Okay, so maybe the Tigers were facing a pitcher who was dealing with dead arm and had been beat up lately. You know what? I. DON’T. CARE. This is a game the Detroit Tigers and their fans needed to have. Riding a five-game losing streak in the wake of trading their ace and face of the franchise — and on the eve of his Houston Astros debut, no less — for three hours, our Tigers made us forget about all that and learn to feel joy again.
From the start, things did not look so good. Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez left the game after just five pitches after taking a line drive off the leg of Whit Merrifield. With a runner on second and their starter limping to the bench, the Tigers called on September call-up Myles Jaye. He rebounded from a shaky first batter walk to allow just a run on a fielder’s choice, and then pitched a solid second inning after yielding runners on the corners with one out.
From there, the Tigers bats took over. In the bottom of the second, the Tigers sent 11 men to the plate. Eight men reached base, and the Tigers scored seven runs. After a pair of leadoff walks, prospect Jeimer Candelario hit a shot up the left-center gap to score two runs and give the Tigers the lead. Alex Presley would bring him home on a single through the middle. Then, out of nowhere, JaCoby Jones delivered his first home run since Opening Day to make it a four-run Tigers lead. And they weren’t done. Ian Kinsler would single, then Mikie Mahtook obliterated a ball to deep left field to drop a stunning seven runs on Jason Vargas and the Royals.
From there, running high on the inspiration of the seven-run inning, the Tigers bullpen would team up to pitch seven innings, allowing just a single run in the sixth on three hits. Jaye, Blaine Hardy, Daniel Stumpf, Drew VerHagen, Alex Wilson, and Victor Alcantara would keep the Royals down for good while the Tigers offense pounded their opponents into submission.
John Hicks would hit a two-run homer in the fourth. Jose Iglesias followed with a solo shot in the fifth. Hicks would add an RBI single in the sixth. Jones hit his second home run of the night in the seventh, and finally, Hicks hit his second long ball of the night in the eighth. When the last fly ball settled into the glove of Dixon Machado, the Tigers claimed a 13-2 victory, racking up 15 hits while striking out seven Royals.
This is a game you should DVR and watch again and again for a while to let those warm and fuzzy feelings return, if only for a moment.
JaCoby Jones: 2-for-4 with three RBI and two home runs.
John Hicks: 3-for-4 with four RBI and two home runs as well.
Mikie Mahtook: 3-for-5 with a home run after being robbed of one on Monday.
Jeimer Candelario: He was only 1-for-5, but it was the go-ahead RBI double to spark the offense.
The bullpen: No, this is not a misprint. Nine innings, four hits, one run, four walks, and seven strikeouts for Tigers relievers.
STATS AND INFO:
- Candelario’s two-run double in the second gave the Tigers their first lead in a ballgame since trading Justin Verlander last week.
- Candelario is now 6-for-13 in his brief career as a Tiger.
- The Tigers his six home runs in a game for the first time since June 16, 2016.