The Tigers designated Don Kelly for assignment in early August. And now he’s a postseason hero.
The 32-year-old utilityman scored a game-tying tally as a pinch-runner in the bottom of the eight inning then hit a walkoff sacrifice fly to deep right-center field in the bottom of the ninth as Detroit topped Oakland 5-4 in Game 2 of the ALDS on Sunday afternoon at a chilly but rowdy Comerica Park.
Tigers starter Doug Fister fanned eight batters over seven strong innings and MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera finished 3-for-5 with two doubles and a run.
Despite being the higher seed, the A’s now head home trailing two games in this five-game division series.
Brett Anderson, who hasn’t pitched since September 19 because of an oblique strain, will try to play the role of savior for Oakland in Game 3. Anibal Sanchez will take the mound looking to wrap it up for the Tigers.
Indians rookie outfielder Bradley Zimmer entered Thursday’s doubleheader against the Twins hitless in the month of August. Having appeared in 13 games, he failed to get a hit in 39 trips to the plate. He knocked in just one run, scored twice, and drew five walks with 16 strikeouts.
It looked like the streak might continue, as Zimmer struck out twice, bunted into an out, and reached on a fielder’s choice in his first four at-bats. Fortunately, he got to face Glen Perkins in the ninth inning. Perkins hadn’t pitched in a major league game since April 10, 2016. Zimmer grounded a single to right field, ending his 0-for-August skid which had reached 43 plate appearances and 36 at-bats.
On the season, Zimmer is batting .245/.316/.400 with eight home runs, 38 RBI, 33 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases in 275 PA.
The Twins announced, prior to the start of Thursday afternoon’s game against the Indians (the first game of a double-header), that reliever Glen Perkins was activated from the 60-day disabled list. Perkins had been sidelined since April 2016, recovering from left labrum surgery.
From 2013-15, Perkins served as the Twins’ closer, recording 102 saves with a 3.08 ERA. He appeared in only two games last season before going down with the injury.
Perkins appeared in the ninth inning of the first game Thursday with the Twins trailing 7-3. It did not go well. He gave up two runs on two hits, one walk, and two hit batsmen before being lifted. Alan Busenitz came in and induced an inning-ending double play from Francisco Lindor.
The Twins will likely ease Perkins back by continuing to use him in lower-leverage situations. Perkins has a club option worth $6.5 million for 2018 with a $700,000 buyout. The Twins picking up that option likely hinges on how Perkins fares down the stretch.