Happy Father’s Day! Detroit Tigers beat Minnesota Twins on walk-off sac fly


Jun 15, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers players celebrate after the game against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Detroit won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers used a big Minnesota Twins defensive miscue to win in walk-off fashion Father’s Day afternoon at Comerica Park. The 4-3 win clinched just the second series victory for the Tigers since the now infamous 27-12 start to the 2014 season.

With former Tiger Casey Fein pitching, and the score tied at three, Torii Hunter led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a hit into left field, slipping just between Danny Santana and Eduardo Escobar. Miguel Cabrera, hitting .500 against Fein in his career, hit a laser shot that Escobar caught at the top of his reach or it would have went into the gap for the possible game-winning hit.

Victor Martinez then stepped to the plate and hit a monster shot to deep right field. It appeared to have home run distance, but the strong breeze at Comerica Park knocked it down and kept it in the park. Right fielder Oswaldo Arcia misjudged the ball and it popped out of his glove, allowing Hunter to advance to third. J.D. Martinez then lofted a mid-range fly ball to center field. Torii tagged and scored as Sam Fuld‘s throw went harmlessly wide.

Jun 15, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder J.D. Martinez (28) is picked up by third baseman Nick Castellanos (right) and starting pitcher Justin Verlander (left) after he hits a game winning sacrifice fly in the ninth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Detroit won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Nathan picked up his third win on the season after pitching a scoreless 9th. That’s seemingly the best you can ask for from the Tigers’ closer these days as he is going through the slump of all slumps. Nearly everything was hit hard in that inning. Miggy made a nice play to stop Fuld from leading off with a single. Escobar singled, Santana lined out sharply to Ian Kinsler, and then Joe Mauer hit a line drive base hit to center. Brian Dozier hit a pop fly to Kinsler to end the inning.

Rick Porcello pitched very well for the Tigers, really only getting into one jam in the entire game. That jam cost him a chance at picking up the victory. The Tigers opened the scoring when another misplay in right field by Arcia off the bat of V-Mart allowed Kinsler to score. One inning later, Nick Castellanos hit a sac fly to bring in the second run.

That’s where it stayed until the sixth inning when Porcello ran into trouble, allowing three runs. In fairness, the Tigers should have left that inning tied at two, but Alex Avila couldn’t handle J.D. Martinez’s relay from left. If he could have made the play cleanly, it would have ended the inning at 2-2. Instead the Twins grabbed a one-run lead.

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The Tigers scored in their half of the sixth when Castellanos brought home V-Mart to tie the score at three.

Porcello’s final line was seven innings pitched, three runs on five hits allowed with four strikeouts and three walks. Joba Chamberlain walked a batter, but otherwise pitched a clean eighth inning.

The Tigers will welcome in the red-hot, second-place Kansas City Royals for four games beginning Monday night. The series was originally slated to be a three-game series with both teams having Thursday off, but it’s now four games because of the postponement in the first series of the season.