Through Matthew Boyd’s first 10 starts for the Detroit Tigers, the left-hander notorious for getting beat by the home-run ball had only allowed three blasts this season. Against the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday, Boyd matched that total before the third inning ended.
But Boyd was in luck.
The Tigers (23-32) scored six times in the second inning en route to an 10-7 win over the Brewers to split the two-game series at American Family Field in Milwaukee. Detroit has won four of its past five games. The teams combined for nine home runs, four by the Tigers.
Eric Haase delivered two of those home runs, thanks to solo shots in the second and third innings, while Jonathan Schoop homered in the second and sixth innings.
Miguel Cabrera left the game as a precautionary measure in the sixth inning with left groin tightness.
Manager AJ Hinch turned to lefty reliever Derek Holland to get the Tigers through the sixth and seventh innings unscathed. He retired all six batters he faced, recording four strikeouts. Left-hander Tyler Alexander allowed one run in the eighth inning, and lefty Gregory Soto allowed a home run to Luis Urias in the bottom of the ninth but secured the victory.
The Tigers added two runs in the ninth inning on Willi Castro’s sacrifice fly and Nomar Mazara’s RBI double. For the first time this season, the Tigers scored 10 runs in a game, on 13 hits and seven walks.
Entering the second inning behind by one run, the Tigers evened the score with Haase’s home run to left field on an 0-2 slider. Willi Castro singled up the middle and, with two outs, Robbie Grossman and Jeimer Candelario drew consecutive walks to load the bases.
Cabrera found a fastball up and away from Brewers starter Eric Lauer. He drove the ball to the right-center field gap to score Castro, Grossman and Candelario for a 4-1 lead. Schoop, the next batter, crushed a two-run home run for a 6-1 lead.
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Cabrera’s double — just his second across 38 games in 2021 — tied Brewers Hall of Famer Robin Yount for 21st on the MLB all-time doubles leaderboard with 583 in his 19-year career. He also became the eighth player to reach 400 doubles while playing in a Tigers uniform.
The other seven players: Ty Cobb (665 doubles), Charlie Gehringer (574), Harry Heilmann (499), Al Kaline (498), Lou Whitaker (420), Alan Trammell (412) and Sam Crawford (405). The 2021 season is Cabrera’s 14th campaign with the Tigers.
Cabrera went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, raising his batting average to .193.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell sent Lauer back out to the mound for the third inning, and Haase made him pay for that decision. He crushed his second home run — 407 feet to straightaway center field — for a 7-2 lead.
Haase now has two multi-homer games in 15 games this year. (He blasted two home runs May 17 against the Seattle Mariners.)
But this time, there was some history involved. Since 1961, Haase is the third Tiger to lead off back-to-back innings with a home run. (The others were Willie Horton on Sept. 11, 1968, and Chad Curtis on May 28, 1995.)
In his third at-bat, Haase took a two-out walk against Brewers reliever Adrian Houser in the fourth inning to load the bases, but Victor Reyes grounded out. The Tigers also stranded two runners in scoring position in the first inning. Haase finished 2-for-3 with two walks and two RBIs.
Schoop added a solo home run in the sixth inning off Brewers reliever Adrian Houser, giving the Tigers an 8-5 lead.
It was Schoop’s fourth homer in the past six games, seventh homer this season and 14th multi-homer game in his nine-year, 898-game MLB career. He finished 3-for-5 with three RBIs.
Home runs hurt Boyd
Without help from the bats, Boyd would have been doomed by the long ball. Despite getting a five-run lead, he couldn’t make it through five innings to qualify for the win.
He struggled to command his pitches and, as a result, got crushed for three home runs. The first came from leadoff hitter Kolton Wong in the first inning for a 1-0 Brewers lead. The next was a solo shot from Tyrone Taylor in the second inning.
Finally, Wong smoked a first-pitch slider for his second homer of the game in the third. In the fifth inning, Boyd kept Wong from a three-home run performance by getting him to pop out.
Taylor added his second home run in the eighth inning against Alexander, giving four players — Haase, Schoop, Wong and Taylor — two homers in Tuesday’s game. Five of Milwaukee’s seven hits were home runs.
Since the Tigers were playing in a National League ballpark, Boyd earned three plate appearances. Even as his pitch count was climbing near 80 pitches, Hinch sent his starting pitcher to the batter’s box in the fifth inning.
Boyd drew a one-out walk after an eight-pitch battle with Houser. He became the first Detroit pitcher to walk since lefty Daniel Norris against the Atlanta Braves on Sept. 30, 2016. In the second inning, Brewers left fielder Christian Yelich robbed Boyd of a single with a sliding catch.
He was chased with two outs in the fifth inning, as Avisail Garcia doubled on a line drive to score Yelich. Hinch replaced Boyd with Joe Jimenez, who allowed another runner to reach on a hit-by-pitch but struck out Taylor with an elevated fastball to get out of the jam.
Boyd allowed five runs on five hits and three walks across 4⅔ innings, with four strikeouts. He threw 55 of 95 pitches for strikes. Entering Tuesday, Boyd had thrown 69% of 884 pitches for strikes this season. But against the Brewers, just 58% of 95 pitches went for strikes.
Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.