilip Vishwanat
Jeff Suppan delivered eight shutout innings against the Mets to give the Cardinals control of the NLCS.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"Nobody could have expected this. It's unreal."
-- Hall of Famer Al Kaline on the Tigers advancing to the World Series
ELIAS SAYS
• Milton Bradley was 9-for-18 in the ALCS. Only three other players batted .500 or higher playing on the losing end of a four-game postseason series sweep (minimum: 15 AB) -- Thurman Munson (.529 in the 1976 World Series for the Yankees), Vic Wertz (.500 in the 1954 World Series for the Indians) and Tony Gwynn (.500 for the Padres in the 1998 World Series).

• Darren Oliver pitched six shutout innings after Steve Trachsel was removed from the game. The last two pitchers to throw six or more scoreless innings in relief in a postseason game were Pedro Martinez for the Red Sox (in Game 5 of the 1999 ALDS against Cleveland) and Pittsburgh's Bruce Kison (in Game 4 of the 1971 World Series against Baltimore).

More from Elias Says

FORWARD THINKING: SUNDAY
Anthony ReyesMets at Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. ET: St. Louis is rolling again, but New York might be praying for rain. Oliver Perez makes his first appearance of the playoffs. He was winless on the road during the regular season, going 0-7 with a 9.45 ERA (0-2, 9.36 with the Mets). Anthony Reyes last pitched Oct. 1 and is winless since Sept. 3. He went 3-3 with a 4.78 ERA in eight starts at Busch Stadium this year.