Tigers’ bats awaken, but come up short

Detroit Tigers

Tuesday night’s series opener at Fenway Park began much the way many Tigers games have gone of late, with Detroit weathering an early offensive surge from its opponent. Unlike during their recent slump, however, the Tigers showed a competitive fire during an 11-7 loss against the Red Sox that brought them tantalizingly close to a much-needed victory.

Had just a few situations played out differently, Tuesday’s story might have had a different ending. Let’s take a look at three storylines that contributed to Detroit’s productive night in defeat.

The pitching was hurt early
Before the game’s first pitch, Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said Michael Fulmer’s start “won’t be very long,” but Hinch surely wasn’t banking on his right-hander lasting just two outs and 33 pitches into the night.

The trouble started right away, with a leadoff walk to Enrique Hernández to open the game. Fulmer rebounded by coaxing a weak dribbler out of Alex Verdugo that Fulmer scooped up easily. His ensuing throw to second base, however, sailed high and into center field to put runners on the corners.

Hernández scored on the next play. Three consecutive singles, a pop fly and another single followed, giving Boston a 4-0 lead and ending Fulmer’s night. His relief, Alex Lange, was tagged for three runs in two-thirds of an inning thanks to a pair of home runs. Just like that, the Red Sox were up, 8-2, after three innings and it looked as though it’d be another long night for the Tigers.

The offense came alive
Victor Reyes entered the night in an 0-for-14 slump and Robbie Grossman was 3-for-18 on the current road trip, but neither of those numbers mattered by the end of the night. Reyes put Detroit on the board with an RBI single in the second inning and added another single and a double to mark his 10th career three-hit game and first of the season.

Grossman beat Boston’s defensive shift in the second to plate Reyes, doubled him home in the fifth and collected a third RBI in the sixth on a single that brought the Tigers to within two at 9-7. A pair of walks meant Grossman reached base five times in a game for the first time in his career.

JaCoby Jones had just one hit Tuesday, but it was a big one. Just prior to Grossman’s third knock of the game, Jones’ three-run homer in the sixth left his bat at 104 mph, got the dugout buzzing and, most importantly, gave new life to what was unfolding as a blowout.

Even though the end result was still a loss, Tuesday marked the first time Detroit had scored more than five runs since April 14, a 6-4 win over Astros. It was a welcome positive for a Tigers team that had scored just 14 runs in its past 11 games.

Miggy battled, but came up empty
Miguel Cabrera’s quest to tie Babe Ruth on MLB’s all-time hits list will have to wait another day, as the Tigers slugger finished 0-for-5.

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