NEW YORK -- One would never know that the Tigers were one of the worst-hitting teams in the Major Leagues entering Friday’s action. They found themselves in a slugfest at Citi Field and edged the Mets, 9-8, to earn their first victory since May 12.
The Tigers had an idea it could be a high-scoring affair. During batting practice, the ball was flying out of the park. It stayed that way throughout the game.
“We knew we needed to come and keep playing, play for each other and grind,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “It all happened tonight, which was a big win, and we needed it.”
One thing you have to say about a team managed by Gardenhire: it doesn’t give up, and the Tigers showed it. The top of the seventh proved to be key for Detroit. Down 7-6, the club rallied to score three runs against reliever Drew Gagnon.
“I was trying to get a pitch to come over the plate. I put a good swing on it. [I think] it was a changeup up and in. … I kept my eyes on it and put a good swing on it,” Jones said.
Pinch-hitter Brandon Dixon followed and singled to center field, scoring Jones.
Dixon’s hit turned out to be the game-winner, after the Mets added a late homer, but he felt Jones’ hit had more of an impact on the team.
“JaCoby cleared the bases before that. He kind of got the whole thing going,” Dixon said. “It’s a big win for us. We had to earn it. The Mets hit the ball well. We hit the ball well. To put something together like that and get a win like that, it feels good.”
Jones was happy to get the losing streak off the team’s shoulders.
“Anytime you go through a rough stretch like that, it’s tough,” Jones said of the Tigers, who lost six straight before Sunday's suspended game vs. the A's and then three consecutive after that. … “We’ve been grinding, losing close games. To have a tough game tonight like that and come away with a W, that’s huge for us.”
“I don’t know how many days [it was] since we shook hands,” Gardenhire said. “It was a very exciting baseball game. It went back and forth. We finally got it to the last two guys in the bullpen. They did their thing. There were a lot of things that happened. We needed it. We talked about that for a long time. It was a nice win for [our] ballclub.”