DETROIT -- David Price got the Detroit Tigers streaking again. Backed by hot bats, Price went seven innings and gave up only one run, en route to his eighth win of the season. The Tigers won 8-3 over the Toronto Blue Jays, capped by J.D. Martinez's two-run blast in the first.
There would be no shutout performance from Price on the Fourth of July. He struck out seven and allowed just one run -- a home run to Kevin Pillar in the fifth -- and walked only one batter, but his pitch count got up earlier in the game than it normally would due to lengthy at-bats. However, despite some battles, Price had no more than one baserunner on at the same time except once in the fifth, but the runner was quickly picked off. Price allowed just two doubles and the homer. The bullpen was relatively quiet save for a MLB debut two-run homer allowed by Jeff Ferrell.
Friday night the Tigers offense came alive, breaking a three-game losing streak. Detroit hit the repeat button on Saturday, knocking 10 hits and five runs in just four innings. The middle of the order was 4-for-7 with two walks and four of the five runs, with J.D. Martinez punctuating the first with a two-run home run. Alex Avila, while he didn't provide power, did reach base twice with a single and a walk, and also had two dazzling defensive plays.
First, there was the foul snag when Avila tumbled head-first into a fan's lap, hanging on to the ball for the final out of the fourth inning. Then, Avila and James McCann teamed up to pick off former Tiger Devon Travis at first. Avila, sneaky as all heck, placed his foot far enough in front of the first base bag that Travis couldn't get back to it in time. That's illegal at catcher, but not at first. MLB rule 7.13 regarding blocking home plate: circumvented.
To put the icing on the cake, the Tigers offense added some insurance runs just in case that bullpen got fickle. They scored ? times via a walk, hit batter, fielding error at first, wild pitch, and a two-run single. Every starting Tigers player had at least one hit by then, and both Yoenis Cespedes and Ian Kinsler finished the day with multiple hits. The Tigers finished with 13 hits on eight runs and had three walks, striking out just four times.
David Price: Went seven strong, striking out seven and giving up just one run -- a homer -- on eight hits. He walked just one batter and threw 114 pitches for a dominant performance.
J.D. Martinez: Another day, another destroyed baseball. Launched a rocket into the visiting bullpen for a two-run shot, also drawing a walk in the third.
Ian Kinsler: Finished the day 3-for-4 with a hit by pitch and a two-run single, with a run scored.
First and eighth innings: The Tigers sent nine to the plate and scored four runs in the first. Two hit by pitches, two doubles, a home run, and a triple comprised the first. Victor Martinez, J.D. Martinez, and James McCann all drove in runs, capped by J.D.'s homer. Then in the eighth, Detroit scored three more times on a bases-loaded wild pitch and a two-run single by Kinsler.
Defense: Mainly Alex Avila's. A pickoff at first thanks to a sharp McCannon throw, as well as a diving catch into the stands will do it. The infield defense had several great plays, just not as dazzling as Avila's.
DENIED. CLOSED FOR BUSINESS. BOARDED UP. THROWN IN A PIT. BURNT TO THE GROUND.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- The first-inning double by Yoenis Cespedes marked his 24th of the season, a tie with Cubs' Anthony Rizzo for third-most in Major League Baseball.
- J.D. Martinez hit his 22nd home run of the season in the first inning, second-most in the American League. Only Angels' Albert Pujols has more, with 24. He's batting .375 with 12 HR and 28 RBI over his last 18 games.
- James McCann's first-inning RBI triple marked his third of the season, most for a catcher in the AL, and tied with Rockies' catcher Michael McKenry for most in MLB by a catcher.
- Jeff Ferrell made his major league debut, pitching the ninth inning for the Tigers.
- The Tigers have grounded into 85 double plays this year. Cause, requirements. Nothin' to see here. Move along.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: