Detroit — In a way, the play typified the Tigers' wacky 7-4 win over the Reds on Wednesday at Comerica Park.
Jim Adduci, who hit a 424-foot home run to right field in the fourth inning, was trying to score from first on a double by Jose Iglesias in the second inning. Truth be told, third base coach Dave Clark may have been overly aggressive sending Adduci, since Reds left fielder Phillip Ervin had already picked up the ball in the left field corner.
An "aggressive sin," manager Ron Gardenhire called it.
"Yeah, so I was looking at Clarkie the whole time," Adduci said. "Then I was like, 'Oh, man, I better hit the base.' I was so busy watching him, I wasn't sure where the base was.'"
He hit the base with a late lunge that threw him off-balance. He stumbled but didn't fall. Fortunately for him and the Tigers, Ervin missed the first cut-off man and third baseman Eugenio Suarez's throw was errant.
"It was entertaining," Adduci said with a smile. "I'm an entertainer."
This game was wildly entertaining — unless you managed one of the teams.
"It was supposed to be easy," Gardenhire said.
The Tigers were cruising along into the seventh inning. Up 6-0, they got through the middle innings with relievers Drew VerHagen (three innings) and Daniel Stumpf (one) putting up zeros in relief of starter Mike Fiers.
Fiers took a liner (hit with an exit velocity of 91 mph) off his left shin in the second inning. He got through the second but had to leave the game.
"Nothing is broken, so it's not too bad — just a bruise," Fiers said. "But it kind of messed up my mechanics. I wasn't throwing the same. I was trying to land shorter and the training staff and coaching staff saw that.
"They didn't want to risk shoulder and arm injury over this."
Enter Alex Wilson, who had allowed just one run in his previous 11 innings. He faced five batters in the seventh and didn’t get any of them out. Four straight singles and a two-run double by former Tigers farmhand Curt Casali halved the lead in a hurry.
The scramble was on.
Louis Coleman entered and gave up a run-scoring single to Billy Hamilton to make it 6-4. But the Reds threw the Tigers a lifeline.
With runners on first and third, Reds leadoff hitter Jose Peraza grounded one back to Coleman, who looked Casali back to third and threw Peraza out at first. Casali broke for home and first baseman Ronny Rodriguez fired a seed to home plate. Casali was out on a quick tag by catcher John Hicks.
"The play was made by Coleman, by checking the runner and freezing him before getting the out at first," Gardenhire said. "Then Ronny was really quick around the bag there and made a great throw."
They escaped that inning with a two-run lead, and another heads-up defensive play bailed them out in the eighth.
How about a rare 8-6 fielder's choice to add to the oddness of this one?
Reliever Joe Jimenez walked Joey Votto to start the inning. Suarez followed with a bloop that fell in front of JaCoby Jones in short left center. Votto was hung up between first and second base and Jones made a quick jump throw to second — barely forcing Votto on a deft stretch by shortstop Iglesias, who contributed two hits and three RBIs.
"He did the deke, too," Gardenhire said of Jones. "He acted like he was going to catch the ball the way outfielders are taught to do — make it look like you have a beat on it. Votto is a really good base runner and he got hung up."
Jones, a former shortstop, reverted to his old infield instincts with the jump throw.
"That's what I was thinking when I threw it," said Jones, who plated an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth with a two-out single. "I knew once it hit the ground that Votto was halfway there because I peeked. I just tried to get rid of it quick."
Earlier in the game, Clark, who is also the outfield coach, had lectured Jones against throwing off his back foot, which he did in the seventh on a ball hit in the gap.
"Clarkie said, 'No, set your feet. You've got time. You don't want to cause an error there,'" Jones said. "I told him I was just trying to get it in quick. Then the next inning, a play happened like that and I got the guy out.
"Clarkie said, 'That's when you want to do it.'"
Aesthetically, this game might not be a case study for little league teams. But it was, as Adduci said, entertaining.