Normally, delivering a game-winning hit to end your team’s three-game losing streak would leave an indelible imprint in the mind of a rookie ballplayer.
During an earlier at-bat, Cameron was taking some swings at the on-deck circle when he heard a familiar voice yelling, ‘You suck! You suck!’
The man giving Cameron the business was none other than his father. Mike, a former major league outfielder. It was totally understandable. Daz’s family was situated in a field-level suite within earshot of the dugout. And how often does a dad get to razz his son during a game on Father’s Day?
“That’s definitely something that will be memorable for sure,” Daz Cameron said. “Look, we keep it really loose around here. It’s pretty cool to be able to experience some of those things.”
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Daz, who hit a home run with his family watching on Saturday, proved to be a cool customer in extra innings after striking out his previous three at-bats. He ripped a 1-2 pitch from Angels closer Raisel Iglesias for a single up the middle, driving in two runs.
“Daz has a short memory,” manager AJ Hinch said. “One thing I’ve noticed about him is he’s pretty much the same version of himself after success and failure. He doesn’t get too high or too low. It’s a great attribute for him to have, and I don’t think he carries a lot of garbage with him to the next time up.”
Cameron, one of the players the Tigers received in the Justin Verlander deal with Houston at the 2017 trade deadline, is still trying to find his footing in the majors. He scored two runs and drove in four over the last three games. At-bats like he had against Iglesias could make him a mainstay in the Tigers’ outfield.
“You never know what other situations are going to come up in the game that you have to lock in for and be able to get the job done somehow, some way for the team,” he said of shaking off the strikeouts.
The challenge of trying to tame Shohei Ohtani produced enough drama for one day in itself. Casey Mize struck out the Angels’ two-way star in his first two at-bats on Sunday with elevated fastballs. Ohtani reached down and crushed a Mize slider to dead center field for a two-run homer to tie the game at 3 in the fifth.
“If you look at it, it’s not a bad pitch,” Mize said. “It caught the bottom of the zone. Definitely, I was trying to bury it and if we bury it, we’ve got a pretty good chance of him swinging over the top.”
Ohtani, who hit four homers in the final three games of the series after winning the opener on the mound on Thursday, fouled off a fastball prior to the home run.
“I didn’t want to go to the well too many times,” Mize said. “I felt he was looking for that.”
Michael Fulmer faced Ohtani in the 10th with a runner on and two out. Fulmer didn’t want to give the hottest hitter in the game anything in the zone and walked him on four pitches. He then struck out Taylor Ward to end the game.
“He was careful with (Ohtani),” Hinch said. “Casey tried to go below the zone and the ball’s hit out of the park. We had other success (against Ohtani) today. We punched him out three times. That’s a dangerous at-bat because Ohtani’s got one thing on his mind, and Michael just wasn’t going to make a mistake.”
The Tigers made plenty of mistakes, both physical and mental, while dropping the first three games of the series. But they returned home with a 4-3 record from their road trip. They swept a three-game series at Kansas City prior to their visit to Anaheim.
“It’s one of the things we preach over and over, is to find a way to have a winning homestand and to win road trips,” Hinch said. “We’re inching toward having those things more consistently.”