July 9, 2014 at 1:00 am

Thanks to replay, Torii Hunter sparks Tigers' comeback

Detroit — Tuesday night wasn’t exactly conventional baseball. The Tigers were booed off the field after the top of the first inning, trailing 5-0, only to score the next 14 runs — thumping the Dodgers in a rout at Comerica Park.

Here’s one tour of the bases worth of strange brew that made up nine fascinating innings.

1. On second thought ...

The Tigers second-rally started strange enough, with Torii Hunter seemingly thrown out at second base trying to stretch a single into a double — only to be proven safe after a lengthy replay. The throw to shortstop Miguel Rojas arrived in plenty of time, but the tag did not. Hunter, of course, knew it right away, and let the Tigers dugout know immediately.

“I felt my foot hit the bag, and he tagged me in my private,” Hunter said, laughing.

“I got hit in the babymaker.”

Maybe that was the break the Tigers needed.

Seven batters later, the Tigers had tied the game at 5.

The Tigers added two more runs in the third, and four more in the fourth — when they batted around for a second time.

2. Bottom feeders

The Tigers offense, so often, goes through Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez. And with Victor Martinez out, the Tigers have struggled mightily to score.

That’s why the bottom of the order’s contributions Tuesday were so impressive.

In fact, get this: Through four innings, each of the Nos. 6-9 hitters had batted three times, and none had made an out — outside of a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly. All told in that stretch, they were 8-for-8 with six RBIs. Nick Castellanos led the way with three hits.

“Miguel, J.D. and Victor can’t do it all the time,” said Alex Avila, who had an RBI single and two walks.

“Everybody’s gotta contribute at some point.”

3. Did that really happen?

Hard not to think of Jack Buck, calling the Kirk Gibson homer in the 1988 World Series.

“I don’t believe what I just saw!”

Of all the oddities that happened Tuesday night, taking the cake had to be J.D. Martinez and Cabrera — who entered the game with a combined 17 triples in a combined 16 major-league seasons — each legging out a triple. Both hit their shots to Triple Alley, in deep right-center. In the clubhouse after, players gave Cabrera’s triple the edge in style points, because he actually outran a slow-bouncing throw to the amusement of the crowd. Still, both made it rather easily.

“That’s a credit to our ballpark,” Avila said, laughing. “I’ve had some home runs taken away, but we might have a few more triples.”

4. Around the horn

■Dodgers pitchers allowed 14 earned runs Tuesday night; their ace, Clayton Kershaw, has allowed 18 all season.

■The Tigers scored 14 runs without a home run — something they haven’t done since waaaaaay back in ... uhh ... OK, last September, against the Royals, when they had 16 runs without going deep once.

■The Tigers actually could’ve scored much more, but Hunter and Ian Kinsler both hit into double plays with the bases loaded.

■Per Fangraphs, at the end of the first inning, the Tigers’ odds of winning the game were 11.3 percent. At the end of the fourth, they were 96 percent.



Dodgers shortstop Miguel Rojas makes the tag on the Tigers' Torii Hunter in the second inning Tuesday at Comerica Park. Hunter was originally called out, but the play was reviewed and the call overturned. / Robin Buckson / Detroit News