DETROIT — On Fiesta Tigres night at Comerica Park midst a heart-warming tribute to former Tigers catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, the Tigers won 11-5 as Rick Porcello pitched eight solid innings of two-run ball. Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez each homered as the offense teed off against the Rockies pitching staff and Alex Avila had a big night.
Rick Porcello became a strikeout artist in his eight innings of work despite some difficulties in the first two innings where he allowed the only two runs he would give up. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Porcello's early struggles had more to do with Porcello trying to be too perfect rather than avoiding the strike zone altogether.
Instead of letting that get to him though, Porcello came back out and dominated the Rockies, throwing three consecutive 1-2-3 innings and allowing just three hits from the third inning on. "He seemed to get swings and misses and strikes on all of his pitches tonight," Ausmus said. "He did a good job of staying down, every once in a while rushing a hitter up with a four-seam fastball."
Porcello earned his 13th win of the season, which places him in a five-way tie for the MLB lead in wins and he struck out a season-high 10 batters.
As much as Porcello's pitching helped keep the Tigers in the lead, the offense did a solid job of getting the team there. While Cabrera, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez each homered, Avila finished 3-4 with two RBI, two runs scored and two doubles.
Ausmus said he had considered sitting Avila for all three games or allowing Bryan Holaday to catch the first and third games of the series. However, Ausmus didn't want Avila sitting out of the action for that long and was glad that the decision paid off.
"It was good, he took some good swings against a left-handed starter as well, which is good to see," Ausmus said. "He's been working hard with Wally (Joyner) so it was nice to see some results after the hard work had been put in."
Every starting member of the Tigers lineup had a hit and Rajai Davis, Ian Kinsler, Avila and Eugenio Suarez finished the night with multiple hits. Considering the Tigers had been in a bit of a rut hitting-wise over the last week or so, it was nice to see the opposite effect Saturday night.
In particular, it's been far too long since Cabrera has given fans a "wow" moment and the home runs hit by both Martinez's were impressive in their own rights. Of the 10 hits the Tigers hit, 11 runs scored thanks to Victor Martinez's three-run homer.
The only downer of the party came by way of the ninth inning. While leading by a considerable wide margin should have been a recipe for a quick ending to a beautiful game, Patrick McCoy served up three straight hits and two runs before Ausmus came out to rescue the floundering lefty.
Phil Coke would take the mound with no outs and he struggled at first, allowing a run to score that was credited to McCoy. However, Coke would go on to strike out two in all and he ended the game with a swinging strikeout of Josh Rutledge in front of a sellout crowd of 42,811.
Rajai Davis: The reason Austin Jackson had an 0-3 night with the Seattle Mariners Friday night, might be because Davis was doing his best to keep Jackson in mind. After a big night Friday night, Davis hit a leadoff double in the first inning Saturday night and later scored off the bat of Miguel Cabrera on a groundout, which put the Tigers on the board first 1-0. Then in the sixth inning, Davis hit a single and advanced to second base on the "throw," thanks to the Rockies defense.
Alex Avila: He's been in the hiss department for a while, but Saturday Avila beat the shift the Rockies had applied and knocked an RBI single in for the Tigers against the Rockies left-handed pitcher. He later scorched an RBI double to left field that plated Castellanos to make it 4-2 at the time. It might just be the uniforms, but Avila also looked like he was running a bit faster Saturday night. 1: (MLB.com video) 2: (MLB.com video)
Miguel Cabrera: Absolutely crushed a 1-0 pitch into the bushes in deep center field for the go-ahead, we're talking 445 feet range. Wind or no wind, that ball wasn't coming back and he put the Tigers ahead 3-2 in the third inning. (MLB.com video)
Victor Martinez: Bateador profesional. Moonshot. Destroyed. After Cabrera was intentionally walked in the fifth inning after his third-inning home run, Martinez sent the ball screaming into the left field seats for a three-run home run. Tigers had a firm lead at that point by a score of 8-2. (MLB.com video)
J.D. Martinez: Giving Tigers fans curly fries, one home run at a time. Martinez the younger blasted an opposite field home run that put the Tigers in the lead 10-2. As one Martinez goes, so too, does the other. (MLB.com video)
Tigers early game defense: Friday night it was crisp; Saturday night was less so in the early innings. Ian Kinsler had a rare error (just his third of the season) and J.D. Martinez fumbled a ball in left field that dropped for a base hit and a run scored, tying the game one-all. Eugenio Suarez chose to throw to first base rather than home on an infield hit by Charlie Culberson, and a fielder's choice gave the Rockies a 2-1 lead in the second inning.
Patrick McCoy: You can't get a more comfy lead to work with than 11-2, but McCoy found a way to muck it up. Four consecutive hits after a leadoff walk gave the Rockies two runs and McCoy was pulled without recording an out.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- J.D. Martinez was credited with his third stolen base of the season, which gave the Tigers their 68th of the season.
- Alex Avila had his 20th caught stealing of the season in the third inning, which is third most in the American League. Avila also finished 3-4, recording just his third three-hit game of the season and the first since June 24.
- Miguel Cabrera hit his 244th home run with the Tigers in the third inning, tying him with Lou Whitaker for sixth most in Tigers club history. Cabrera's homer was the 382nd of his MLB career, passing Albert Belle and tying him for 63rd all time with Frank Howard & Jim Rice.
- According to ESPN Stats and Information, Miguel Cabrera's home run in the third inning was calculated at 445 feet, his longest since June 28, 2013 and the longest this season.
- With his single in the fifth inning, Kinsler has 40th multi-hit games this season, which is tied for fourth most in the American League.
- Victor Martinez's three-run home run in the fifth inning was his first home run in 58 at-bats since returning to the lineup due to his side injury.
- Rick Porcello had his third career game with 10-or-more strikeouts, and the first since September 16, 2013 against the Seattle Mariners.
- The Tigers scored 10-or-more runs in a game for the 10th time this season, which is the second-highest total in the American League. They trail only the Oakland Athletics, who have 15 this season.
- With Davis' RBI single in the eighth inning, the Tigers scored in every inning. It marks the first time they've done so since 1912 in a nine-inning game and the 88th time a team has done that in MLB history.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:
|Roll Call Info|
|Commenter list||Alex Baker, AlohaTigersFan, AurelioFan, Beejeez, HaiderIsWriting, J_the_Man, Jacob30, Kwisatz Haderach, Mowhawk, Nonsuch Ned, Rob Rogacki, SanDiegoMick, Singledigit, SpartanHT, Tigerdog1, Tigersalltheway, Verlanderful, bowling255, dimes5, doctor hans, dominator039, fwgeneral, ja_zz, lesmanalim, lowandoutside, mrsunshine, subic sailor, texastigerfan|
TOP TEN COMMENTERS: