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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

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."

Veras actually loaded the bases by hitting Torii Hunter on the wrist, but got Miguel Cabrera to fly out to deep right-center field to end the threat. 

Loading up on hitters who would get on base and extend the inning worked, but Cabrera just didn't get quite enough of the ball to get them all in, and the Tigers lost, 7-5.


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