Injury-hampered Tigers keep hitting, winning

Detroit Tigers

DETROIT — The Tigers keep taking hits to their lineup with injuries. But they keep on hitting. On Tuesday, they batted around in a five-run fifth inning to pull away in an 8-3 win over the Brewers at Comerica Park.
The win, combined with a Yankees loss to the Blue

DETROIT — The Tigers keep taking hits to their lineup with injuries. But they keep on hitting. On Tuesday, they batted around in a five-run fifth inning to pull away in an 8-3 win over the Brewers at Comerica Park.

The win, combined with a Yankees loss to the Blue Jays, moved the Tigers to within a game of the eighth and final American League playoff spot this season. They’re hanging in despite a makeshift lineup that potentially lost Jonathan Schoop on Tuesday with a right wrist contusion suffered on a hit-by-pitch.

Box score

“We are competing. We are competing very good and very hard,” manager Ron Gardenhire said before the game. “It’s a fun team to watch — and I’m sure at times it can be frustrating — but we’re competing. We’re doing things that we haven’t been able to get done the last couple years, and normally it’s just one more hit away or one more good pitch away.”

On Tuesday, it wasn’t that close. As Jeimer Candelario hit first base on his two-run single in the decisive fifth, he was noticeably pumped. The Brewers had walked Miguel Cabrera on four pitches with first base open and two outs to get to Candelario in the cleanup spot, and he took notice. Three batters later, Candelario nearly ran over Cabrera to score from second base on Jorge Bonfacio’s two-run single.

Two innings and another Cabrera walk later, Candelario took a moment to watch his two-run homer carry 410 feet to left for an eight-run lead. While Cabrera became the 10th player in franchise history to score 1,000 runs as a Tiger, Candelario put up a four-RBI night, accounting for half of Detroit’s offense and continuing his breakout season.

Behind Candelario, rookie shortstop Willi Castro — who has surprisingly settled into the fifth spot in Detroit’s lineup after opening the season at the alternate training site in Toledo, Ohio — opened the scoring with a two-out single in the fourth inning. An inning later, his speed beat out an infield single to set up Bonifacio’s single in the defining fifth.

Starter Spencer Turnbull (4-2) rolled through six scoreless innings for his fourth victory of the year. He needed just eight starts to surpass his win total from 30 starts last season.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck’s Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason.

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