DETROIT — After the top of the first inning, the Tigers were in line for another loss. But 3 hours 29 minutes after the game began, the Tigers had driven in a season-highs in runs (14) and hits (20) to pick up a 14-5 win in an interleague meeting with the Dodgers.
Justin Verlander's last three starts have shown progress but everything seemed to come undone when the Dodgers rocked him for five runs on four hits in the first inning. However, Verlander pitched the next five innings in shutout fashion, retiring 13 straight batters and giving up just one hit and a walk in the sixth.
"We just got hurt in that first inning with a lot of pitches up in the middle of the plate," Alex Avila said. "After that, he started to throw some better fastballs on the edges of the plate, kind of take advantage of their aggressiveness a little bit and pitch off those. He just seemed a little bit more relaxed." (h/t Dave Hogg, FOX Sports Detroit)
The Tigers' offense that had been missing for the last three games made a comeback as the lineup found ways to score without home runs, using the station-to-station method of scoring including drawing a bases-loaded walk by Avila in the fourth. The catalyst, however, was Torii Hunter's at-bat in the second inning when he smoked a double that bounced off the right field wall.
Hunter was initially called out at second, but Ausmus challenged the call and the ruling was overturned. Not impressive in itself, except that Hunter legged out Yasiel Puig's arm, something not easily accomplished by anyone.
"That's how replay's changed the game," Ausmus said. "It probably changes the entire inning, really. One out, nobody on as opposed to runner on second, no outs. Just goes to show you that one, the old butterfly effect, one thing changes in the game and it can change the rest of the game. Or at least in this case the rest of the inning."
The final run scored would come at the bat of Torii Hunter in the seventh inning, who began the Tigers hit parade in the second by beating out Puig's throw. An RBI single scored Miguel Cabrera, who finished 3-5, but Cabrera scored after mirroring Hunter's challenge to Puig.
Cabrera legged out his first triple of the season, scoring Ian Kinsler, the 13th run of the night. Following the seventh inning Cabrera was replaced by Don Kelly at first base, but it wasn't for an injury. "I just took him out," Ausmus said. "I figured he was exhausted hitting a triple." (MLB.com video)
Torii Hunter: Line drive single complete with bat flip wherein Hunter gets thrown out at second base, believes he's safe and Ausmus challenges. The call is overturned and Hunter (who returned to second base halfway through the challenge) is called safe at second, ruled a double. The double turned out to be the catalyst for a five-run second inning after the Tigers trailed by five when the inning started. (MLB.com video)
Torii Hunter on his double in the 2nd: "I slid in and I touched the bag and he hit me in the baby maker, so that's how I knew I was safe."— Chris Iott (@Chris_Iott) July 9, 2014
Dave Clark: Operated the third base box like a champ. Anyone with a slim thought of running through Clark's stop signs on any other night would probably have been tackled Tuesday night; unless that runner is Cabrera, who does what he wants.
Tigers offense: Five runs in the second, two in the third, four in the fourth, one in the fifth and two in the seventh. They loaded the bases, reloaded them, walked in a run and gave new meaning to the term "station-to-station" scoring. (MLB.com video)
Justin Verlander: After a brutal first inning where Verlander gave up a walk, four hits and five runs (including a two-run homer), Verlander retired 16 of the last 18 batters he faced, giving up just a walk and a single (both in the sixth inning). Verlander retired 13 consecutive batters before the leadoff walk to Hanley Ramirez in the sixth and finished the night at an even 100 pitches.
First-inning Justin Verlander: Faced eight batters and gave up four hits on five runs, including a two-run home run to Juan Uribe before the inning ended with the Tigers trailing 5–0.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Justin Verlander entered the second inning posting a 5.05 ERA. The last time Verlander held an ERA above 5.00 after a game at any point in a season was on April 27, 2010.
- The eight hits accumulated by the Tigers in the second inning were a season high and a tie for the most an inning since their eight hits in the third inning at Oakland on May 10, 2012.
- Austin Jackson drove in the seventh run of the night for the Tigers with a sacrifice fly in the third inning, — his eighth of the season — handing him the American League lead for sacrifice flies.
- Miguel Cabrera finished 3–5 for the night and a triple, which gives him 359 multi-hit games as a Tiger, tying him with Rudy York for 14th place in franchise history. Cabrera also hit his 15th career triple in the seventh inning, his first since April 11, 2013 against the Toronto Blue Jays.
- J.D. Martinez finished 3–5 with two runs scored, a triple and has hit safely in 24 of his last 26 games. He is batting with a .366 average with 17 runs, 11 doubles, a triple, 10 home runs and 27 RBI in 29 games since June 1.
- The bottom four hitters in the Tigers' batting order finished 9–25 with two walks, two sacrifice flies, seven runs scored and seven RBI for the night.
- Torii Hunter finished 3–5 with two runs and two RBI and is batting with a .542 average over his last six games.
- Rajai Davis finished 3–4 with three RBI for the night and is batting .359 with 10 RBI and a walk-off grand slam in his last 11 games.
- Nick Castellanos finished 3–5 with three runs and an RBI, recording 19 doubles and 76 hits prior to the All-Star break. Those 19 doubles are tied for third among Tigers Rookies (Brennan Boesch, Barney McCosky and Dick Wakerfield) and the 76 hits tie him for 11th place in franchise history with Lou Whitaker and Pat Mullin.
- Tuesday marks the Tigers' largest victory in a game in which they were down five or more runs since April 23, 2008 and the largest victory when down by five or more runs in the first inning since July 17, 1922. Their 14–5 win also marks the most runs scored against a National League team without at least one home run in the game for the first time in franchise history. In addition, the 14 runs were the most runs scored in a homerless game since September 6, 2013 against the Royals.
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