Tigers manufacture run but not without some hullabaloo

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Detroit — Manufacturing runs has not come easy for the Tigers recently.

Detroit Tigers' J.D. Martinez bats during the eighth inning.

In fact, before the second inning Thursday, they’d mustered just three runs total in three games, all on solo home runs.

They did finally manage to scratch one out without the aid of a home run in the second inning — but not without some controversy.

With one out J.D. Martinez singled. Casey McGehee followed with a sinking liner to center field. Jackie Bradley, Jr., made a diving effort but didn’t catch the ball. First base umpire Jerry Layne, however, thinking the catch was made, signaled out right away.

Mayhem ensued.

Martinez, who was running on the pitch, had rounded second and was headed to third when he had to double back. On his way back to first, he passed McGehee, who had rounded the bag and was on his way to second.

The Red Sox thought they had a double play.

Tigers zoom past Sox, zap 3-game skid

Both managers came onto the field and the umpires huddled and finally took the matter to video review. It was quickly revealed the ball was not caught, so everything that happened on the bases after that was moot.

Layne, the crew chief, awarded Martinez third base and McGehee first.

“All I did was challenge the catch,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “Once they overturned it, the replay office placed the runners. I thought they got it right.”

It took the umpires a long time to finally decide to look at the replay.

“If we could’ve fixed it without going to replay, that’s what we were trying to do,” said Layne in a pool report. “Nobody could tell. So, make them challenge if they think that we’ve done something wrong, and so that’s what the process was.”

After two pitches to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, both called balls, Red Sox manager John Farrell came charging out of the dugout. Home plate umpire Scott Barry immediately gave the ejection sign — though it turned out not to be for Farrell.

Third base coach Brian Butterfield, who was chirping from the dugout, was tossed.

“I think Mr. Butterfield was arguing out on balls and strikes with Scotty, and he warned him a couple times,” Layne said. “He didn’t pay any attention to the warnings. Whether he wanted to go or not, he didn’t pay any attention to what was going to happen if he continued, and he was ejected.”

Saltalamacchia then hit a sacrifice fly to score Martinez. 

Miggy is grand

Miguel Cabrera’s RBI single in the eighth inning was the 1,000th run he’s driven in since joining the Tigers. Of all the milestones he reached this season — 400 home runs, 1,500 career RBIs — this one seemed special to him.

“The city of Detroit, this community, I play here now eight, nine years,” he said. “I am proud because you don’t see that too much right now because of all the trades and all the situations now with teams (moving players). For me to play with one team for a long time is special.”

He had been stuck on 999 RBIs with the Tigers for five days and his friends and family had been urging him to get there. He admitted it was weighing on him.

“Last night (Wednesday) with the bases loaded, for some reason it got into my head that, like, ‘You better do something. It’s going to be your 1,000th RBI,’” he said. “And then I hit into a double play. It was a good swing but right at him.

“It was like, don’t think too much about that. When you think, it’s not going to happen. It was the right situation today. Thank God I got that hit to keep the rally going.”

Pinch-running dilemma

The plan was to give Tyler Collins a full day off to rest his bruised knee, which was drilled by a 99 mph fastball from Royals' Yordani Ventura the night before.

But in the eighth inning, with Cabrera on second representing the go-ahead run and nobody out, Ausmus asked Collins if he could pinch run and then stay in the game to play left field.

“He came to me before the game and said he could hit and that he might be able to run by the time the game rolled around,” Ausmus said of Collins. “I didn’t want to use Justin Upton, so I asked TC, ‘Can you run?’ He was adamant that he could. I asked if he could play left and he said he could.

“Just before he went up the steps I asked, ‘Are you good?’ And he said, ‘Yeah. You want me to run out there?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, you might as well.’”
Collins ended up being forced at the plate.

Ausmus ended up using Upton to pinch run for Victor Martinez, who got to third base with one out, representing the go-ahead run.

“We needed somebody who could score on a sacrifice fly,” Ausmus said.

Upton ended up scoring on a bases-loaded walk to Andrew Romine.

Web gem

McGehee, who is filling in admirably at third base for the injured Nick Castellanos, made a brilliant diving catch to rob Deven Marrero of extra bases in the fourth inning.
He dived right and made a back-handed stab, easily worthy of a Web Gem highlight.

“I don’t know if they even had Web Gems the last time I had one of those,” he joked. “I enjoy playing defense. Even when you’re not getting hits, you still have a chance to help the team. I enjoy it and I take a lot of pride in being able to make the routine plays.”

Around the horn

For Romine, it was the third time he’s drawn a bases-loaded walk in his career.

…The Tigers turned an unusual 6-3-4 double play in the eighth inning. With runners at first and third, Jackie Bradley, Jr., hit a one-hopper to shortstop Erick Aybar, who was shifted to the right side of the infield. He froze the runner at third, threw to Cabrera at first for one out. Cabrera then threw a strike to second to double up the runner from first.

…The two newest Tigers each got their first hits — Aybar got two hits and Alex Presley singled in the fifth.

Twitter @cmccosky 

Red Sox at Tigers

First pitch: 7:10 p.m., Friday

TV/radio: FSD, MLBN 97.1

Scouting report:

RHP Rick Porcello (16-3, 3.30), Red Sox: He’s in the midst of a career year, and he seems to be getting stronger. He’s 3-1 in his last four starts, with a 2.25 ERA. Opponents are hitting .168 off him in that stretch. Impressively, he is 12-0 at Fenway Park this season, with a 2.96 ERA. He’s 4-3 on the road (3.70 ERA).

RHP Michael Fulmer (10-3, 2.25), Tigers: He’s coming off his first career complete game, a four-hit shutout at Texas. Talk about having full command of his full arsenal — against the Rangers he used 29 percent four-seamers, 28 percent sinkers, 22 percent sliders and 21 percent change-ups.