DETROIT -- The Tigers fans who stayed to the bitter end of Tuesday's 13-4 loss to the Yankees were looking for anything to cheer before they headed home. They had seen an opposite-field home run from Nicholas Castellanos, but little else.With two outs in the ninth inning, those fans were
DETROIT -- The Tigers fans who stayed to the bitter end of Tuesday's 13-4 loss to the Yankees were looking for anything to cheer before they headed home. They had seen an opposite-field home run from Nicholas Castellanos, but little else.
With two outs in the ninth inning, those fans were on their feet to head out, not to cheer, when Castellanos hit a sinking line drive to center field. Jacoby Ellsbury, who entered the game as a late-inning replacement with the game well in hand, tried to charge in from right-center, hoping to end the game with a shoestring grab.
The ball didn't skip past Ellsbury so much as he came too far in, not far enough over, and missed it. And as Castellanos took off, the crowd perked up.
"Once he gets going, he actually moves very well," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.
Once third-base coach Dave Clark waved Castellanos home, the remaining crowd was roaring. The third baseman slid home to the largest ovation the Tigers received all night.
Castellanos already has the American League lead in the triples. He now has an inside-the-park home run to his credit, the first by a Tiger since James McCann's mad dash at Minnesota's Target Field on April 25, 2015. Castellanos became the first player to hit an inside-the-park homer at Comerica Park since Kansas City's Lorenzo Cain did it off Justin Verlander on Sept. 8, 2014.
According to Statcast™, Castellanos rounded the bases in 15.78 seconds. It's the 13th-fastest trip around the bases in the Majors this year, but it's not the slowest inside-the-park home run. It's also faster than McCann, whose 2015 inside-the-park trip took 16.51 seconds.
Add in his seventh-inning shot off Masahiro Tanaka, and Castellanos became the first Tiger to homer over the fence and inside the park in the same game since Carlos Guillen did it at home against the Royals on May 31, 2004.
"You don't see inside-the-park home runs very often," Ausmus said, "so it added to the entertainment."
Castellanos is now at 18 home runs for the season, tying his career high from last year. At 71 RBIs, he's two away from his career best set in 2015. With 38 games left, he has a good chance to become the first Tiger with a 20-homer, 10-triple season since Curtis Granderson did it in 2007 and '08.
Castellanos wasn't around to comment after the game. But as an arbitration-eligible player, two years away from free agency, those stats are particularly meaningful.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.