For the next several weeks we’ll be rolling out our list of the best The Moment’s of 2013. The list is the product of winnowing down 173 moments from April to October into the best twenty. They vary in their importance but all captivated us in an important way. A few are silly, a few are excellent plays, and a few will travel down in Tigers lore. I hope you enjoy it.
#19 – Miguel Cabrera Walks Off the Royals
[click to play]
This moment makes the list on its own merit but also gets a nice boost from the set of circumstances that brought it into the world. The Tigers had a 3-2 lead entering the 4th inning and they looked poised for another close victory over the Royals before things got out of hand.
It started with a foul ball that the umpires missed leading to a run and a Jim Leyland ejection. If that doesn’t seem interesting enough, it also lead to a Brayan Pena ejection. Now I have your attention. The score was 3-3 entering the bottom of the 4th inning but the Tigers retook the lead on a Miguel Cabrera RBI double, putting them up 4-3. It stayed that way until the 7th inning when Drew Smyly allowed a game tying homerun to Sal Perez just two batters after relieving Doug Fister.
In the bottom half of the inning, Prince Fielder smacked a solo homerun to put the Tigers back on top 5-4 but that lead lasted about five minutes thanks to a lengthy and dangerous outing by Jose Veras that thankfully only yielded a single run to tie the score at 5. They headed to the bottom of the 9th, tied at 5, with Miguel Cabrera due up first.
The Royals went to the talented Aaron Crow with the hope of pumping fastballs by the game’s best hitter. Crow threw one low and away before challenging him in the zone on pitch Cabrera would foul off. From there, he threw two more out of the zone to set up a 3-1 fastball at 93 mph in a location that would generously be described as “sucky.” You can watch the video above, but the graph below can give you some idea of what happened. Someone came very closer to winning a new set of tires as the ball just missed the Belle Tire sign in RF and Mario Impemba gave us one of his best calls of the year.
Miguel Cabrera is on this list quite a few times thanks to his amazing year, but only 18 total moments rank above this one on our list.