A nice extended weekend for the Detroit Tigers, as they took three of four games from the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox. And we’ve got the Tigers’ grades for the final three games in that set — a loss Friday and wins Saturday and Sunday.
1. Austin Jackson: A. The Tigers’ center fielder took Friday night off, then came back to spark wins on Saturday and Sunday. Jackson came to the plate 10 times combined over those two days, reaching base eight times on four singles, a double and three walks. He also scored five runs on a terrific weekend.
2. Torii Hunter: B-plus. Pretty solid three days for Hunter, too. He capped off Detroit’s series win with a sprawling grab in the bottom of the ninth on Sunday. Before that, Hunter went 5-for-12 at the plate, with a walk and RBI.
3. Miguel Cabrera: B-plus. Cabrera did his best to get Detroit a win Friday, rolling up a 4-for-4 night that included a long three-run homer off Jon Lester. The Red Sox pitched him more carefully on Saturday and Sunday, though he still wound up with three more hits and three walks.
4. Prince Fielder: B-minus. Fielder turned around a tough weekend by delivering three critical RBI Sunday — his two-run single in the eighth stood as the game-winner. Fielder needed that big knock, after an 0-for-5 Friday was followed by and 0-for-4 Saturday. The latter performance saw Fielder K with the bases loaded, then later ground into a double play with three runners on base.
5. Victor Martinez: B. Which day do you want to focus on here? Martinez dominated Boston on Saturday, uncorking a first-inning grand slam and finishing 2-for-3 with 5 RBI and two walks. He was just 1-for-9 the rest of the three games in question here, plus struck out in a key spot late Sunday.
6. Jhonny Peralta: B-minus. Peralta gets bumped up for drawing a game-tying hit-by-pitch Sunday. Aside from that, it was a bit of a three-day scuffle for the potential All-Star — Peralta was just 2-for-10 Friday through Sunday.
7. Omar Infante: C-plus. Infante’s big blow over the weekend came Saturday night, when he ripped a two-run homer into the bullpen. The previous game, in the leadoff spot, Infante finished 0-for-5 and left four men on base; he was 1-for-3 with a walk Sunday.
8. Andy Dirks: B-plus. Definite signs of life from Dirks. He sparked an attempted Detroit rally Friday by taking Lester deep, then cranked out three singles in four ABs on Saturday. Jim Leyland gave him Sunday off.
9. Brayan Pena: B. Pena also sat in the fourth and final game of this series, after going 3-for-8 with an RBI and a run scored during Friday and Saturday’s action.
1. Avisail Garcia: D. Back up from Toledo again, Garcia saw two starts — one Friday, one Sunday. He was 0-for-8 in those outings, though he scored a critical run Sunday after the umpires mistakenly ruled that Daniel Nava had dropped Garcia’s deep fly to right.
2. Brayan Holaday: B. Holaday was 1-for-3 in Sunday’s start, with Pena sitting. He also reached on an Andrew Miller error late — Holaday laid down a sacrifice bunt with Garcia on second, then Miller threw wide to allow Detroit’s catcher to reach.
1. Doug Fister: F. Go figure. Fister has received almost no run support all year, then tanked when Detroit hung six on the scoreboard. Fister forced Leyland to go to the bullpen early Friday, allowing 11 hits and six runs in just 3.1 innings. He took the loss in that game.
2. Max Scherzer: A-minus. Scherzer seemed like he might be in for a long night Saturday, as he allowed three hits (including a mammoth David Ortiz homer) in the first. Boston managed all of three hits and no runs over the next six innings, allowing Scherzer to move to 11-0.
3. Justin Verlander: C-minus. Is Verlander hurt? Or does he just continue to go through the motions? Once again, his control failed him Sunday (three walks and numerous deep counts). And once again, he made it just five innings. The offense bailed him out of a loss, despite giving up seven hits and four runs in the short showing.
4. Joaquin Benoit: B. With a little help from Hunter’s catch and the umps, Benoit picked up his second win Sunday. He came on in relief in the top of the eighth to K Daniel Nava with the go-ahead run on second, then finished things off in the ninth, despite allowing a run.
5. Drew Smyly: A. Yes, Smyly allowed three hits. He also came through with 2.2 more scoreless innings, setting the table for Detroit’s late win Sunday.
6. Al Alburquerque: B. Kind of a mixed bag for Alburquerque — as we’ve come to expect. Leyland dropped him into a tough spot Friday, with runners on second and third and nobody out in a close game. Alburquerque might have gotten out of it, too, had it not been for an apparent missed call at home. In two innings of work over Friday and Saturday, Alburquerque walked four (two intentionally Friday).
7. Luke Putkonen: C-minus. A little shaky in mop-up duty late Saturday — three hits, one run in one inning. Fortunately, the game was well in hand by then.
8. Phil Coke: D. Same old struggle for Coke, who nearly lost Thursday’s game. Leyland gave him another shot Friday, and Coke bombed again. After a 1-2-3 seventh inning, Coke Walked Jared Saltalamacchia, then served up a double to Stephen Drew to start the eighth.
9. Darin Downs: B. Downs mostly kept Detroit in Friday’s game, giving up one run in 2.2 innings after relieving Fister.
10. Evan Reed: C-plus. Reed allowed an unearned run and two hits while working the ninth inning of Friday’s loss.