Holaday gives himself, Tigers big boost with slam

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
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Bryan Holaday arrives at home after clubbing his grand slam Wednesday against the Marlins.

Lakeland, Fla. – Bryan Holaday needed to make something good happen for himself. He came into the game with three hits in 22 at-bats and running third in a two-man roster race at the catcher position.

The Tigers needed to make something good happen for themselves, too, collectively. They had won just once in 12 games, and even though it's an irrelevant bit of bookkeeping, their spring record was in freefall – 7-15-2.

On top of that, they were sleepwalking through another game, losing 4-0 to the Marlins after five innings.

So how about taking care of both problems with one swing of the bat?

The Tigers had greeted reliever Sam Dyson with four straight singles and two quick runs when Holaday stepped up with the bases loaded. He unloaded on a 1-1 fastball and sent it to the berm in left field.

"That felt good," he said. "The guy was throwing his fastball between 98 and 100 mph. So it felt good to hit that."

The Tigers went on to beat the Marlins 8-4.

"It was good to see that," manager Brad Ausmus said. "It was a big hit for Doc (Holaday) but it was a big hit for us. It looked like we were dragging our feet for a few innings and that gave us some energy."

Until that six-run uprising, the Tigers had mustered just two hits off starter David Phelps and had made several misplays in the field.

"If that (defensive sloppiness) becomes a trend, I will be concerned," Ausmus said. "One game does not make a trend."

Holaday hopes this one game – he got two hits – starts a trend for him. He is battling James McCann for the backup catcher spot.

"I admit, the competition is there and you want to perform," Holaday said, when asked if he felt any undue pressure. "But outside of that, you don't feel pressure."

Holaday's mantra has been to control what he can control and let the chip fall where they may.

"This helps," he said.

Twitter@cmccosky

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