20 hits tonight, 38 in the past two.
The Tigers set a season high for base hits last night with 18. Tonight, the season high was raised to 20. The hot, humid air in Texas has warmed up the Tigers' bats.
It's hard to pick a "key" play in a game the Tigers dominated from start to finish, so I'll go with the base hit which broke the game open. Austin Jackson came to the plate in the 4th inning with the Tigers holding a 1-0 lead, the bases loaded and one out. Jackson looped a single to right center, knocking in a pair of runs. Jackson led the Tigers offense with three hits and three RBI.
On the aforementioned Jackson single, Gene Lamont waved Danny Worth home, trying to score from 1st base. Worth was out at the plate...and it wasn't even close. There's a line between being aggressive and being clueless. Lamont, once again, crossed it. Can someone please take the 3rd base keys away from Lamont before he gets a Tigers runner killed?
Everyone seems to be swinging the bat well. For the second night in a row, every Tigers starter had a hit. You known things are going your way when bloops and flares are finding holes in the defense. As All-Star BYB commenter rock n rye said in the game thread, "Death by bloops."
The Tigers young corner outfielders continue to play well on the road trip. Hitting out of the 2 hole, little used Casper Wells was 3-6 with an RBI and run scored. Brennan Boesch remained scorching hot, going 2-4 after his five hit night yesterday. And not to be forgotten, Andy Dirks made a nice running catch at the wall in left center to end the game.
Ryan Raburn's hitting streak reached seven games with a 2-4, two RBI performance. Maybe, just maybe, the much maligned (for good reason) 2nd baseman has turned a corner at the plate.
Tigers catcher Alex Avila was 3-5 with two doubles, two RBI, and two runs scored. Let the All-Star talk commence. Actually, it already has.
Despite the impressive offense, the Tigers still need to pitch well enough to take advantage. Starter Rick Porcello did just that, allowing only one run in six innings to get his 6th win of the season. After having a somewhat difficult 6th, Jim Leyland must have thought the intense Texas heat was starting to affect Porcello, as he was pulled having thrown only 87 pitches. The Tigers' bullpen closed out the game without incident.
With the victory, the Tigers have won three consecutive series, and are 8-2 in their last 10 games. In the same span, the Indians are just 3-7, but did beat the Twins 1-0 earlier tonight. The Tigers remain 1.5 games back of the division leaders, and are breathing down the Tribe's neck...
KEY ROSTER MOVE
Via their official Twitter, the Tigers announced the first of two planned of roster moves this week as players come off the DL.
Tigers optioned Santos to Toledo following tonight's game. Coke will be reinstated from DL tomorrow.
As expected, Omir Santos back to Toledo, Phil Coke back to the rotation. The next, more difficult decision yet to be made is who will go down when Magglio Ordonez (5-17 with a double in four games with the Mud Hens) ends his injury rehab. Originally thought to be returning to the lineup tonight, Ordonez is now expected to return on Thursday.