Coming into the game riding a three game winning streak, the Detroit Tigers were looking to stretch it to four and clinch a second-straight series win. Sadly, that would not come to be, as the Braves throttled the Tigers over the last five innings to even the series with a 10-5 victory.
The Tigers got out front first in the opening frame on a Brandon Dixon single that brought home Christin Stewart. Daniel Norris then came out and threw three scoreless innings to keep the Tigers’ advantage buoyant at 1-0.
The Braves finally struck back in the fourth inning, with Freddie Freeman smacking a two-run home run, driving in Dansby Swanson and taking the lead. Norris then dispatched the next three batters to get back on track, including a full count strikeout of Josh Donaldson.
The Tigers would regain the lead in the top of the fifth thanks to a celeritous Norris legging out a soft infield chopper with one out to begin the rally. Niko Goodrum followed up with a double, setting the table for Christin Stewart to drive in the two with a single and put the Tigers ahead 3-2. This would be the last lead of the day for the away team.
The Braves would go on to score two more in the bottom of the fifth and sixth, all off of Norris, to break the game open and pull away from the Tigers. Daniel ended the evening with a stat line of 5.1 innings pitched, six hits, six runs (five earned) and four strikeouts, along with two home runs allowed.
The Tigers, however, did not go down without a fight. They scored a run in both the seventh and eighth, scratching and clawing while the game was still in reach. Goodrum drove in Jeimer Candelario on an RBI triple and then John Hicks scored Dixon on an RBI double the next inning. But two runs was not going to be enough for the bullpen bleeding.
The Three Amigos responsible for Saturday night’s bullpen performance were Zac Reininger, recently signed Austin Adams, and Daniel Stumpf. Reininger actually did a decent job, pitching 0.2 innings and allowing just a hit with a strikeout to clean up Norris’ mess in the sixth. Adams made one mistake — but it was a big one — allowing a solo home run to Swanson, but otherwise held his own in one inning pitched, with his fastball touching 98 mph.
Daniel Stumpf, however, was the weakest link, allowing three runs in the eighth and letting the game get away. He did manage to strike out two, but was hit hard otherwise. The Tigers then took the goose egg in the top of the ninth and with it the loss, tying up the southern series with Atlanta.
The offense scored five runs, with Goodrum, Stewart, Dixon and JaCoby Jones all having good days at the plate. Daniel Norris also looked solid the first two times through the order, but...
... then came the fourth inning, from which point Norris was playing with fire and ultimately got burned. On one hand, you can blame Gardenhire for leaving him out for his predictable third-time meltdown, but given the goals of the franchise for this season, they might as well see if he can figure it out trial-by-fire method.
Atlanta’s defense. Good gravy, they looked pretty awful out there today, and the Tigers managed to capitalize on some of those mistakes. It still was not enough to keep ahead of them on the scoreboard.
Play of the game
Daniel Norris legging out that chopper was quite a sight to behold.