A quality outing from Matt Boyd and a three-run blast from Nick Maton were the keys as the Tigers broke out of their skid with a 4-2 victory on Monday in Milwaukee.
The Tigers put together a two-out scoring threat in the top of the first inning when Javier Báez walked for the sixth time already this season. The shortstop only had 26 walks total in 2022. Nick Maton’s bunt to third went for a single, but Kerry Carpenter struck out.
Boyd quickly racked up two strikeouts to begin his outing, He would ultimately finish with eight punchouts in this one. However, with two outs William Contreras got a 1-2 fastball down and beat it over the center field wall to give the Brewers an early 1-0 lead. Boyd struck out Brian Anderson to end the inning.
Spencer Torkelson led off the second with a single through the left side, but Miguel Cabrera followed with a double play ball. The Tigers hadn’t really built a good scoring chance, but the way the offense has gone, the nerves were already beginning to fray amidst the fanbase.
That was only aggravated in the third, as Eric Haase led off the inning with a walk and was then thrown out trying to steal second. Akil Baddoo and Riley Greene followed with walks as well. Colin Rea was struggling to locate anything.
For a moment, it really looked like they’d blown it. Báez singled to right field and Greene tried to advance to third, neglecting the fact that Baddoo had held at third. Greene was out in embarrassing fashion, and the mood was only alleviated when Maton cracked home run number four, a three-run blast to right that made it 3-1 Tigers.
It's Nick Maton's wolfpack and we're here for it. pic.twitter.com/qCDF9kVoXO— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) April 25, 2023
For his part, Boyd continued to ride the knife edge, striking out Blake Perkins and Brice Turang to start the bottom of the third, and then giving up another solo shot. This time it was Brewers third baseman Mike Broussard victimizing the Tigers’ lefty. But again, Boyd was employing the Justin Verlander method of only allowing solo shots, and the Tigers had the lead.
Boyd had some trouble in the fourth, allowing three singles, but he was able to wiggle out of it by getting a shallow fly ball from Joey Wiemer and punching out Perkins again. Boyd’s velo was up a bit in this one, and he’d rack up 19 whiffs in the contest, averaging 92.4 mph with his four-seamer, compared to his 90.7 mph average so far this year. He’s getting loose.
The Tigers managed to add on a run in the fifth. Haase ripped a double to left, and after Baddoo moved Haase to third on a ground out, Greene pulled a grounder to second base and they didn’t quite get Haase trying to score, as Greene reached first. 4-2 Tigers.
That’s where this would stay the rest of the way.
Craig Counsell turned to reliever Bryse Wilson in the sixth, and he and the Brewers pen did a pretty good job locking down the Tigers’ offense. Jose Cisnero took over for Boyd in the bottom half, and other than nicking Luke Voit with a fastball that tailed back in on the right-handed hitter, had no issues.
A one-out single from Zach McKinstry, who had a nice game defensively, was followed by a stolen base as Haase struck out. McKinstry was initially ruled out but A.J. Hinch challenged it and won out. Baddoo struck out anyway to end the inning.
The Tigers then went to their ground ball specialists. Tyler Holton racked up three quick ground ball outs in the seventh, and Jason Foley got three quick outs in the eighth.
A.J. Hinch emptied his bench in the top of the eighth against lefty Alex Claudio. Báez and Schoop, pinch-hitting for Maton, came up with one-out singles. Matt Vierling pinch hit for Kerry Carpenter but struck out, and Torkelson grounded out to third to end the threat.
With Schoop now at second base, McKinstry at third, and Vierling in right field, Foley had no trouble. That left it up to Alex Lange to close it out. Christian Yelich lifted a fairly deep ball to right center field that Vierling ran down for the first out. And then Lange went to work with his breaking ball, striking out Rowdy Tellez and Wiemer to collect his second save on the season.
The Tigers now stand at 8-13 on the season. RHP Spencer Turnbull will take on LHP Eric Lauer on Tuesday at 7:40 p.m. ET.