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Tigers 3, Blue Jays 1: Tigers even up the series against the Blue Jays

Javier did something he’s never done before and the Tigers pitchers shut down a dangerous offense.

MLB: JUN 11 Blue Jays at Tigers Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Fresh off a 10-1 loss to the Blue Jays last night, the Detroit Tigers came in looking to even up the series. Thanks to a historic three-walk game from Javier Báez and some clutch hitting, plus a great outing from Beau Brisket … ugh I mean Brieske, the Tigers evened up the series with a 3-1 win. Sorry, with the game starting at 4 p.m. and having had a late breakfast today, I’m feeling kind of hungry while writing this. Man, some brisket would be good tonight.

Brieske started off with an impressive but hard-earned first inning. George Springer and Bo Bichette each made Beau work hard but Vlad Jr. grounded out to end the 1-2-3 inning. A hard-fought but well-earned reward, much like baby back ribs.

The Tigers then turned their eyes to Blue Jays starter Kevin Gausman. Victor Reyes, just back from his rehab in Toledo, lead off the inning with a groundball single, and then, with one out, stole second base. He was initially called out on an excellent throw but the replay clearly showed the ball was dropped by the second baseman, and the call was overturned.

With the Tigers threatening, Miguel Cabrera drew a called third strike on a low pitch just outside the zone, but Harold Castro delivered with a sharp single up the middle to score Reyes and give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Javier Báez then drew a walk… yeah let’s state that again, JAVIER BAEZ THEN DREW A WALK, and the bases were loaded for Willi Castro. He drove a ball deep to left but it just didn’t have enough behind it and settled into the left fielder’s glove for the third out.

It was an up-and-down inning with some rare surprises, and while it could have been more, it still satisfied, kind of like a big N.Y. strip steak you ordered rare, but it came out medium instead.

Beau allowed a leadoff single to start the second, and then Santiago Espinal drove a ball deep to the right-field wall, but the wind held it up just enough for Meadows to grab it on the padding. A strikeout and bloop single later, the Jays were threatening but Brieske got Gabriel Moreno to ground out back to the mound in his first major league at-bat. Some momentary anxiety but a satisfying conclusion, like a good souffle that you bumped while putting in the oven and weren’t sure if you got water into the ramekin.

Torkelson lead off the bottom of the second inning and grounded out. Eric Haase worked Gausman for a full count but struck out on a check-swing pitch in the dirt. Reyes followed with his second hit in as many at-bats but Schoop popped out to end the inning. A disappointing inning overall but Reyes going 2-2 was nice. Much like food from Burger King. The flame-grilled meat taste is nice, but the rest is just disappointing.

Beau returned to battle the Jays in the top of the third and got two easy groundball outs before Bichette and Vlad Jr hit back-to-back singles to create another threat. Hernandez smoked a ball to left but Báez snared the line drive to end the threat. That inning was when you’re grilling out and you step inside for a moment and come out to find a massive flare-up, but you are able to get the goods off the heat before they incinerate.

The Tigers came to bat in the bottom of the third looking to add on, but the heart of the order went down quietly on just six pitches. Like opening a bag of stale potato chips. Just so disappointing.

Brieske almost got himself a quick inning as well, but Gurriel hit a soft tapper back to Brieske who threw to first, but his throw just clipped the arm of the runner and allowed him to reach safely. Unfazed, he got the next two batters quickly on a pop-out and a strikeout. Like eating watermelon on a hot summer day, but it's not the seedless variety so you have to annoyingly pick out the few seeds. No big deal.

Báez led off the bottom of the fourth with, STOP THE PRESSES, ANOTHER WALK! It was hit first two-walk game as a Detroit Tiger and the first time he’s done so since September 14 of last year. Willi Castro and Spencer Torkelson flew and grounded out, and then, when the hope was fading, Eric Haase ripped a ball into the right-field corner for a triple to score Báez and push the Tiger’s lead to 2-0. Victor Reyes struck out to end the inning but the Tigers got the run home and capitalized on the rare Javier second walk.

This was like when you go to a Chinese buffet and they actually have peanut butter chicken (shut up, it's awesome). But when you go up with your plate, the tray is empty. You shuffle around to the sweet and sour chicken and try not to look too disappointed and then right as you’re about to head back to the table, they come out with a fresh tray!

Brieske took the mound in the top of the fifth with a pitch count in the 70s and needed a quick inning. And that is exactly what he got. Though he gave up a two-out single to Bichette, he got through the top of their order on just nine pitches. Needed exactly one thing and he got it. That’s a cold beer on a hot summer day. The Tigers however did much as they did in the bottom of the third and their 2-3-4 hitters went down in order. You finished that first beer but all that’s left is an old can of Natty Light. Blech.

Báez began the top of the sixth with an uncharacteristic throwing error that pulled Torkelson off the bag. First, two walks, then a throwing error for Javy — a truly rare day for him. Brieske got Espinal to line out and then Gurriel hit a sharp single to Willi Castro who unleashed a laser to third base to cut down Hernandez.

That was his fourth outfield assist in the past week. It would also be the end of the night for Beau Brieske, as AJ Hinch decided to turn to Chafin to get the lefty up next. Beau’s final line was a perfect grilled cheese sandwich. Nothing fancy, but very comforting and effective against a tough opponent.

Harold Castro flew out to start the bottom of the sixth, and then Báez followed with a single while Willi Castro followed with a double to put two in scoring position. And then, as luck would have it, Torkelson lined into an out and Báez got doubled off third base for the inning-ending double play. Like getting a nice piece of fried fish but once you bite in you find the batter is still uncooked and the fish is cold. Blech.

Jason Foley took the mound in the top of the seventh. He got Moreno to ground out and then he walked Biggio on ten pitches. He bounced back to get Springer to ground out and then after a short visit from Fetter, Bichette lined out to Javy Báez to end the inning. That’s a chocolate chip cookie right there.

In the bottom of the seventh, David Phelps came on in relief of Gausman and Eric Haase started things off with a double against him. Victor Reyes followed with his third hit of the day, a groundball off the glove of Biggio to score Haase and give the Tigers a 3-0 lead. Schoop struck out swinging and the Jays went to their pen again for the lefty Meadows. Tim Mayza came on and Meadows hit a line drive to Biggio who threw to first and caught Reyes too far off the bag for another inning-ending double play. Like a perfectly grilled backyard cheeseburger but there are no toppings. You get what you needed but more would have been nice.

Top of the eighth, the Tigers turned to Michael Fulmer, who in turn struck out Vlad Jr. and then Hernandez before getting Espinal to ground out to short. Powerful, effective, like an antacid after all this food. Trevor Richards came on to pitch the bottom of the eight and got Miguel Cabrera to ground out. Harold Castro followed with a fly-out to bring up Javy again. And then, shockingly, and for the first time in his career, he drew his third walk of the game. Folks, we have history! Remember where you were the moment Javier Báez drew his third walk in a game. Willi Castro followed with a ground out to end the inning, but JAVIER BÁEZ WALKED THREE TIMES IN ONE GAME!

To the bottom of the ninth we went. Gregory Soto took over and he started off with a strikeout of Gurriel on a heater inside which got a very awkward swing from Gurriel. Bradley Zimmer followed but didn’t have much luck as he too struck out swinging. That brought up Gabriel Moreno who turned around a 99 mph heater for his first major league hit. Biggio followed with a six-pitch walk as he barely held up on ball four. That brought up George Springer, who ripped a liner off the glove of Baez to score Moreno and suddenly make things very uncomfortable. With hearts pounding, Soto got Bichette to lift a flyball to right, but it settled into the glove of Meadows.

Ballgame! Tigers Win. Just like a big old stack of thick center-cut bacon. It might give you a heart attack but there’s nothing better.

Notes:

Some old friends got together for a group photo before the game today. Once a Tiger, always a Tiger.

First career win for Brieske, let's hope no flying proteins were involved in his celebration.