DETROIT — A solo home run by Alex Avila gave the Tigers the beginnings of an offensive charge against the Pirates. Backed up by solid outings by the Buck Farmer, Blaine Hardy and Joba Chamberlain, the Tigers returned home to win 8-4, snapping a four-game losing streak and a prolonged hitting drought.
Farmer's MLB debut wasn't perfect as he gave up four runs (all earned) including a home run, but he struck out four and allowed just six hits in five innings to give the Tigers a decent outing. He ended three of the five innings on strikeouts and walked just one batter. Farmer's nerves showed in the beginning but he didn't allow that to completely overwhelm him and in the end was able to settle down enough to enjoy the experience and give the Tigers a chance for a win.
"I think the big thing for him was that he was able to throw strikes with his offspeed pitches," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "Especially his slider, I think that was the big thing for him."
Coming off the heels of a week where key hits have been rare, the Tigers finally caught a break and picked Farmer up with 12 hits, driving in eight of them. Nick Castellanos had a big night and he got things off with an RBI triple in the second inning, which put the Tigers on the board first. He went on to give the Tigers another boost with a solo home run in the sixth inning and scored a run.
But the turning point was in the seventh inning when a leadoff triple by Ezequiel Carrera, a walk to Ian Kinsler and an intentional walk to Miguel Cabrera loaded the bases. Victor Martinez promptly drove in two of the three men on base with a two-run single, giving the Tigers a more comfortable lead. Torii Hunter would drive in Cabrera for the final run of the evening on a force.
"Good hitting, and really got the big hit we were looking for with Victor Martinez," Ausmus said. "We had a couple things bounce our way, the error by the second baseman to the shortstop on the double play certainly helped. But really I think it was the big hit by Victor that opened up the game, and opened up the gap a little bit."
Buck Farmer: It may not have been clean, but for someone who had been in Single-A only a few weeks ago and had made just two appearances in Double-A, Farmer did well, giving up just six hits and striking out four in five innings.
Nick Castellanos: Delivered the first run of the evening with a triple to centerfield when center fielder Gregory Polanco dove for the ball and was unable to glove it. What ensued was Castellanos reaching third base standing up before the ball had even been returned to the infield. He then drove in the go-ahead home run into the visiting bullpen to give the Tigers a 5-4 lead over the Pirates. 1: (MLB.com video) 2: (MLB.com video)
Somewhere, Austin Jackson is pointing at his TV saying "that's why!"— Patrick OKennedy (@Tigerdog_1) August 13, 2014
NICK C MADE ME GET UP OUT OF MY CHAIR AND YELL— HookSlide (@HookSlideBYB) August 14, 2014
Alex Avila: A no-doubt solo home run to deep right with no outs was the start of a good inning for the Tigers. Put simply, Avila crushed it. He also drew a walk in the sixth inning. (MLB.com video)
He doesn't hit 'em often, but when Avila goes yard, he goes yard-plus.— HookSlide (@HookSlideBYB) August 14, 2014
Victor Martinez: At some point some manager might come to the realization that walking Miguel Cabrera to get to Martinez typically doesn't end well. But it's August and it hasn't happened yet. So in the meantime Martinez took the opportunity to pad the Tigers' lead with a two-run RBI single in the seventh inning, making it 7-4. Torii Hunter would follow it up with an RBI single of his own. Because, of course. (MLB.com video)
Tigers offense: It finally woke up, after a deep long slumber. Offensive bursts in multiple innings picked up Farmer and gave Tigers fans a much-needed game to cheer about. The only downer was how close Cabrera came to a three-run home run in the fifth inning. Instead, he settled for a sacrifice fly mere foot or two away from home run territory, holding his hands to the sky in disbelief. The look on Cabrera's face said it all.
Bullpen: Blaine Hardy pitched two solid outings and walked one while striking out one. Joba Chamberlain danced around the strike zone, needing 19 pitches to get out of the inning, however he struck out two and allowed only a walk. Nathan on the other hand, gets a kitten-squeak rather than a roar. He walked the first two batters but a flyout to left and a 5-3 double play ended the game with the runners. Nathan's lack of command could have blown the game.
Tigers defense: Another day, another misplay (or two, or three) for the Tigers and it cost them. Had the offense not woken up, the Tigers would have found themselves in anything other than a winning situation.
Don Kelly: A bad night defensively was coupled with a 1-4 night and a strikeout.
Eugenio Suarez: Apart from the infield fly rule that saved Suarez from an error on just about the easiest out there is, Suarez reached just once, finishing 1-4 with a run and grounding into an inning-ending double play.
In the first inning there was a game delay as the Comerica Park pigeons took over the field once again, only this time they planted themselves right on the strip between home plate and the pitcher's mound. Cabrera, the umpires, and even the Pirates starting pitcher attempted to drive the birds away. With no success, flares were deployed after the inning ended but it took some silly chasing of the birds to get them to actually leave. (MLB.com video)
Every Tigers player got a hit with the exception of Miguel Cabrera, who hit a deep sacrifice fly that fell short of a home run by only a foot or two. Carrera finished 1-5 with two runs, Ian Kinsler finished 1-2 with a run and an RBI, Martinez was 3-4 with a run and three RBI, Hunter went 2-4 with an RBI, Kelly was 1-4, Castellanos finished 2-4 with a run and two RBI, Avila was 1-3 with a run, an RBI and a walk, and Suarez finished 1-4 with a walk.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Alex Avila's leadoff home run in the fifth inning was his 10th of the season and gave him home runs in two straight days.
- Wednesday night's attendance of 41,043 is the 18th sellout crowd of the season for the Tigers, and the third consecutive sellout.
- Miguel Cabrera leads MLB with a new career-high 10 sacrifice flies this season. He had nine in 2008 and only two last season.
- Of the seven intentional walks Cabrera has had this season, five have preceded Martinez. He is 3-4 with two home runs, nine RBI, and a walk in five at-bats. The other two were when J.D. Martinez and Austin Jackson hit behind him.
- Nick Castellanos is third among American League rookies with 97 hits, and he is tied for third among AL rookies with 25 multi-hit games this season.
- Castellanos' RBI triple in the second inning was his first career game with multiple extra-base hits and the 12th multiple-RBI game of his career.
- Wednesday marks the first time this season the Tigers have hit two home runs and two triples in the same game.
- Ian Kinsler stole his 11th base of the season in the seventh inning.
- Victor Martinez had his third three-RBI game of August Wednesday night. He had two in May.
- Since July 23, in 12 innings pitched Blaine Hardy has not allowed a run in seven of his last eight outings and has a 1.50 ERA during the stretch.
- Buck Farmer made his major league debut for the Tigers, allowing four runs on six hits while striking out four over five innings. He received a no-decision. Farmer is the 10th player to make his major league debut for the Tigers in 2014. He joins Tyler Collins, Hardy, Corey Knebel, Justin Miller, Robbie Ray, Patrick McCoy, Chad Smith, Suarez and Drew VerHagen.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:
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