Detroit, MI – Brennan Boesch capped a three-run seventh inning with a two-run home run and the Detroit Tigers held on for an 8-6 win over the Los Angeles Angels in the opener of a four-game series at Comerica Park.
Delmon Young knocked in two runs, Prince Fielder went 2-for-3 with an RBI single and two runs scored and Quintin Berry added three hits, including an RBI single, and two critical stolen bases in the victory for the Tigers, winners in eight of their last nine games.
"It never feels good when you don't come through, but it makes it all worth it when you do," Boesch said. "You're not always going to come through in big situations, but it feels really special when you do."
Octavio Dotel (3-2) earned the win with an inning and one-third of scoreless relief behind starter Rick Porcello, who allowed five runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 frames.
Torii Hunter finished 4-for-5 with three RBI, while Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo each drove in a run for the Angels, who have dropped three of their past four contests.
LaTroy Hawkins (2-2) suffered the loss after allowing Boesch's go-ahead long ball.
Trailing, 5-4, after six innings, the Tigers took the lead for good with three runs in the seventh. Facing Angels reliever Hisanori Takahashi, Berry ripped a single to right. He then stole second and Fielder was intentionally walked two batters later to put two runners on with one out. Berry then swiped third and came home with the tying run on a sacrifice fly by Young.
Boesch followed and got a fastball up in the zone from Hawkins, which he deposited into the seats in right to give the Tigers a 7-5 lead.
Trumbo roped a changeup into the seats leading off the eighth to pull the Angels within one, but Detroit got the run back in the home half courtesy of a Berry RBI base hit.
Jose Valverde came on in the ninth and induced a groundout from Alberto Callaspo before blowing away Trout for the first two outs. Hunter put down a perfect bunt single to bring up Pujols as the potential tying run, but Valverde got him to fly out, securing his 17th save of the season.
Earlier, Detroit got on the board in its first at-bat by playing some small ball. Austin Jackson led off the frame with a sharp ground ball to short, which Erick Aybar threw away, allowing Jackson to reach safely. The Tigers' offensive catalyst swiped second, went to third on a groundout by Berry and scored when Miguel Cabrera grounded out to short for the 1-0 advantage.
Los Angeles got the run back in the third to tie the game. Aybar was plunked to begin the inning and stole second. He then advanced to third on a groundout by Maicer Izturis, but was cut down at the plate on a fielder's choice by John Hester. Trout followed with a walk to put two runners on and Hunter came through with a double down the line in left, plating Hester from second.
Fielder worked a one-out walk in the Detroit fourth and Young followed with a single. Bosech then reached on a fielder's choice when LA starter Ervin Santana's throw to second sailed into center field, allowing Fielder to score for a 2-1 advantage.
The Angels battled back, though, and plated four runs to take a 5-2 lead.
Izturis started the rally with a double and Hester walked before Trout ripped a run-scoring single to left. Hunter followed and clubbed a double over the head of Jackson in center field, brining home Hester and Trout for a 4-2 game. Hunter then advanced to third when Porcello fired a pickoff attempt into center field and scored on a double by Pujols to cap the outburst.
"I felt good today individually," Hunter said. "I was able to get the ball up from Porcello, he had it really sinking. I was able to capitalize on some of my chances, but in the end, its an 'L'."
Detroit got two runs back in the home half of the inning, cutting the deficit to 5-4. Berry sparked a two-out rally with a bunt single and Cabrera walked before Fielder and Young stroked consecutive RBI base hits.
Santana allowed four runs -- two earned -- on eight hits and two walks over six full frames in the no-decision...Monday marked the first meeting of the season between the teams...The Angels took last year's season series, 4-3 and are 54-32 against the Tigers since the 2002 campaign...Jackson extended his run-scoring streak to 13 games. It is the longest such streak by a Tigers player since Johnny Groth scored a run in 13 straight games for Detroit August 14-26, 1950...Prior to Monday. the Tigers hadn't stolen a base in their last 16 games...Trumbo has five home runs in his last seven games.