Detroit — The Tigers were in the mud, offensively, in all categories as they got ready for the Yankees and Friday’s series opener.
They had three home runs, total, in their first 12 games. They had no starter batting more than .295, with three beneath .200.
They followed with two home runs and a dozen hits in a game they lost, 8-6, but not because the offense withered.
The Tigers scored five times in the seventh and eighth innings and agreed that swinging when you’re not shivering was probably part of Friday’s story.
“Good weather today,” said Jeimer Candelario, who ripped an eighth-inning pitch against Dellin Betances over the scoreboard in deep right-center field for his first homer of 2018. “I hit it pretty well.”
James McCann, who had been having a miserable time at the plate, had a 430-foot homer into the shrubbery in center field, a 400-foot sacrifice fly, and a scorched RBI single.
Miguel Cabrera had two singles, as did Nick Castellanos. Victor Martinez added a pair of doubles, scored a run, and drove in another. Jose Iglesias, who was batting .057 earlier Friday, added a double and a single and began showing a heartbeat as his average rose to .103.
“Some nice swings,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We finally got outside and got some early batting practice. We’ve been sitting in cages.”
On the plus side, the Tigers could look Friday at three innings thrown by Buck Farmer, Drew VerHagen, and Shane Greene: no runs, one hit, zero walks, four strikeouts.
On the sour side, there was Alex Wilson’s troubling shift in the eighth: one-third of an inning, two hits, a walk, a hit batter, and two earned runs. Wilson’s ERA is 7.00.
Gardenhire afterward brushed off any serious worries about Wilson, who has had his early issues during a miserably cold spring that the manager says has made evaluating anyone, pitchers or hitters, futile.