DETROIT--Thursday night after being swept by the Toronto Blue Jays, Brad Ausmus said that it's easy for a team to start treating the game of baseball like a job when things aren't going well; Friday, things were noticeably different.
The Tigers were silent in the first two innings, being retired in order (although Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez smoked pitches that were caught deep into the outfield) but it turns out they were just getting warmed up. The Tigers tied the game in the third on an RBI single by Andrew Romine after Nick Castellanos hit a leadoff double.
They picked up another on a sacrifice fly by Victor Martinez following back-to-back singles by Torii Hunter and Cabrera respectively. Going into the fifth inning they had six hits on two runs. Ian Kinsler and Hunter crushed solo home runs to left and right field respectively to add two more runs, making it 4-1 in favor of the Tigers.
They added two more in the eighth with a solo shot by Victor Martinez and a sacrifice fly by Austin Jackson after Brayan Holaday legged out his first career triple.
Following Wednesday's loss, Torii Hunter said he was finished with whatever abyss the Tigers had been sucked into as of late. "They were bad luck," Hunter said after Wednesday's game. "I took everything I had; my bat and gloves, and got rid of them. They weren't doing me any good." (h/t Steve Kornacki, FOX Sports Detroit)
It took a day but Hunter's bat perked up and went 3-4 with a solo shot and two singles. He wasn't the only bat to wake up; with the exception of Rajai Davis, every other Tigers player reached at least once.
Drew Smyly got ahead in an 0-2 count on the first two batters he faced in the first inning, but couldn't finish either off and surrendered a leadoff single and an RBI double which put the Tigers behind early. But he was able to get out of a jam of his own creation to end the inning via a strikeout-looking and damage was kept to a minimum. Despite allowing the first two batters to reach Smyly needed only 15 pitches to get through five hitter and only two pitches were not thrown for strikes.
For the next four innings Smyly held the Red Sox to three hits, and the only run he gave up in the sixth was unearned--a sacrifice fly by Jonny Gomes that scored Dustin Pedroia who reached earlier on a high throwing error by Andrew Romine to first base.
Smyly finished the night having gone six innings while giving up just five hits and two runs (one earned) while striking out four. Krol pitched an easy inning, striking out two and Chamberlain had a quick 1-2-3 eighth. Nathan came out for the ninth despite it not being a save situation. Nathan allowed a single with two out, caught a come-backer to end the game on a 1-3 play.