It was one of the most lopsided losses in Detroit Tigers history — yet it was an extra inning game.
Eight-nine years ago, on July 26, 1928, the Tigers lost 12-1 to the New York Yankees at home. Yes, 12-1 in 12 innings.
And that after Pinky Hargrave homered in the ninth to tied the game 1-1 and force extra innings.
What started out as a masterpiece of a pitcher’s duel between Detroit’s Vic Sorrell and New York’s Wait Hoyt, turned into a rout when the Yankees came to bat in the top of the 12th inning.
Sorrell, who had allowed just seven hits and one run through 11 innings, got more than roughed up in the 12th, getting tagged for 11 earned runs on 10 hits in that inning. He struck out four and walked five in the complete-game loss.
Up until that point, Sorrell had seemingly thrown just one poor pitch in 11 innings. In the sixth, he gave up a solo home run to Long Bob Meusel, which put the Yankees up 1-0.
Meanwhile, Hoyt, a Hall of Famer, was superb, allowing one run on seven hits with five strikeouts in a complete game, improving to 13-2. His only blemish was the home run by Hargrave in the ninth inning.
But the flood gates opened for the Yankees in the 12th.
It started, as all late-inning rallies seem to, with a walk. Lou Gehrig walked to start the inning. It seemed like it would cause no harm, especially when Tony Lazzeri hit into a fielder’s choice. But Mark Koenig singled, then Gene Robertson doubled to right field to score Lazzeri, putting the Yankees up 2-1.
They were far from done.
Johnny Grabowski drew an intentional walk and the pitcher, Hoyt, singled in Koenig and Robertson.
The top of the order came up and Earle Combs singled to center, scoring Grabowski. Meusel again provided some wallop as he tripled to center field, scoring Hoyt and Combs. Not to be outdone, Babe Ruth, the ninth player to bat in the inning, doubled in Meusel. Gehrig came up for the second time in the inning and singled in Ruth. Lazzeri, who hit into a fielder’s choice earlier in the inning, doubled in Gehrig. Leo Durocher would come in to run for Lazzeri.
Sorrell finally got the second out of the inning when he struck out Koenig. Robertson then singled in Durocher and Grabovski doubled in Robertson before Hoyt grounded out back to Sorrell to end the inning.
The Tigers came to bat in the bottom of the 12th with little chance at duplicating the powerful hitting display that the Yankees, one year removed from being dubbed “Murderers’ Row,” accomplished.
It started promising as Al Wingo singled then stole second (now ruled defensive indifference). Harry Heilmann grounded out and Jackie Tavener flew out. Larry Woodall grounded to shortstop and Hoyt earned the complete-game victory.
The Tigers finished in sixth place that season at 68-86. It was no wonder the team that packed the wallop would go on to repeat its pennant-winning performance with a 101-win season. Murderers’ Row indeed.