Nick Maton bails out Detroit Tigers with 3-run homer for 4-2 win over Milwaukee Brewers

Detroit Free Press

MILWAUKEE — The Detroit Tigers looked like they were about to blow another scoring opportunity in the third inning. The first four batters reached safely but were responsible for two outs.

Eric Haase was thrown out trying to steal second base for the first out, and Riley Greene was thrown out between second base and third base because of a mental mistake for the second out.

Nick Maton bailed out the Tigers’ offense when he hit a three-run home run with two outs in the third inning. The Tigers beat the Milwaukee Brewers, 4-2, in Monday’s series opener at American Family Field.

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The Tigers (8-13) snapped a four-game losing streak, and in one game, the offense scored more runs than it did over the weekend with three runs in three losses against the Baltimore Orioles.

Facing Brewers right-hander Colin Rea, the third inning started with a leadoff walk to Haase. He tried stealing a base for the fourth time in his career and wasn’t successful. Akil Baddoo received a cutter inside the strike zone in a 2-1 count but didn’t swing to protect Haase.

Then, Baddoo and Greene worked back-to-back walks.

On Javier Báez’s ensuing single, Baddoo slammed on the breaks at third base as right fielder Brian Anderson threw the ball to catcher William Contreras. Greene, however, kept running to third base and got caught in a rundown for the second out.

Maton stepped to the plate with runners on the corners and received three straight balls from Rea for a 3-0 count. He fouled the next pitch for a 3-1 count before getting a fifth-pitch fastball.

The heater, which left his bat with a 106.1 mph exit velocity, traveled 390 feet to the upper deck in right field for a three-run home run, putting the Tigers ahead, 3-1.

Maton, who entered the game in an 0-for-21 slump and served as the cleanup hitter, finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs and one strikeout, while Báez — returning from a swollen finger on his left hand — went 2-for-3 with one walk.

Báez increased his batting average to .222 through 20 games.

Eight strikeouts, two homers

Left-hander Matthew Boyd, in his fourth start of the season, allowed two runs on five hits and one walk with eight strikeouts. He gave up solo home runs on fastballs in the first and third innings.

Other than the two homers, Boyd turned in an excellent performance to lead the Tigers through five innings.

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The homers came from Contreras in the first inning and Mike Brosseau in the third inning. Both hitters crushed fastballs to straightaway center field, and both homers traveled 410 feet.

Another thing: Both homers occurred after Boyd struck out the first two batters in the innings. He also struck out the next batters — Anderson in the first and Willy Adames in the third — to avoid further damage.

In the fourth, Boyd loaded the bases with two outs on singles from Contreras, Anderson and Owen Miller. He fell behind 1-0 in the count to Blake Perkins but bounced back by mixing three different pitches for strikes: curveball (called strike), slider (called strike) and fastball (swinging strike).

Boyd issued his only walk in the fifth inning and threw 66 of 87 pitches for strikes. He generated 19 swings and misses with 11 fastballs, two sliders, five changeups and one curveball.

His fastball averaged 92.4 mph.

Bullpen beats Brew Crew

The Tigers added an insurance run in the fifth inning.

Haase opened the inning with a double and advanced to third base on Baddoo’s groundout to the right side of the infield. Greene bounced a grounder to the second baseman, but Haase beat the throw to home plate for a 4-2 advantage.

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After Boyd’s five innings, four relievers slammed the door on the Brewers through the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth innings. The four relievers didn’t allow a hit or a walk and didn’t record a strikeout (until the ninth inning).

The combination of José Cisnero (nine pitches), Tyler Holton (five pitches), Jason Foley (nine pitches) and Alex Lange (14 pitches) worked quickly and delivered the four scoreless innings.

Lange struck out Rowdy Tellez and Joey Wiemer in the ninth and earned his second save of the season.

Contact Evan Petzold at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

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