This is Part 2 in our series on the Tigers and Blue Jays’ pennant fight in 1987. Part 1 appeared yesterday.
American League East Standings
September 24, 1987
|Toronto||93 â€“ 59||.612||â€“|
At the outset of the first series the Tigers sat only a half-game out of first place. The game-one pitching match up featured two of baseballâ€™s best in the 1980s: the Tigersâ€™ Jack Morris and Jays lefty Mike Flanagan.
It didnâ€™t take long for the complexion of the game, the series and perhaps the season to change dramatically. In the top of the third, with Bill Madlock on first, Kirk Gibson hit a routine double-play ball to second baseman Nelson Liriano. Liriano pivoted and threw to shortstop Tony Fernandez for the force at second; Madlockâ€™s slide toppled Fernandez who fell to the artificial surface, breaking his elbow. (Shortly after Fernandez left the game the Blue Jays announced that he would need surgery and would be out for the remainder of the season.) Gibson reached first on the fielderâ€™s choice.
After a Trammell fly out, Larry Herndon singled, moving Gibson to second. The next hitter, centerfielder Chet Lemon, drove in Gibson and advanced Herndon to third. A Flanagan wild pitch scored Herndon and gave Morris a 2-0 lead.