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Castellanos carries Tigers with 3 hits, 3 RBIs

Third baseman delivers go-ahead 2-run triple at Colorado
Special to MLB.com

DENVER -- Nicholas Castellanos gave the Tigers everything they needed Monday night with a three-hit, three-RBI performance to pace a 4-3 victory over the Rockies in the opener of a three-game set.

Most of the offense -- and all of the runs -- came in the first three innings, and Castellanos was in the thick of it all. He was 3-for-4, padding the Tigers' early lead with an RBI single to right in the top of the first, plating the second run of the inning.

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DENVER -- Nicholas Castellanos gave the Tigers everything they needed Monday night with a three-hit, three-RBI performance to pace a 4-3 victory over the Rockies in the opener of a three-game set.

Most of the offense -- and all of the runs -- came in the first three innings, and Castellanos was in the thick of it all. He was 3-for-4, padding the Tigers' early lead with an RBI single to right in the top of the first, plating the second run of the inning.

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"He swung the ball well, got some big hits," manager Brad Ausmus said of his third baseman. "He even hit the ball hard when he made [the out]."

The Rockies came back with a three-run second to claim the lead, but after a pair of one-out walks in the third, Castellanos drove a hard liner into the left-field corner for a two-run triple to reclaim the lead for good.

"Today was a good day at the baseball field," Castellanos said. "It was a good baseball game all around. [Starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann] held it down. The bullpen came in and held it down."

Video: DET@COL: Castellanos singles home Upton in the 1st

Ultimately, Castellanos' contributions held up for the Tigers. Even his final at-bat in the eighth was a deep fly to the warning track in right.

"It's kind of a roller-coaster year," Castellanos said. "Production has been good. I'm not too happy with it, because I always expect a lot more from myself.

Castellanos is hitting .248, his lowest batting average in five big league seasons. But his 18 homers already match last season's career high, and his 75 RBIs eclipse his previous high of 73 in 2015.

"He's really produced runs steadily all year," Ausmus said. "His average is a little bit down. It's a little misleading because he's hit the ball hard, especially the first month or so, month and a half. He's a threat out there. He's got the ability to drive runners in. You can't really throw the ball hard enough to throw it by him. He's hitting much better on the off-speed. He's taking balls. He's being more selective on the breaking balls. Behind [Justin] Upton [94 RBIs], he's been our best RBI guy in the lineup."

Castellanos made it three straight hits when he lined a two-out single between first and second in the fifth inning. Second baseman DJ LeMahieu made a great play to stop the ball on a dive, but Castellanos beat his throw by a half-step.

"We're trying to finish strong with all the guys in the clubhouse." Castellanos said.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver.

Detroit Tigers, Nicholas Castellanos