Tigers’ Maton hits 3-run homer to beat Brewers, ends 4-game skid

Detroit News

Milwaukee – Manager AJ Hinch’s decision to move Nick Maton into the cleanup spot seemed curious, especially since Maton hadn’t got a hit in his last 22 at-bats and was 1 for his last 25.

“He’s a really good hitter who can do a ton of damage,” Hinch said before the game. “Nothing is going to shake him.”

The skipper knows best. First Maton broke the slump with a bunt single in the first inning and then in the third, after the Tigers very nearly ran themselves out of a big inning, whacked a 3-1 fastball into the right-field seats, the three-run home run sending the Tigers to a 4-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers, snapping their four-game losing streak.

Before Maton’s blast, though, there was some negative juju in the air at American Family Field.

Brewers starter Colin Rea walked three batters in the third inning and two of them were thrown out on dubious base running plays by the Tigers. First Eric Haase, who had been 3 for 3 in stolen base attempts in his career, was caught stealing on a play where the batter, Akil Baddoo, took a center-cut fastball on a 2-1 count.

He might have missed a sign there, leaving Haase out to dry.

Worse, though, was Riley Greene getting thrown out at third with Baddoo standing on third base.

With Baddoo on second and Greene on first, Javier Báez singled to right field. Baddoo was held at third base but Greene, when he saw the throw from the outfield go over the cut-off man, sprinted for third base thinking Baddoo had scored.

He was out in a rundown for the second out of the inning.

Maton, though, vaporized the bad juju with his fourth home run of the season.

Tigers’ lefty starter Matthew Boyd gave two of those runs back on solo home runs, but he struck out eight in five solid innings. His best work came in the fourth inning when he stranded the bases loaded, getting Joey Wiemer to fly to shallow center and striking out Blake Perkins.

Boyd threw first-pitch strikes to 18 of 21 batters and got 19 swinging strikes (11 with his four-seamer) and 16 called strikes. He stole first-pitch strikes six times with his curveball.

The home runs, by William Contreras in the first and Oakland University’s Mike Brosseau in the third, came on two-strike fastballs.

Haase put his wheels to work again in the fifth inning and created a run. He led off the inning with a hustle double on a line drive to left field that bounced a few feet away from diving left fielder Perkins.

Haase went to third on a ground out by Baddoo and then, with a nifty slide around catcher Contreras, scored on a hard ground ball to second base by Greene.

The Tigers’ bullpen made the two-run lead stand up. Jose Cisnero, Tyler Holton and Jason Foley got eight straight outs, seven on ground balls. Holton needed only five pitches to get three ground outs in the seventh.

Alex Lange got the ninth and the Brewers sent up three of their big-boppers off the bench. He got Christian Yelich to fly to right (good running catch by Matt Vierling). He fell behind 3-0 to Rowdy Tellez and came back to strike him out chasing a breaking ball. Then he locked it down striking out Jesse Winker for his second save.


Twitter: @cmccosky

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