For eight straight innings, the Detroit Tigers just couldn’t find their groove. Being down 2-1 without any star power, their backs were against the wall until they struck gold. A five-run fifth inning would prove the difference maker to give Detroit the win.
This was an inning of small ball. The first two runs came from an RBI single from Jake Holton, who spent time with the A+ league West Michigan Whitecaps last season.
Colt Keith, another minor leaguer, brought home the next runner on an RBI single which put the Tigers up by two runs.
A sac fly from Luis Garcia brought in another run and during the play, Keith scored on an error. It seemed as though the Red Sox could not get out of the inning.
With the monster inning from Detroit, all the Tigers had to do to end the ballgame was close out the ninth inning on the mound.
Two strikeouts and a game-winning groundout would seal the win for Mason Englert, who recorded his first win of the Spring.
After the game, Manager A.J. Hinch had some words on the impact of the late game performance.
“You trust these guys to make a lot of good decisions, whether they’re young minor-league hitters, or whether they’re established major-league hitters,” Hinch said. “It’s a good outcome when that happens.”
For the Tiger’s starting pitcher Michael Lorenzen, the day got off to a shaky start giving up a leadoff home run to Raimel Tapia. He settled down and wouldn’t give up another run in his short, three-inning stint.
His performance might have been short, however, Lorenzen is happy with his execution after today’s game.
“It’s taxing, but I like the way I handled it today with no walks,” Lorenzen said. “That tells me that I’m a little more conditioned. I was able to execute deeper in counts. The last game, I wasn’t going to get myself to dig deep. Here, I had a little more in the tank, so I was able to make better pitches, even though they were fouling everything off. All the hits that I gave up were executed pitches.”
With this win, the Tigers improved to 11-9 this Spring and the Red Sox add another to the loss column at 9-5.