This baseball thing is fun! The Detroit Tigers showed that their recent homestand was no fluke, scoring eight runs on 18 hits en route to an 8-4 win over the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. The Tigers left plenty of runners on base early, but were able to capitalize in the middle innings. The win moves them to 4-0 on the season, tied with the Colorado Rockies for the best record in baseball.
Nick Castellanos delivered the big blow of the day for the Tigers' offense, hitting a two-run opposite field home run off of Indians starter Zach McAllister in the fifth inning to give the Tigers a 5-0 lead. Castellanos, who started the year 0-for-9 before tripling in yesterday's game, had two hits and a walk today. He also made a few nice defensive plays, including a lunging catch on a line drive in the fifth and a crucial double play in the sixth inning.
Miguel Cabrera was one of four Tigers players with three hits, but he gets the edge in today's vote over Victor Martinez and Yoenis Cespedes thanks to a .152 WPA. That win probability added came in the fourth inning when Cabrera poked a two-out RBI single into center field, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead. Cabrera's hit extended the inning for Victor Martinez, who added to the Tigers' tally with another two-out hit. Also in that inning, Cabrera caught the Indians defense napping and stole third base without a throw.
Jose Iglesias delivered one of the key hits in the game, driving in Cespedes with an RBI infield single in the top of the seventh. The run-scoring single pushed the Tigers' lead back up to 6-3 after they had escaped a jam in the previous half inning. Iglesias showed off his speed on the next play, scoring from first on a brutal throwing error by Indians pitcher Marc Rzepczynski.
Al Alburquerque only faced one batter and threw seven pitches, but he got two of the biggest outs of the game. Alburquerque relieved starter Alfredo Simon, who gave up three runs on five consecutive hits in the bottom of the sixth inning, cutting the score to 5-3. With runners on first and second and one out, Alburquerque induced a 5-4-3 double play to end the scoring threat. The Tigers broke the game open in the next half inning with three runs of their own.
Shane Greene capped off an excellent Tigers debut with Player of the Game honors, earning 80 percent of the vote. Greene threw eight innings and allowed just one earned run. He struck out five batters, walked one, and threw just 85 pitches.