Live Tigers blog: Norris, big innings fuel victory

Bruce Mason
The Detroit News
Ian Kinsler of the Detroit Tigers rounds third base after hitting a solo home run in the first inning.

Brilliant defensive plays. A terrific start from a young pitcher. Thirteen runs.

It was quite a night at Comerica Park as the up-and-down Tigers won for the second straight game Friday against the Tampa Bay Rays, this time by a 13-4 triumph.

Tigers left-handed starter Daniel Norris matched a season-high with eight strikeouts and exited to a standing ovation as he earned a win in back-to-back starts for the first time in his career.

Ian Kinsler led off the game with a solo home run and the Tigers exploded for a pair of five-run innings en route to a 13-hit affair.

Nicholas Castellanos went 2-for-4 with four RBIs, Alex Avila hit a solo homer and Justin Upton knocked in three runs.

Norris (4-4) struck out eight and walked one in six innings.

Top 9: Stumpf gives up a run

Tigers left-handed reliever Daniel Stumpf has entered the game in the top of the ninth.

Tim Beckham tripled off the top of the wall and scored on a sacrifice fly from Daniel Robertson (three RBIs).

It's 13-4 Tigers.

Bottom 8: Mahtook extends hit streak with double

Rays right-hander Danny Farquhar delivered a scoreless eighth inning.

It’s 13-3 Tigers entering the top of the ninth.

In the bottom of the eighth, Tigers RF Mikie Mahtook entered the game and hit a two-out double to extend his hitting streak to eight games. It’s Mahtook’s fifth double of the year.

John Hicks entered the game as a DH for Miguel Cabrera and grounded out. Hicks was called up Triple-A Toledo in light of Victor Martinez (irregular heartbeat) heading to the 10-day DL.

Top 8: Saupold strong on mound

Tigers right-handed reliever Warwick Saupold has bounced back from a rare poor outing last week with another scoreless inning.

Saupold has not given up a hit or a walk in two innings tonight.

In the top of the eighth, Saupold retired Steven Souza Jr. (fly out), Corey Dickerson (ground out) and Michael Martinez (fly out, batting for Evan Longoria).

Saupold had a stretch of 11.2 innings without allowing an earned run until last Saturday’s game at Boston, when he gave up four hits and three earned runs.

Tonight, Saupold inherited two base runners with no outs in the seventh inning, but induced back-to-back ground balls to avert danger.

Bottom 7: Machado, Romine enter game

Rays hard-throwing left-handed reliever Jose Alvarado (3.78 ERA) threw a scoreless frame.

It’s 13-3 Tigers after seven innings.

In the bottom of the seventh, Tigers SS Dixon Machado entered the game for Jose Iglesias and struck out swinging, and 2B Andrew Romine entered the game for Ian Kinsler (solo homer) and grounded out.

Tigers catcher James McCann lined out to start the inning.

Alvarado hit 98.3 mph on the radar gun during the inning.

Top 7: Norris exits to standing ovation

Tigers left-handed starter Daniel Norris has been pulled and received a standing ovation as he came off the mound at Comerica Park.

The Tigers lead 13-3 in the top of the seventh inning.

Norris matched a season-high with eight strikeouts in six innings. He walked one batter and gave up eight hits and three earned runs.

In the top of the seventh, Norris gave up back-to-back hits which prompted a visit from Tigers manager Brad Ausmus.

Rays CF Mallex Smith belted a leadoff triple and 2B Daniel Robertson (2-for-3) followed with an RBI single to cut the Tigers lead to 13-3.

Norris threw 102 pitches.

Tigers right-handed reliever Warwick Saupold entered the game and induced a double-play grounder from Jesus Sucre.

Bottom 6: Castellanos triple adds to outburst

Nicholas Castellanos delivered a two-out, two-RBI triple to increase the Tigers lead to 13-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Castellanos has four RBIs tonight. His fourth triple of the season ties him for the American League lead with Red Sox SS Xander Bogaerts.

With two outs in the inning, J.D. Martinez hit a single and Justin Upton walked off Rays reliever Austin Pruitt.

Whatever ailed Miguel Cabrera in the bottom of the fifth inning didn’t last too long, because he returned to bat in the sixth inning.

After Friday’s game, Cabrera told Chris McCosky of The Detroit News that he’s been battling an injured back since the World Baseball Classic. Cabrera also has tightness in his groin and hip flexor, according to McCosky.

Top 6: Norris matches season-high 8 Ks

Tigers left-handed starter Daniel Norris has a tied a season-high with eight strikeouts and his defensive continues to perform admirably behind him.

The Tigers lead 11-2 after the top of the sixth.

Norris has issued one walk on 92 pitches in six innings. Tonight could mark the first time Norris has recorded a win in back-to-back starts in his career.

In the top of the sixth, Rays SS Tim Beckham lined into an inning-ending double play. He hit a line drive to Tigers 2B Ian Kinsler, who leaped high in the air to make a catch for one out, and then threw to first baseman Alex Avila to end the inning.

Bottom 5: Another 5-run outburst

The good news: Justin Upton's two-RBI single and a two-run error has increased the Tigers lead to 11-2 in the bottom of the fifth.

The bad news: Miguel Cabrera may have exited the game. He went into the tunnel in the Tigers' dugout. Will he return?

Alex Avila started the inning with a single and Cabrera followed with a double down the left-field line.

J.D. Martinez was intentionally walked to load the bases with no outs. From there, Upton hit a two-RBI single.

Rays right-handed starter Erasmo Ramirez exited the game with two outs in the inning. He appeared to be injured when fielding a ground ball off the bat of Alex Presley.

Rays reliever Austin Pruitt entered the game to face James McCann.

With two outs in the inning and runners on second and third, McCann appeared to end the inning with a ground ball to Rays SS Tim Beckham, who threw the ball past first base. Two runs scored on the play.

Next was Jose Iglesias, who hit an RBI single, to give the Tigers a five-run inning for their second straight at-bat.

Upton is 2-for-3 (double) with three RBIs and Avila is 2-for-3 (solo homer).

Top 5: Web gems from Iglesias, Upton

Highlight-reel defensive plays are the theme tonight at Comerica Park as the Tigers lead 6-2 after the top of the fifth inning.

In the fifth, Jose Iglesias made a sterling play with a running, over-the-head basket catch for the second out of the inning to retire Rays RF Steven Souza Jr.

One batter later, Tigers LF Justin Upton made a leaping catch to rob a home run from DH Corey Dickerson.

Tigers starter Daniel Norris has struck out seven and walked one in five innings. His longest start this season is 6 1/3 innings (achieved twice).

Norris has thrown 83 pitches tonight. 

Iglesias started the inning by making a nice play when he charged a ground ball on the infield grass to start a putout.

Bottom 4: Avila ignites 5-run outburst

How many times have you seen it before? A solid play in the field leads to a big hit.

Alex Avila had a putout to save a run from scoring in the top half of the fourth inning, and sure enough, he then delivered to a solo shot in the bottom half to start a five-run Detroit onslaught.

With that, the Tigers lead 6-2 after four innings.

Rays RHP Erasmo Ramirez retired nine straight Tigers batters entering the fourth inning, but he exited the frame with his worst statistical start of the season.

Avila led off the inning when he hit a solo homer to tie the game, and Justin Upton’s RBI double scored Miguel Cabrera (walk) to give the Tigers the lead.

From there, Nicholas Castellanos hit a two-RBI double to score J.D. Martinez (single) and Upton.

James McCann added a sacrifice fly RBI to score Castellanos.

Avila’s homer is his 10th of the season.

Top 4: Rays take the lead

Rays 2B Daniel Robertson (.203 batting average) hit an RBI single to give Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning. The damage could have been worse, but Tigers 1B Alex Avila delivered a heads-up play to prevent a run from scoring.

The inning began when Tigers left-handed starter Daniel Norris issued a leadoff walk to Rays 1B Logan Morrison. From there, Rays CF Mallex Smith and Robertson delivered consecutive singles.

The Rays nearly scored again as Jesus Sucre stood in the batter’s box and Norris made a pickoff attempt to hold Robertson at first base.That's when Smith tried to steal home. But Tigers first baseman Alex Avila alertly threw to home plate toward catcher James McCann, who applied the tag on Smith.

The Rays challenged the play, but the call stood: Out at home.

Norris has seven strikeouts and one walk in four innings. He’s given up five hits and has allowed the leadoff batter to reach base in three of four innings.

Bottom 3: Another quick inning for Ramirez

Rays right-hander Erasmo Ramirez has retired nine straight Tigers batters.

In the bottom of the third, Ramirez retired James McCann (fly out), Jose Iglesias (ground out) and Ian Kinsler (line out). 

Ramirez needed seven pitches to end the second inning and 11 pitches to get out of the third.

The game is tied 1-1.

Top 3: Castellanos error allows Rays to tie it

An error by Tigers third baseman Nicholas Castellanos allowed Rays LF Peter Bourjos to score and tie the game at 1-1 in the top of the third inning.

Bourjos scored on a fielder's choice. Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. hit a ground ball to third. Bourjos darted home on the play, and Castellanos' throw went wide of Tigers catcher James McCann.

It's the 13th error of the season for Castellanos, which is second in the majors and the most among third baseman.

Tigers left-handed starter Daniel Norris has struck out six batters through three innings.

Bourjos belted a one-out triple to right-center field to start the threat.

Norris got out of the inning when he struck out DH Corey Dickerson for the second time of the night and induced a pop out from 3B Evan Longoria.

Norris’ career-high in strikeouts is 11, which he reached last season vs. Minnesota in September.

Bottom 2: 7-pitch inning for Ramirez

Rays right-handed starter Erasmo Ramirez needed seven pitches to retire the Tigers in the bottom of the second.

Tigers LF Justin Upton and 3B Nicholas Castellanos both flied out and CF Alex Presley grounded out on the first pitch he saw.

It's 1-0 Tigers heading to the third.

Top 2: Double play helps Norris

Tiger left-handed starter Daniel Norris gave up a leadoff single, but a double play (strike out, caught stealing) prevented any damage.

Norris has four strikeouts through two innings as the Tigers lead 1-0.

Rays SS Tim Beckham led off the top of the second inning with a single, but he was thrown out by Tigers catcher James McCann. Rays CF Mallex Smith struck out to begin the sequence.

From there, Norris struck out 2B Daniel Robertson to end the inning.

Bottom 1:  Kinsler belts leadoff HR

Tigers 2B Ian Kinsler belted a leadoff homer off Rays starter Erasmo Ramirez for a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.

It's Kinsler's 43rd career leadoff homer to pass former Tiger Curtis Granderson for sixth place in MLB history. He’s one shy of tying Brady Anderson for fifth place.

Ramirez ended the first inning with back-to-back strikeouts delivered to Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez.

Do you remember Ramirez? He is the pitcher who earned the loss in last year’s epic Tigers comeback on June 30, 2016. That’s when the Tigers trailed 7-2 entering the ninth inning, but rallied to win with eight runs in their final at-bat. Ramirez gave up four runs in one-third of an inning that night.

Top 1: Norris strikes out two

Tigers left-handed starter Daniel Norris gave up a leadoff single, but then settled down to retire the side. He struck out two.

Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. started the inning with a leadoff single. It was Souza who belted a game-tying solo homer on Thursday night off Tigers reliever Francisco Rodriguez to draw a smattering of boos from the irate Comerica Park crowd.

But Norris struck out Corey Dickerson — the American League hit leader (88 hits, 38 extra-base hits) — and induced a long foul out from Rays 3B Evan Longoria.

Norris ended the inning when he struck out 1B Logan Morrison.

It's 0-0 heading to the bottom of the first inning.

Norris seeks back-to-back wins

Tigers left-handed starter Daniel Norris (3-4, 4.41 ERA) seeks a winning decision in back-to-back starts for the first time in his career.

In the top of the first, Norris will face Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. (.260), DH Corey Dickerson (.332) and 3B Evan Longoria (.257).

Souza is second in the American League in walks and Dickerson's .332 batting average is third in the AL.

Follow here

The Tigers continue their four-game series with the Rays tonight at Comerica Park (7:10, FSD, 97.1). Follow along here for live updates.

Detroit won the opener 5-3 on Miguel Cabrera's walk-off two-run homer, breaking a homerless slump dating to May 20. The Tigers' victory also snapped a two-game losing streak.

J.D. Martinez, Victor Martinez and Cabrera each had two hits for the Tigers. Justin Wilson (3-2) struck out two in one inning pitched in relief to earn the win.

Rays at Tigers

First pitch: 7:10

TV/radio: FSD/97.1

Pitchers: Tigers, LHP Daniel Norris (3-4, 4.41), Rays, RHP Erasmo Ramirez (3-1, 4.20)

Records: The Tigers are 31-34, tied for third place in the AL Central and 4 games back of the first-place Twins. The Rays are 35-34, in third place in the AL East and 5.5 games behind the first-place Yankees.



1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. Alex Avila, 1B

3. Miguel Cabrera, DH

4. J.D. Martinez, RF

5. Justin Upton, LF

6. Nick Castellanos, 3B

7. Alex Presley, CF

8. James McCann, C

9. Jose Iglesias, SS

Daniel Norris, SP


1. Steven Souza Jr.,  RF

2. Corey Dickerson, DH

3. Evan Longoria, 3B

4. Logan Morrison, 1B

5. Tim Beckham, SS

6. Mallex Smith, CF

7. Daniel Robertson, 2B

8. Jesus Sucre, C

9. Peter Bourjos, LF

Erasmo Ramirez, SP


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