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 fourth, as Brayan Pena’s walk and Omar Infante’s single set the stage for Austin Jackson. One crushed pitch later, Detroit led 3-0. Atlanta answered back, stringing together several straight hits and quickly dinking their way to a 3-3 tie. Fister kept fighting his control but managed to work around trouble several times, allowing Detroit to take the one run lead when Miguel Cabrera doubled off Mike Minor and Victor Martinez plated him with a sacrifice fly. Fister got through the seventh, giving his offense a chance to pad the lead.
Infante and Cabrera would provide that extra run support in a hurry. Infante greeted Atlanta with a solo home run immediately, and three batters later, Cabrera took Corey Gearrin deep to right for yet another three run shot. In the blink of an eye, the score had shifted to an 8-3 blowout in favor of the Tigers. Al Albuquerque struck out the side in the eighth inning with filth, but struggled an inning later, giving way to Jose Valverde in the ninth. Valverde, suddenly the hero, got three fast outs and put the finishing touches on the win.
Big Cat: Austin Jackson. In a night of big bats for several Tigers, Jackson got the party started by crushing a pitch in the third inning and getting Detroit off the mat. The importance of that cannot be understated, especially considering Jackson’s periodic struggles as of late. Tonight’s solid effort, which saw Jackson on the bases twice and score twice, proved a turnaround could be quickly at hand.
Stray Kitty: None. A weekend sweep with plenty of clutch offense leaves no strays and nothing to be completely disappointed about.
Best Play Of The Game: Miguel Cabrera’s three run home run. With a tenuous two run lead and a pair of ducks on the pond, Cabrera stepped to the dish. In another big moment, he delivered, pounding an opposite field home run to put the game out out of reach for the Braves. It was the biggest hit of the night, and Cabrera’s 2-4 game was a huge reason the Tigers were able to pull away and win.
Worst Play Of The Game: Doug Fister’s erratic nature. Fister randomly hit two batters tonight, something he’s become quite adept at doing lately. In a few middle innings including the troublesome fourth, Fister appeared to struggle with command and was all around the plate. As rough as things looked though, they were just as good at times. Through seven strong innings, Fister struck out eight and allowed no walks.
Central Focus: The Tigers’ win helps them pull a game behind Kansas City, who lost the second game of a day-night doubleheader against Cleveland. Both teams have 13 wins on the season.
On Deck: The Minnesota Twins visit Comerica Park for three games starting on Monday night at 7:05 p.m. Max Scherzer opposes Mike Pelfrey on the mound.
Max DeMara is a senior editor at The Detroit Sports Site. You can find him on Twitter @SportsGuyTheMax