Tigers bounce back with 3-2 win over Giants on Haase's two-run homer
With the bases loaded in the third inning and only one out, Rony Garcia was tasked with getting out of danger, and that's exactly what he did by striking out Joc Pederson and forcing Brandon Belt to fly out to deep left field.
That was the first jam the Tigers worked their way out of in a 3-2 win over the Giants in San Francisco on Wednesday, but not their last.
The Giants left a total of 20 runners on base and had the stations loaded again in the seventh inning, but were only able to muster a run after Alex Lange and Michael Fulmer teamed up to again escape significant damage.
"Alex Lange has been really good for us and (he) probably could have got out of it," Tigers manager AJ Hinch said to a pool of reporters postgame. "But Michael's been so good against right-handed hitters and I knew he could throw a lot of sliders to (Evan) Longoria or (Austin) Slater whenever they got up there.
"He's pretty calm under pressure. He doesn't back down. I love his demeanor and him coming in and having a little bit of a leash there to pick where he was going to after the two hitters, and he got the job done."
Garcia ended up tossing five innings, allowing four hits, two walks and just one earned run, a solo shot off the bat of Evan Longoria in the first inning. He also struck out four and walked two.
"He settled in and he started spinning the ball a lot better as the game went along," Hinch said. "It's a tough lineup for him because they can throw a lot of left-handed hitters up there. He's got to gauge where that breaking ball is going to start, where it's going to finish.
"They stayed inside the strike zone for the most part of the two games, he kept challenging them. (We) obviously played some defense behind him and made some plays, but even when we didn't, he came back and threw strikes, which is one of his calling cards."
The Tigers knotted the game at one apiece in the fourth after Javier Báez opened the inning with a triple and Miguel Cabrera brought him home with a sacrifice fly.
Detroit pulled away when Eric Haase launched a two-run home run to left field in the sixth inning that scored Báez and gave the Tigers a 3-1 lead.
"Catch a win and get a hit is something I always say, and when you get the big hit it's even better," Hinch said of Haase. "(I) loved how he handled the game behind the plate (and) he also came up big with the homer when we needed it to separate us a little bit and give us a little breathing room."
In addition to the two runs he scored, Báez also went 2-for-4. In his last ten games, the shortstop is hitting .366 with nine RBIs.
The Tigers have been on the road since June 20, making stops in Boston, Arizona and San Francisco. They got swept by the Red Sox, but won the series against the Diamondbacks and split with the Giants.
"The back of the road trip was really good," Hinch said. "We played fine in Boston, (but) we just got beat by the hotter team. We're playing better, which is good. We're chipping away (and) trying to turn this thing around. ... You're starting to see more players contribute to wins, and that's what you want."
Detroit now heads back home to open a three-game set with the Kansas City Royals on Friday.