What a difference a Luke Hochevar makes. The Tigers’ slumbering offense appeared to wake up in their weekend series in the Bronx, plating 15 runs in the three-game series after scoring just 19 in the previous seven. It looks like it may have carried over into the Tigers’ game against the Kansas City Royals.
The Tigers touched up Kansas City starter Luke Hochevar for five early runs, and never looked back, as they cruised to a 9-3 victory. The five runs were the most the Tigers have scored in an inning this season.
Leadoff man Austin Jackson went 4-for-5 with two RBI, raising his batting average to a team leading .314. Miguel Cabrera also provided two hits and an RBI. At one point during the first inning, the subsequent three batters (after Brennan Boesch’s two-pitch at bat) swung at the first pitch—and were rewarded with a base hit. The Tigers tacked on three runs in the third and one more in the fourth, but maybe one of the most important stories to come out of this game was Rick Porcello’s stellar start.
Porcello, who started pitching from the windup in order to slow his delivery and keep his pitches down, gave the Tigers a strong outing. Porcello went eight innings and gave up three runs on seven hits; he also struck out three and walked none.
Also encouraging was Porcello’s ability to maintain velocity throughout the game:
As well as the movement on his pitches:
The Tigers also flashed the leather, as Prince Fielder and Don Kelly both turned in stellar defensive plays. Then there was Brennan Boesch:
Andy Dirks had to leave the game in the fourth inning due to tightening of his hamstring and is listed as day-to-day. Dirks said his being pulled from the game was more of a cautionary move, though Leyland seemed a bit more concerned. Brad Eldred pinch-ran for Dirks and stayed in the game as the team’s DH.
Victor Martinez, who was injured during the offseason, visited the team and hung out in the dugout for the game. It was previously thought Martinez would be lost for the season due to reconstructive knee surgery, but he ended up not needing the second, more serious operation and hopes to be back in a Tigers uniform in September. Martinez’ presence was certainly felt during the game—and after, in the Tigers’ victorious post-game music selections.