May 23, 2014 at 1:00 am

Tigers 7, Rangers 2

Tigers end losing streak in uncharacteristic fashion

Detroit — So you drove over from Fennville for a couple of games this week, did ya’?

Saw the Thursday and Friday games against the Texas Rangers, after making a couple of mental predictions about what you might see.

Thursday: Joe Nathan on the mound in the ninth.

Friday night: home run, Miguel Cabrera.

Well, fictional fan from Fennville, you had a better time in the second game than the first because the Tigers won 7-2 on Friday after losing 9-2 on Thursday, and there was nothing wrong with the reasoning of your predictions.

But you saw something far more unusual in both games — both of them unpredictable.

Thursday: Danny Worth on the mound in the ninth.

Friday night: home run, Andrew Romine, his first in the majors.

“ ‘You better (bleeping) stay fair,’ ” he said. “That’s what I thought, as I saw it hooking.”

By now, you’ve heard about what Worth did, striking out two with his knuckleball while pitching a scoreless ninth inning.

Not that it made any difference in the outcome.

But Friday night’s game was Romine’s time to shine offensively.

It’s not been entirely easy being Andrew Romine, this season. He’s had to replace Jose Iglesias, the shortstop the Tigers expected to start at least 150 games — and while it’s been a good thing to be playing nearly every day, and playing your position well, it’s been something entirely different (and not good) to see your batting average go down ... and down.

And down.

To .169 after his first two at-bats Friday night.

“It’s absolutely been frustrating,” Romine said. “I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself because I just haven’t figured out the problem.

“But this one is going right up on the wall of my ‘I love me’ room, for sure.”

On April 22, Romine was hitting .269 and people were saying, “you know what? He can hit a little bit.”

When his average dipped to .209 before he had three hits on May 4 in Kansas City, people were saying “maybe he’s got it going again.

But he didn’t have it going again.

In the 12 games leading up to Friday night’s with Texas, with former Minnesota Twin Scott Baker pitching for the Rangers, Romine was 2-for-33, and he hadn’t had an extra base hit since April 25 — when a second-inning double to deep right-center off Kevin Correia in Minnesota showed he had some pop.

It even would have been a run-scoring double if Alex Avila hadn’t been thrown out at the plate.

In addition to Romine’s home run against the Rangers, Austin Jackson hit a two-run shot in the second.

It’s not been an easy time at the plate lately for Jackson, either. His batting average had plunged from .301 to .253 in the last nine games because of a 3-for-33 skid in which all his hits were doubles.

Some of the slump was bad luck, as in caught line drives, but much of the slump was just slump.

But, anyway, Jackson tied the game in the second with his first home run since April 23 — and with Anibal Sanchez (2-2) pitching well, before and after three consecutive hits resulted in two runs for the Rangers in the second, the Tigers took a 3-2 lead in the third.

Then stretched it from there.

Having a particularly good game, it so happened, was Ian Kinsler — with three doubles and three runs scored against his former teammates.

The Tigers led 5-2 when Romine connected in the sixth off the foul pole in right.

“I felt I was flying around the bases,” he said. “It was all a blur to me. Once they put their arm up (to rule it a home run), I checked out.”

It’s not as if Romine had never before hit a home run as a professional player. In seven minor-league seasons, he hit 23 of them, settling in at four in each of his last three seasons at Salt Lake City.

But in 235 major-league at-bats he had come up empty.

“I’ve been his teammate on two teams, and didn’t know that,” Torii Hunter said.

“Darn, we should have given him the silent treatment for sure,” Bryan Holaday said.

“I’m kind of thinking, this is where it turns around for him,” manager Brad Ausmus said.

Because none is now one.

tom.gage@detroitnews.com
twitter.com/Tom_Gage

Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez works in the first inning. / Robin Buckson / Detroit News
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