Tigers top Cubs on Raburn's walk-off HR

BY foxsports • June 24, 2009

The streaking Detroit Tigers put slumping Magglio Ordonez back on the field, batting him seventh.

They got a game-winning hit from that spot in the lineup. But it wasn't from Ordonez.

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Pinch-hitter Ryan Raburn hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning, lifting Detroit to a 5-4 win over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night.

Raburn was mobbed by his teammates at home plate in a wild celebration that included some playful punches.

"I didn't feel a thing," he said. "I was kind of numb. I've never done that before."

No one has for the Tigers, in fact, in a long time.

The last time Detroit won a game on a walkoff homer by a pinch hitter was in 1995, when Lou Whitaker was at the plate against the Chicago White Sox and Alan Trammell, now the Cubs' bench coach, was one of the baserunners.

Raburn's blast to left-center off Kevin Gregg capped a dramatic ending in which the teams alternated hitting two-run homers in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.

"We went from a real low to a real high, to a real low and a real high," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said.

Chicago's Micah Hoffpauir hit a go-ahead, two-run shot in the eighth inning off Joel Zumaya.

Brandon Inge's two-run home run in the seventh put the Tigers ahead 3-2 and they were a strike away from taking the lead into the ninth, but Hoffpauir sent Zumaya's 85 mph pitch over the fence in right.

"It reminds me of '06 when if you made a mistake, your teammates backed you up," said Zumaya, referring to the season that Detroit reached the World Series. "I'm still disappointed on my pitch selection. It was a changeup up in the zone. It's my third-best pitch."

Carlos Zambrano went from the losing pitcher to the winning one to not factoring in the decision thanks to Hoffpauir's homer and Raburn's homer.

Carlos Marmol struck out the side in the eighth, setting up Gregg for a save opportunity. Gregg (2-2) got off to a poor start by walking Don Kelly on a full-count pitch.

"Look, one-run leads on the road aren't easy to hold," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "Gregg has been pitching well. Just didn't happen today.

"I don't want to talk about missed opportunities."

Raburn was hitting for Josh Anderson, who pinch ran for Ordonez.

"Somehow, (Leyland) seems to pull the right strings at the right time," Raburn said.

Gregg lamented the pitch he threw, a slider that slipped out of his hand.

"I could have hit that ball out of the park," he said. "When you throw that pitch, all you can do is hope he pops it up, and he popped it right out of the park."

Brandon Lyon (3-3) got the victory after retiring one batter in the ninth, helping the AL Central-leading Tigers win their fifth game in a row.

The Cubs had won four of five.

Detroit starter Edwin Jackson allowed two runs and struck out seven over seven innings.

The Tigers had won four straight with struggling Ordonez out of the lineup and won again despite putting him back on the field.

Ordonez fizzled in his first game in almost a week, going 0 for 2 on a chopper to third and a popup in foul territory.

The six-time All-Star and 2007 AL batting champion, who is hitting just .271 with two homers, walked in the seventh and pinch-runner Anderson was promptly picked off by Zambrano.

Ordonez hit seventh, the lowest he has been in a lineup since 1998. He hit sixth earlier this season.

"Manana," Ordonez said, referring to Wednesday, when a reporter asked in Spanish when and where he wanted to talk.


Cubs 3B Aramis Ramirez (shoulder) is scheduled to take batting practice later this week, another step toward getting off the disabled list. "It will either happen here in Detroit or, more likely, this weekend in Chicago," Piniella said. "After that he'll have to go out for a rehab stint, but we're seeing light at the end of the tunnel." ... Detroit has won six straight at Comerica Park and is 21-11 this season for its best 32-game record at home since having the same record in 1993. ... The Cubs signed first-round draft pick, OF Brett Jackson. ... Lee extended his career-high hitting streak to 20 games.

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