The six-minute delay caused by the incident helped neither Flanagan nor Morris. When the inning resumed, the Tigers took a 2-0 lead on a bloop single by Chet Lemon and a wild pitch. Then Morris came out and, he says, "did what I don't normally do. I stopped challenging hitters." Liriano led off with a single and stole second. Lloyd Moseby walked, and George Bell singled to load the bases. Ernie Whitt knocked in Liriano and Moseby to tie it, Rance Mulliniks doubled in Bell for a 3-2 lead and, when one of Morris's many bouncing forkballs escaped catcher Mike (Gump) Heath, Whitt broke home from third. Heath got the ball to Morris, who was at the plate covering but off-balance and falling away as he made the tag. Thinking quickly, Whitt stopped short, waited for Morris to fall on his bottom, then touched the plate to make it 4-2. Sorry, John McNamara, but that's also knowing what it takes to win.
Flanagan pitched into the seventh, when, with two on, two out, righthanded Larry Herndon at the plate and the score now 4-3, Williams had choices any manager would envy. He didn't want to bring in a righty; that would allow Anderson to pinch-hit the lefthanded Matt Nokes. Williams needed a hard thrower, because Herndon has a notoriously slow bat. So he called on David Wells. The rookie lefthander jammed Herndon, who hit a soft line drive that seemed about to land in shallow left until Manny Lee, Fernandez's replacement at short, raced out, leaped and speared the ball to kill the threat. Tom Henke struck out the final two batters in the ninth for his 34th save.
Afterward the Blue Jays did their best to downplay the loss of Fernandez, who is the best shortstop in the American League and, to some, in all of baseball. "We'll miss Tony. He's one of the greatest players in the game, and the heart of our lineup," said Bell. "But since Tony's been playing on a real bad knee for a month, Manny Lee might even give us more defensively."
On Friday, Lee gave Toronto even more offensively. Key pitched his typical game, allowing one earned run in 8? innings—but trailed 2-0. Key, 17-6, hadn't lost since July 11. He had allowed more than three earned runs just once in his last 24 starts. His 2.78 ERA was the best in the league. He left the game in the top of the ninth after two singles, but rookie lefthander Jeff Musselman, Harvard '85, kept Toronto in the game by retiring Gibson on a soft liner.
Anderson had started Frank Tanana, who had been banished from the rotation after allowing 54 hits and 28 runs in 27 innings over seven winless starts. But for seven innings this night he mastered the Blue Jays. Then his shoulder stiffened and Sparky had to go to his threadbare bullpen. Dickie Noles, the journeyman righthander acquired from the Cubs only four days earlier, got through the eighth, but gave up a single to Barfield in the ninth. Williams sent up Rick Leach as a pinch-hitter; Anderson called on lefty Willie Hernandez, who stopped being a stopper long ago. Leach doubled to right, moving Barfield to third and bringing up Lee.
Before leaving the dugout the 22-year-old switch-hitter had gotten a pep talk from 15-year veteran Juan Beniquez. "I told him he'd been pulling off the ball," Beniquez said later, "and that since Hernandez would try to get him out with screwballs away, he should try to hit the ball to rightfield." Sure enough, Hernandez threw Lee a hard screwball down and away. Lee, batting right, lined it inside the first base line for a triple, and tied the game at 2-2.
Anderson brought in Henneman with orders to walk both Upshaw and Liriano to load the bases. Then, with one out and the infield drawn in, Lloyd Moseby hit a vicious one-hopper right at Lou Whitaker. It was a perfect double play ball, and shortstop Alan Trammell quickly got to the bag, though Whitaker said later, "We were thinking home all the way." But Whitaker's stiff-armed throw to the plate bounced in the dirt and away from Heath as Lee slid across with the winning run.
"I don't put blame on players," said Anderson. "How does Lou know that Trammell is there [for the double play]?" Whitaker and Trammell have played together longer than any DP combination in history, that's how. Oh yes: Musselman got the win to make him the league's winningest rookie, at 12-4.
After that bitter defeat, Anderson made two observations. "That is one tough team," he said of the Blue Jays. "And we have to win both of these remaining games here." Well, Saturday's looked like a lock. The Tigers knocked out Dave Stieb, who hadn't won since Aug. 18. Nokes hammered a grand slam off reliever John Cerutti, his second homer of the day, and Detroit had a 9-4 lead by the fifth. Trammell, who at week's end was batting .440 with six homers in his September MVP duel with Bell (.358, five homers), was on his way to getting four hits and two stolen bases, giving him 20 for the season to go with his totals of 102 RBIs, 105 runs, 196 hits and 27 homers.
Twice the Blue Jays kept Detroit from breaking the game wide open, once in the fifth, when Lemon grounded into a freak double play with runners at second and third—Nokes was called out for interference after running into Lee—and again in the seventh, when Liriano and Lee turned a dazzling double play with the bases loaded and one out. In the ninth the Tigers clung to a 9-7 lead and had runners on second and third. Williams brought in Nunez to pitch to Detroit reliever Henneman, who was batting because Anderson had earlier been forced to move DH Evans to first after he'd sent up a pinch-hitter for Dave Bergman. "Actually, I wanted Nunez for the next hitter [Lemon]," said Williams. "I thought it would be good for him to throw a couple of strikes to Henneman." Nunez struck out Henneman and popped up Lemon to set the stage for one more chemical reaction. Lemon, who always plays close to the warning track in center, let Barfield's routine fly drop for a double. Upshaw beat out an infield single, and Henneman hit Leach with a pitch to load the bases. Williams then sent Beniquez up to hit for Lee against Noles.