Tigers rookie marks another unusual milestone with first Little League homer

Sometimes, you just have to take the good fortune when it comes.
Detroit Tigers v Los Angeles Angels
Detroit Tigers v Los Angeles Angels / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages

After weathering two losses to the Angels, the Detroit Tigers entered Game 3 looking to avoid their fourth sweep of the season. To Detroit's credit, Game 2 was hard-fought, with Reese Olson turning in another good start for the Tigers with only two earned runs given up over six innings while striking out nine Angels batters. It ended in a walk-off single off the bat of Kevin Pillar.

In Game 3, Casey Mize was on the mound looking to come back from a very weird start against the Phillies; he gave up nine hits and gave up four runs (three earned) and put up a career-high 10 strikeouts in a game the Tigers would eventually go on to lose.

He was doing well through three innings, having given up only two hits and two walks that LA couldn't turn into runs, but the Tigers offense had only given him one run of support thanks to a sac fly from Mark Canha.

Things rolled into the fourth and the Tigers offense started to find their groove. Carson Kelly was at third after a single and a Wenceel Pérez ground-rule double, then Gio Urshela was got the credit for an RBI on a groundout.

Then Justyn-Henry Malloy came up to the plate. He swung at a first-pitch cutter that stayed middle-middle and hit it over 400 feet to center field. Mickey Moniak jumped for it but couldn't make the play, and the ball careened off the wall and into no-man's land. Pérez scored without much trouble, but Malloy huffed and puffed and sprinted his way around third as Moniak sort of lackadaisically chased after the ball.

He got the 'go' sign from third base coach Joey Cora and didn't need to be told twice. He was sliding into home while the Angels gave up on the play at the cutoff man at short, marking Malloy's third home run of the season and first career inside-the-parker.

Justyn Henry-Malloy hits first career inside-the-park home run versus Angels

Tigers commentator Jason Benetti noted that it was the Tigers' first Little League homer in three years. The last one came off the bat of Victor Reyes on August 3, 2021, to claim a win against the Blue Jays.

Malloy isn't known for his speed. As a prospect, it's one of the lowest-ranked parts of his game, and his sprint speed in the majors so far this season have only landed him in the 30th percentile of all players. However, the Tigers took advantage of some bad defense from the Angels and some good coaching at third base; Cora knew that Malloy would be able to make it all the way home without much of an issue, and he was right.

Ryan Kreidler lined out to end the inning, but the Tigers came back up in the fifth to continue the run-scoring with a three-run homer from Kelly to help Detroit avoid a sweep. For Malloy, this is marks another Tigers accomplishment he can add to his resume and another sign that he's ramping up in a very good way for Detroit.