Detroit Tigers: Walk-off wins could not have come at a better time
The Detroit Tigers needed these walk-off wins
The Detroit Tigers got off to a 2-9 start this season. They looked awful. They quite honestly looked like a minor league team at times. Then they won the last game in Toronto, where they looked better, but it was overshadowed by the Javier Baez benching incident. Then this weekend, things took a turn for the better for the first time this season.
The Tigers won two games in walk-off fashion against the San Francisco Giants on Friday and Saturday. They overcame yet another blown lead by the bullpen on Friday, then came back from a 6-1 deficit on Saturday. Both games went 11 innings.
Friday's game started off well enough. The Tigers got off to a 4-1 lead as Javier Baez had two hits and two walks just 24 hours after being benched. Joey Wentz gave up a leadoff homer to Thairo Estrada, but that was it. He rebounded very nicely not just from that, but from his previous outing against the Red Sox in which he simply could not find the strike zone.
Mason Englert came in in the eighth inning and allowed a game-tying three-run homer to J.D. Davis on the first pitch he threw. He ended pitching the 2 2/3 innings that followed and didn't allow a run.
After Jose Cisnero allowed a run in the 11th inning, the Tigers were down to their last out in the bottom of the inning when Nick Maton came up to the plate against Giants' flamethrower Camilo Doval. He got ahead in the count 3-0, and then he did this:
Maton got a high fastball from Doval in a 3-0 count and didn't miss it. The man they call "wolfie" hit his third homer in his last four games to give the Tigers the win.
Saturday's game was even more wild. Michael Lorenzen made his Tigers debut and it didn't go very well. He allowed six runs in four innings, including two home runs. The Tigers were down 6-1 after four with their only run coming on a Kerry Carpenter solo shot.
They chipped away and clawed their way back to tie it up, including a 12-pitch at-bats from Baez that ended in a two-run double. He's gone 4-for-8 since the benching in Toronto.
The bullpen rebounded in a big way on Saturday, as they pitched seven shutout innings, including three scoreless from Tyler Holton, who was just called up from Toledo earlier that day.
In the 11th inning, the Tigers had a runner on third with nobody out, and A.J. Hinch opted to have Miguel Cabrera pinch-hit. He got into a 2-2 count against lefty Taylor Rogers and shot a grounder back up the middle to win it.
That marked two straight walk-off wins for the Tigers and three straight wins overall. Sunday's game was questionably postponed due to rain, so they couldn't go for the sweep, but this little winning streak couldn't have come at a better time.
Fans were fed up with this team, and who could blame them? They were embarrassing. The attendance at Friday night's game in which it was 80 degrees and sunny at first pitch reflected that. There were a lot of empty seats. Fans want to see winning baseball again, and we finally saw a little bit of it to end the week.
Will this winning streak mean much long term? Probably not. The team is still not very good. But to see them notch a short little winning streak after the kind of start they had was nice to see nonetheless.