The Detroit Tigers finally saw a complete performance from their pitching staff on Sunday. Matt Boyd and the bullpen combined to allow just one run as the Tigers, powered by Alex Avila, took the series with a 4-1 victory on Sunday.
Matt Boyd was effective, but inefficient, scattering six Tribe knocks across his first four innings of work. A steady diet of fourseam fastballs and changeups induced weak contact, but the lack of a putaway pitch drove Boyd’s pitch count to 59 through three innings. An eight pitch fourth got that pitch count back in better shape. Boyd used his slider to induce a pair of double plays which really helped his cause.
He was staked to an early lead when Tyler Collins drilled a single to left and rode home on an Alex Avila no-doubter to center field. The home run was Avila’s second of the series. The Tigers got another threat going in the third inning but Carlos Carrasco was able to strike out Miguel Cabrera and induce a Victor Martinez’ pop-up to escape a two-on, one-out jam.
The 2-0 lead held up into the sixth inning when Cleveland finally got on the board. Back-to-back singles by Brantley and Encarnacion, followed by a double steal, allowed Brantley to trot home on Jose Ramirez’ flyout to left. Boyd engaged Brandon Guyer in a lengthy battle before burying a back-foot slider that Guyer whiffed on to end the inning and Boyd’s outing.
Alex Wilson had a scary moment in the bottom of the seventh when he deflected a Yandy Diaz’ comebacker right into his left eye. Wilson recovered to get the out, shook off some blurry vision and a mild shiner, and proceeded to carve up Austin Jackson and Yan Gomes to complete a fine inning of relief work.
The Tigers quickly added some insurance against Bryan Shaw in the eighth inning. Nick Castellanos flared one into shallow center field and Jackson misplayed it into a double. Miguel Cabrera quickly drilled a shot up the middle to plate Castellanos and extend the lead to 3-1.
Unfortunately, after a Victor Martinez single, Cabrera had to be removed as his back appeared to tighten up on him. JaCoby Jones came on to pinch run and moved to third when Justin Upton bounced into a double play. He then scampered home on a Zac McAllister wild pitch to make it 4-1.
Alex Wilson and Justin Wilson were dominant in their innings of work, leaving it up to Francisco Rodriguez to close this one out. He struck out Edwin Encarnacion, but then allowed a one-out double down the right field line to Jose Ramirez. Rodriguez was unfazed, inducing a pair of weak pop-ups to close it out.
With the win the Tigers hold onto first place in the AL Central and move to 8-4 on the year. Happy Easter Tigers fans!
Alex Avila: Crushed his second home run of the series in the second inning. Added a single and a pair of walks as well.
Matt Boyd: Another strong outing from Boyd as went six innings, allowing just one run. Boyd gave up seven hits and a pair of walks in this one, with just three strikeouts. He still needs to learn to finish hitters off, but he also has the stuff and composure to keep a dangerous lineup in check.
Jose Iglesias: A double, a walk, and a slick delayed steal to go with his usual steady hand at shortstop.
The Wilsons: The Wilsons were dominant, pitching clean 7th and 8th innings with a pair of strikeouts each. Alex in particular featured some outstanding breaking balls. More of that please.
NOPE. NOT TODAY HISSES!!!
STATS AND REACTIONS
Alex Avila has reached base in eight of his last nine plate appearances.— Chris McCosky (@cmccosky) April 16, 2017