Catching prospect Jake Rogers hit the first home run of his career, Brandon Dixon chipped in four RBI, and the Detroit Tigers smoked the Los Angeles Angels in a 9-1 win on Wednesday afternoon. The victory clinched Detroit’s first series win at Angels Stadium since 2009.
The Tigers’ lineup got an early shakeup in this one, as Nicholas Castellanos — originally slated to be the team’s designated hitter — was scratched from the lineup after a last-minute trade that sent him to the Chicago Cubs. The Tigers offense got off to a slow start as a result (maybe), and put just one runner on base in the first two innings.
That didn’t matter, though, as Rogers smoked a Jose Suarez fastball into the left field seats to lead off the top of the third, putting the Tigers up 1-0. It was the first home run of Rogers’ big league career, and his second RBI (after a run-scoring single in Tuesday’s game).
The Tigers added a second run in the inning when JaCoby Jones walked, advanced to second base on a balk, and scored on a Niko Goodrum single to right. Goodrum advanced all the way to third base as Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy argued the call, but was stranded by Brandon Dixon, who flew out to end the inning.
Dixon more than made up for that missed opportunity, however. With Rogers and Gordon Beckham on base in the fifth, Jordy Mercer singled sharply to center. Rogers — who, for all of his strengths, still runs like a catcher — was stranded at third. That didn’t matter, however, as Dixon plated him and Beckham with a two-out single off reliever Trevor Cahill to double Detroit’s lead.
On the pitching side, Daniel Norris looked sharp in five scoreless innings of work. He held the Angels to just three hits and two walks, and threw just 74 pitches before departing. Head athletic trainer Doug Teter came out to check on Norris at one point, but Norris stayed in the game (at the time). There is no update on whether Norris’ early departure was due to injury. Reliever Nick Ramirez gave up a solo home run to Mike Trout in the sixth, but that was all the offense the Angels could muster in this one.
Meanwhile, the Tigers offense continued to pile on. Dixon hit a two-run homer in the top of the eighth to put the Tigers up 6-1, and Gordon Beckham piled on with a three-run homer later in the inning to pad the lead.
While there was no save situation to be had, we got a look at what could be the future back end of the Tigers’ bullpen. Trevor Rosenthal struck out two and pitched around a walk in the seventh, Buck Farmer worked a scoreless eighth, and Joe Jimenez retired the side in the ninth (with some hard contact in the process) to close out Detroit’s 32nd win of the season.