Found April 29, 2013 on Fox Sports Detroit:
DETROIT -- Andy Dirks had been missing in action during the first month of the season, but the left fielder put a jolt into the Tigers on Monday night. Dirks got Detroit on the scoreboard with his first homer of the season, a solo shot in the third, then started the game-winning, sixth-inning rally with a perfect bunt single. The highlight reel hit will be Prince Fielders majestic, three-run homer near the flagpole at Comerica Park. But make no mistake about it, the best thing about the 4-3 win over the Minnesota Twins was Dirks. He was batting .167, and had scored one run and knocked in one run over the last two weeks. The right knee he banged up running into the outfield wall in Lakeland, Fla., late in spring training was getting worse, even causing him to limp. Tigers manager Jim Leyland had seen enough of Dirks trying to play through it. Leyland gave him four games off, and Dirks said he felt better each day with a new strengthening program also paying dividends. Being able to fire off your legs helps, Dirks said. It makes your swing better ... and thats the best Ive felt since I ran into the wall in spring training. So the dependable .322 hitter of 2012 showed the first signs of doing what he did last year, when he scored 56 runs and knocked in 35 in just 88 games. Weve got to get him going, Leyland said. The home run he hit was terrific dont get me wrong but I really loved the bunt single. That was pure baseball: take what youre given. Leyland said Dirks saw third baseman Trevor Plouffe playing back, knew Miguel Cabrera and Fielder were coming up, and dropped the bunt. It was the product of a simple principle preached from the first day of spring training on the back fields at Tiger Town. It worked because Dirks deadened the ball and placed it where catcher Joe Mauer had no play upon picking it up. I was trying to get on base for the big guys, said Dirks, batting No. 2 with Torii Hunter getting the night off. With nobody out, Im trying to get on base any way I can. Cabrera walked and Fielder crushed the first pitch from Mike Pelfrey to win the game. Thats the big boys doing what they do, Dirks said. Its amazing how hard he can hit the ball. Championship teams are made up of big boys and dependable players who know their roles. Dirks is one of those integral lineup parts a manager can count on. Leyland pointed out that the success of the bunt was twofold. He said Plouffe will be playing in much closer the next time Dirks leads off an inning, making it easier to get a single through the hole or a double down the line. All these basic principles of smart play pay off by greatly increasing the odds of success, and Dirks applied another winning principle one pitch earlier. He went back to tag up on a long foul pop up by Cabrera that the Twins could not reach. Had it been caught, Dirks knew second baseman Brian Dozier was sprinting with his back to second. He could not have gotten anything on the ball, and Dirks would have tagged and been in scoring position. It was another example of Dirks thinking the game on every pitch. After all the talk about his bunt, Dirks was asked about his homer halfway up the right-field grandstands. My swings been feeling a little better in the cage, said Dirks, who credited hitting coach Lloyd McClendon and assistant hitting coach Toby Harrah for some minor adjustments. Dirks also said that the banged up knee played a role in holding him back, then noted that Monday's success was only one game. True. But it was one game in the win column, thanks to Dirks.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Verlander pitches Tigers to fifth straight win

DETROIT Justin Verlander might have finally figured out April. If the Tigers ace has ever shown a weakness, it has been the first month of the season. He came into 2013 with a 11-15 record in April, including a 4.37 ERA. It's the only month where he hasn't had at least a .600 winning percentage, and it is also his worst ERA. This year, though, Verlander hasn't waited...

Talkin’ Tigers Week in Review: Jose Valverde’s Positive Start Very Good News For Detroit

lakelandlocal, Flickr Each Monday, good or bad, we’ll look back at the biggest theme of the week that was for the Detroit Tigers. Forever, the biggest story in the young 2013 season for the Tigers has been the team’s troubles in the bullpen stemming from the lack of a closer. Last week, though, everything changed with the arrival of a familiar face. Jose Valverde, sporting a...

Game 2013.25: Twins at Tigers

One pitch, one hit, one Prince, and the Tigers are 14-10 and atop the division by a half game over the Royals going into this game. They’ve won 4 straight for the second time this season. Now it’s Verlander vs. Worley, also for the second time this year, and this time it’s in Detroit.  In complete game weather, if you catch my drift. Though there is that JV right thumb blister...

Twins try to tame host Tigers, Verlander

A finger problem won't keep Justin Verlander from trying to help the Detroit Tigers record a season-high fifth straight victory. The star right-hander doesn't seem too concerned about taking the mound Tuesday night when he tries to extend his recent dominance over the visiting Minnesota Twins. Verlander (2-2, 1.95 ERA) allowed two runs and eight hits against Kansas City...

Prince Fielder's 3-run home run, zero bat flip

Prince Fielder hit a monster, game-winning, three-run home run against the Twins' Mike Pelfrey on Monday night.  The ball landed near the flag pole in the visitor's bullpen, which is, like, far out, man. Fielder, whose bat flip has been off to a hot start in 2013, decided to hang on to the bat for a little while this time:  FAP.

Detroit Tigers Offense Starting to Growl

The Detroit Tigers were scuffling a bit offensively through the early weeks of this season. A combination of solid pitching by their opposition, cold weather, and visiting some pitcher’s parks on their only West Coast swing of the season all spelled out a spate of games where Detroit’s lineup seemed very docile and apathetic. The easy way to express the offensive malaise was...

‘Teen Mom’ Porn Cover Released, JJ Watt Charges Mound At Softball Game & Jose Valverde Spitting

Are you a struggling blogger who could use some free pageviews? Have a post you’ve been busting your ass on that deserves …

Game 2013.26: Twins at Tigers

15-11, in first place and leading K.C. by half a game still, and the win streak is at 5 games and counting. Anibal Sanchez got this thing rolling with a career outing against the Braves last Friday, and while we won’t see 17 strikeouts from him today, we might see a more subtle masterpiece here in his second 2013 outing vs. the Twins. Such as a no-hitter, for example. Just a suggestion...

Fielder powers Tigers over Twins

Prince Fielder's towering three-run homer in the sixth inning put Detroit ahead, and the Tigers held on Monday night for their fourth straight win, 4-3 over the Minnesota Twins. Detroit trailed 3-1 when Andy Dirks reached on a bunt single and Miguel Cabrera walked. Fielder hit the first pitch over the wall in left-center for an opposite-field homer. That part of the fence is...

Tigers 4, Twins 3

Prince Fielder's towering three-run homer in the sixth inning put Detroit ahead, and the Tigers held on Monday night for their fourth straight win, 4-3 over the Minnesota Twins. Detroit trailed 3-1 when Andy Dirks reached on a bunt single and Miguel Cabrera walked. Fielder hit the first pitch over the wall in left-center for an opposite-field homer. That part of the fence is...

TDSS Tigers Game Recap, Game 23: Pair of Three Run Homers Pace Detroit’s Sweep of Atlanta

The Detroit Tigers had a miserable weekend just one week ago, but things turned around when the Atlanta Braves visited Comerica Park this weekend. Sunday night, Detroit broke open a close game with a pair of three run homers, which were the difference in a dominating 8-3 win and a series sweep. A pitchers duel finally saw first blood drawn in rapid succession during the third and...

Red Hot Tigers Take Down Twins, 6-1

  WP: Verlander (3-2)        LP:  Worley (0-4) DETROIT, Michigan – Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera, and Alex Avila all went deep and Justin Verlander shut down the Minnesota offense for the Detroit Tigers’ 5th straight win on Tuesday night. The Comerica Park crowd of better than 31,000 saw the Tigers jump out to [...]

Twins look to Mauer hitting again against Tigers

Miguel Cabrera is surging for the Detroit Tigers while Joe Mauer is enduring a very rare drought without a hit for the Minnesota Twins. These superstars will be in the spotlight Monday night when the Tigers look for a fourth straight victory in the opener of a three-game home set against the surprising Twins. The red-hot Cabrera brings a 12-game hitting streak into this contest....

Daily FanDuel Picks: April 30, 2013

Max Scherzer gave me a scare with some early struggles but eventually rebounded to post a more Scherzer-like 10 strikeouts and a win over the Twins. As I suspected, Matt Harvey in a road start, even against the Minnows, was a more challenging win opportunity than most people expected. While most of my offense did almost nothing, Brandon Moss had a banner day slugging two homers and...

Twins-Tigers Preview

Miguel Cabrera is surging for the Detroit Tigers while Joe Mauer is enduring a very rare drought without a hit for the Minnesota Twins. These superstars will be in the spotlight Monday night when the Tigers look for a fourth straight victory in the opener of a three-game home set against the surprising Twins. The red-hot Cabrera brings a 12-game hitting streak into this contest...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.