Leyland was going for baserunners in the ninth inning, rather than power
With the Tigers trailing by two runs in the ninth inning of Wednesday's series finale, and the bottom of the order due up against Astros right-handed reliever Jose Veras, baserunners were the key to starting a potential rally.
For that reason, manager Jim Leyland lifted left fielder Matt Tuiasosopo — who was 3-for-3 in the game — for pinch hitter Don Kelly. Yes, Tuiasosopo is right-handed, and Kelly left-handed, presenting a more advantageous match-up, but it's deeper than that.
"No, I did not (consider letting Tuiasosopo hit). I thought Kelly would be good for that guy, and might be more apt to take a walk. We were taking in that situation. Then hopefully get him and (Brayan) Pena on, and hit (Andy) Dirks for the other kid, for (Avisail) Garcia. I wasn’t going to bunt, I was going to hit. I was going to let Dirks hit," Leyland said.
"If it was just one swing of the bat to win it, or to tie it with one single home run, might be a different case. But in that case, I was looking more to hopefully get a baserunner.
"Pena was taking, Kelly was taking. Pena walked, Omar (Infante) walked."