Tigers win with pitching and the three-run home run

Leon Halip

You can go a long way with good pitching and three-run home runs.

The Tigers beat the Twins 4-3 tonight in Earl Weaver-endorsed style. The Hall of Fame manager's baseball philosophy was summed up in this paragraph from his book, "Pitching, Defense, and Three-Run Homers."

Weaver preached his prescription for winning: "pitching and three-run homers." He explained, "Pitching keeps you in the games. Home runs win the game." That formula developed with experience; in his first seasons with the Orioles he called for more sacrifice bunts than the average AL manager, but he came to believe that "your most precious possessions on offense are your 27 outs," and "if you play for one run, that’s all you’ll get."

Damn straight.

Using Weaver-ball is exactly how the Tigers won tonight. To Hell with small ball. Give me home runs and excellent pitching every time.

Max Scherzer started slow, got better as the evening went on and ultimately tossed a quality start, unhittable in his last two innings. Scherzer would retire the final ten Twins he faced, the last four on strikeouts.

Drew Smyly and Joaquin Benoit were flawless, setting down all five Twins they faced. Forced back into a bullpen-by-committee for one night, it worked to perfection.

The Tigers could only muster seven hits, but made them count, as four went for extra-bases. In the end, all the offense was supplied via two swings; a solo home run from Andy Dirks in the third, and the game-winner in the sixth, a (Weaver-approved) three-run homer off the bat of Prince Fielder.

Mix great pitching with power bats and you get a hard-fought victory over a team which has historically given the Tigers fits.

Jim Leyland is definitely enjoying the Weaver-style baseball.

It's a very effective way to win games. I hope we see more of it.

WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:


Source: FanGraphs

BULLETS:

The Tigers entered today's play with the two leading hitters in the American League. Miguel Cabrera and Torii Hunter were tied for the league lead in batting average at .375.

Not getting the start today was the 37-year-old Hunter, who was given a scheduled day off. Why the scheduled day off? He's 37 years old, that's why.

Having pitched in the last two games of the Braves series, Jose Valverde was unavailable out of the bullpen. Jim Leyland did not want to use his resurrected closer three games in a row. To quote the Skipper:

"He didn't have any spring training, and I'm not going to pitch him three days in a row just yet and do something stupid."

Joaquin Benoit would close in Papa Grande's stead, if needed. He would be.

After the Twins scratched across the second run of the game on a single, infield single, wild pitch and ground out, Rob and Melissa spoke for us all.

Max Scherzer had an elevated pitch count in the second inning, which set off Lynn Henning on a bit of a Twitter ran about bad defense.

Despite Henning's misgivings, Scherzer managed to pitch into the eighth, tossing a season-high 114 pitches.

Austin Jackson looked to have been hit in the hand by a Mike Pelfrey pitch in the third, but it sounded as if the ball hit his bat. Replayed confirmed it. Home plate umpire Paul Schrieber wasn't buying Jackson's sell job, calling it a foul ball. Mario Impemba had a suggestion for Jackson:

"You have to do a little bit better a sell job. Fall down on the ground and roll around a couple of times. "Oooouch, it huuuurts!"

After the Twins manufactured another run thanks to the hated "Twins Hit," a former BYB contributor could not have put it better.

Phil Coke's Brain has come up with a new term, the "Andy Dirks Hat Trick":

How hard-hit was Prince Fielder's three-run game-winner in the sixth?

OK, this is something I've never seen the Tigers do mid-game.

Fielder went yard in the bottom of the sixth. The home run ball was on sale by the bottom of the seventh. Gotta pay those salaries somehow, right?

Why has it been so breezy in SE MI as of late? Lots and lots and lots of Braves and Twins strikeouts.

  • Friday night: Tigers pitchers have 18 strikeouts, 17 by Anibal Sanchez.
  • Saturday afternoon: Rick Porcello and the bullpen pen combine for 11 K.
  • Sunday night: Doug Fister strikes out eight, Tigers' staff with 10 total.
  • Monday night: Scherzer with 10 strikeouts.

THREE ROARS:

Prince Fielder: Only 1-for-4, but the one was huge. Broke out of a slump with a clutch, game-winning home run.

Andy Dirks: The knee he injured in spring training had bothered Dirks well into the regular season. Taking the last few games off to rest the knee must have done Dirks wonders, as he bounced back with his best game of the season. Dirks reached base three times, hitting his first homer of 2013.

Max Scherzer: Struck out 10 without walking anyone. Scherzer got off to a slow start, the Twins scratching out three early runs. But once Scherzer found his groove, the Twins could do nothing with him.

BONUS ROAR:

Bullpen by committee: The Big Potato out of service for the night, Drew Smyly and Joaquin Benoit combined to get the final five outs.

ONE HISS:

Twins Hits: There's nothing on the planet more annoying than watching the Twins reach base in ridiculous ways.

GAME THREAD ROLL CALL:

Roll Call Info
Total comments 978
Total commenters 59
Commenter list Alex Baker, Allison Hagen, AriTwice, Arvay7, BadCompany22, BeardedPlayoffJesus19, BigAl, Chris Estrada, DetFANinSTL, Emil Sitka, J_the_Man, Jacob30, JerseyTigerFan, Jim Bunn, Joaquin on Sunshine, JoeK5, Keith-Allen, Kurt Mensching, MSUDersh, MakeItTrizzle, Matthew Malek, Michigan&TrumbullinLA, NCDee, NoVaVolt, Phil Coke's Brain, Raburned, Rob Rogacki, SabreRoseTiger, SanDiegoMick, ShowingBunt, Sir Handel, SpartanBoiler, SpartanHT, TheLegacyofJordanTata, Thorpac, Todd Jones Mustache Ride, Verlanderful, aarone46, aelix, bowling255, dishnet34, doctorj, dominator039, dpsmallwood, frisbeepilot, japobere, jbeshay, keaganizer, kland83, knucklescarbone, melliemacker, mrsunshine, ottisfranklin, rbbaker, spartyon6, stevenyc, tealy213, thanantos, 13194013
Story URLs http://www.blessyouboys.com/2013/4/29/4281732/game-24-twins-at-tigers-7-08-p-mhttp://www.blessyouboys.com/2013/4/29/4284252/game-24-overflow-twins-at-tigers


TOP TEN COMMENTERS:

# Commenter # Comments
1 SpartanHT 72
2 SabreRoseTiger 64
3 doctorj 63
4 JerseyTigerFan 57
5 MakeItTrizzle 52
6 J_the_Man 51
7 Verlanderful 50
8 TheLegacyofJordanTata 48
9 Rob Rogacki 48
10 MSUDersh 46


TOP RECS:

# Recs Commenter Comment Link
11 J_the_Man Houston Street is totally not clutch, and is homer prone. Case in point:
7 SabreRoseTiger Obligatory
6 Alex Baker Well it looks like we finally got some bats in the Pelfrey
5 SpartanHT That's a W!
5 BadCompany22 False, Donny owns the deathy hallows
4 MakeItTrizzle Rally chicken wig
3 MakeItTrizzle "Yo" could be substituted for a string of
3 SabreRoseTiger Mad Max
3 rbbaker While we wait for Drew...
3 Thorpac Wouldn't fertilizer composition affect the result?


GAME 23 PLAYER OF THE GAME:

Miguel Cabrera edged Doug Fister by three votes to win PotG honors, 43% to 41%.

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