CHICAGO - Gerald Laird hit a tiebreaking single in the 11th inning and the Detroit Tigers escaped with a 9-7 victory over the Chicago White Sox Sunday night when Manny Ramirez was caught looking at strike three with bases loaded for the final out.
Jim Leyland became the 18th manager to work 3,000 games. He watched the Tigers score six runs in the seventh to take a 7-3 lead only to have the bullpen give it away in the ninth and barely escape at the finish.
The winning rally started when Brandon Inge struck out on a wild pitch from Sergio Santos and advanced all the way to third when catcher A.J. Pierzynski's low throw to first bounced to the tarp along the right-field line. Brennan Boesch was intentionally walked before Laird delivered the go-ahead single to left, his second hit.
Leyland declined comment on the milestone before the game, saying, "No, we're not talking about that."
Leyland entered with a 1,486-1,511 record over 19 years with Pittsburgh, Florida, Colorado and Detroit, leading the Marlins to the championship in 1997 and the Tigers to the pennant in 2006. The 1989 Pirates played two weather-related ties that counted as games managed.
Eleven of the first 17 managers to reach the milestone are in the Hall of Fame, and the other three who are still active - Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre - likely will get there.
Leyland is just the fourth with a losing record to work 3,000 games, joining Connie Mack (.486), Bucky Harris (.493) and Gene Mauch (.483).