Detroit – It’s getting to the point Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire isn’t surprised by any of this.
There just isn’t any quit in these Tigers.
Fall down, get back up. And that’s exactly what they did Monday night, salvaging a split of the day-night doubleheader against the powerful New York Yankees with a 4-2 victory.
The Yankees (38-18) won the afternoon opener 7-4. But behind the pitching of Mike Fiers and a stingy bullpen, and timely hitting, the Tigers (29-32) ended a long day on a positive note.
“They bring it every day,” Gardenhire said of his team. “They come to the ballpark, they’re fired up in the dugout, they get beat and in the first game and they got back out in the second game and played.
“They don’t give up. They’re in every game, and that’s what baseball teams should be, you should never think you’re out of it.
“I like the way they’re playing.”
The Tigers were 8-4 on this homestand, flying to Boston after Monday’s long day of baseball.
“This team is a lot of fun,” catcher James McCann said. “Being in the clubhouse with these guys, there’s great team chemistry. With the teams we played on his homestand, coming out 8-4, really it doesn’t matter who we play, we’re pretty pleased with that.”
Fiers earned his fifth victory, Leonys Martin had two hits and scored twice, and the bullpen was spotless, all helping the Tigers.
Fiers gave the Tigers another admirable start, and the bullpen — Louis Coleman, Joe Jimenez and Shane Greene — blanked the Yankees over the final three innings.
The bullpen struck out 8 of the 13 hitters it faced.
“Coleman, Jimenez, those guys have been real good getting the ball to Greenie,” Gardenhire said. “Coleman came in and got four big outs, that was a huge part of the ballgame.”
Fiers and the bullpen struck out slugger Aaron Judge five times in the second game — ending a day the Tigers fanned Judge eight of nine at bats.
Fiers went 5.2 innings and struck out a season-high six hitters, while throwing 100 pitches against the powerful Yankees lineup.
“You just have to be careful, they have so many good hitters,” Gardenhire said. “A veteran pitcher like that knows how to work around it and get them to chase a little bit.
“Fiers did a nice job of keeping us in the ballgame and giving us a great opportunity, and our bullpen came in and got some real big outs.”
The Tigers got a badly needed insurance run in the seventh inning when Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez lined consecutive doubles, Martinez's second hit of the game giving the Tigers a 4-2 lead.
The Tigers broke a 1-1 tie with a pair of runs in the fourth inning against starting pitcher Domingo German (0-4).
Martin started the rally, as he did earlier in the game, with his second hit, a single.
James McCann quickly broke the tie with a long double to right-center field, Martin scampering home to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
After two outs, and McCann still at second, Jeimer Candelario lifted a fly ball down the line in left field.
Three Yankees ran toward the spot, but none could gather it. McCann easily raced home, making it 3-1, on Candelario’s RBI double.
The Tigers opened the scoring in the second inning.
Martin led off with a double, looping a hit to left-center field, then racing to second base and beating the late throw.
Martin advanced to third on a passed ball, then scored on a sacrifice fly to deep right-field by Ronny Rodriguez (first career RBI).