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Guardians bloop and grind their way to miraculous six-run rally to beat Tigers

These kids don’t know when to quit

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Guardians David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

I ... what?

For most of tonight’s game, I had a title of something like “Sleepy Guardians tucked into bed by Tigers” or something stupid, because this game — again, for 8.2* innings — was a boring nightmare. The offense was lifeless, Cal Quantrill was just good enough to get by but not spectacular. It seemed like a foregone conclusion that they were going to lose the game, the series, and the season matchup all in one night.

They were going to lose after scoring just one run off of Daniel Norris. A fate, let’s be honest, worse than death.

But then Luke Maile struck out on a wild pitch that Eric Haase couldn’t corral that would have ended the eighth inning, and suddenly things weren’t so bad. Things still weren’t great, because there were still two outs and Myles Straw was up to bat. Then, hold on now, he also got on base? On a hit that was a direct insult to the BABIP gods? Oh baby, we’re cooking.

What followed was a night that could end up being remembered as the gelling moment for the 2022 Guardiac Kids. After the debacle of last night and the sluggish start to tonight, they needed this one. And boy did they get it.

Steven Kwan, Amed Rosario, José Ramírez, Oscar Gonzalez, and Owen Miller all had RBI hits to completely flip the game from a 2-4 snoozer to a 8-4 game that electrified everyone from Progressive Field to my couch and beyond. Mixed in there was the Tigers intentionally walking Josh Naylor who apparently took that personally. He somehow made it from first to third on Gonzalez’s double and proceeded to go berserk.

Maybe it was an ill-advised attempt for someone with an eighth-percentile sprint speed, but are you gonna be the one to tell him? I am surely not.

This was one of those games — one of those innings — that I just know I would hate if it weren’t my team winning it. The expected batting average on the Guardians’ six straight hits (following the third strikeout of the inning, no less!) were .400, .090, .280, .140, .080, and .950. Brutal to watch if you’re an opposing team, an absolute blast when it’s your team piling up the lucky hits like they’re getting ready to Scrooge McDuck dive into a pile of them.

I mean, come on. Let’s bullet point this:

  • The whole thing started because they got lucky that Andrew Chafin threw a wild pitch.
  • Straw started the hit streak with the most vanilla ground ball imaginable finding a hole.
  • Rosario hit a single 65.2 mph straight into the ground and still got a run home.
  • Ramírez’s go-ahead double was the same exact ball we’ve seen popped up for a weak out countless times this season — it fell into shallow left perfectly for a double.
  • Naylor had no business trucking his way to third, but he did anyway.

Just so many dumb, improbable things happening at once, but for once it happened in Cleveland’s favor. They clearly weren’t supposed to win tonight — they were supposed to go home with their tail between their legs and stew on a disappointing series during their off-day tomorrow, but this team just doesn’t know any better. They are built from the ground up to have these kind of wacky, BABIP-be-damned innings and it’s fun as hell to watch.

Of course, it’s not how they drew it up, but nothing beats a late-inning comeback to get the good feelings going. Now they just need to carry into the weekend against the White Sox, into September, and if we’re lucky, even further. The Royals continued to be worthless and unable to beat the Twins, so tonight’s win means the Guardians’ AL Central lead remains at one.

I leave you with maybe the best back-to-back tweet sequence in the history of Major League Baseball teams tweeting things.