This is the final installment in our series that looked back on the Tigers’ and Blue Jays’ epic fight for the 1987 American League East title.
American League East Standings: October 4, 1987
In the first six games one thing was constant: the team that scored first would go on to lose. The Blue Jays, with the season in the balance, would take their chances and welcome an early lead off Tigers starter Frank Tanana.
Instead, the Tigers struck first. Larry Herndon led off the Detroit third inning with a home run off Blue Jays starter Jimmy Key. A strong wind gust nudged the ball over Bellâ€™s outstretched glove and into the lower deck in left. The Tigers led 1-0 on Herndonâ€™s first homer since Aug. 18.
â€œLuckily, I just got enough,â€ Herndon said to Tommy George of the Free Press. â€œI saw Bell go back and it looked like he had a chance to catch it. I looked at Bell all the way. And then when I heard and saw the crowd reaction behind the fence, I knew it was out.â€
Continue reading October Surprise Part 9: Comeback Complete
As the Tigers and Twins square off for the biggest series of the year with the division title hanging in the balance, we continue our look back on the last great race in Tigers history: 1987 and the seven games against the Toronto Blue Jays in the season’s final 10 days. Today: Game 3.
American League East Standings: September 26, 1987
If the Tigers suffered any ill effects from the previous two games, they certainly didnâ€™t show it in the third game of the series.
Detroit pummeled Torontoâ€™s ace Dave Steib, tagging the right-hander for six runs on four hits in just 2.1 innings. Matt Nokes drove in six runs in his first two at bats: a first-inning two-run homer and a grand slam in the third.
The Blue Jays were having nearly as much fun with Detroit starter Walt Terrell. In his 2.1 innings, the Blue Jays came up with four runs on seven hits. The Tigers attacked five additional Toronto hurlers for a 9-4 lead in the fifth inning. Toronto wouldnâ€™t go away quietly, tacking on three more runs. Heading into the bottom half of the ninth Detroit clung to a 9-7 lead.
Continue reading October Surprise Part 4: Bullpen Collapses in Game 3