Peterson's 1st hit, RBI lead Tigers to win

April 3rd, 2019

NEW YORK -- The glaring weakness for the Tigers this year has been their offense, which was the worst in the Majors heading into Tuesday’s game. But they picked up enough in the ninth inning to edge the Yankees, 3-1, at Yankee Stadium.

The score was tied at 1 when the Tigers took the lead against Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman in the top of the ninth. After pinch-hitter drew a walk with one out, he scored on ’s double to left-center, the first hit of his Major League career.

Peterson’s parents were in the stands cheering him on.

“That was a pretty good first hit off a guy like [Chapman]. Go-ahead double, too. I will never forget it. That’s for sure,” Peterson said.

Once he reached second base, Peterson bounced around like a pogo stick, he was that excited. In fact, he said he blacked out for a few seconds.

“I didn’t know what to do. All the emotions just came out,” he said. “I was just amped, pumped, got my hit, drove in the go-ahead run. That was awesome.”

Two batters later, the Tigers added to their lead when singled, scoring Peterson.

After the game, Peterson was ambushed by his teammates. 

“They got me pretty good in the shower. I have all sorts of smells and scents going on,” Peterson said. "That’s not the product I put in my hair. That’s all the stuff they are throwing in. I tried to wash it out, but it looks all right, I think.” 

Before the game, manager Ron Gardenhire said that he wanted his position players to get into hitter’s counts more often.

“When you go through these things and are battling a little bit, it seems like you are 0-2 or 1-2,” Gardenhire said. “That sometimes tells you we are being overly aggressive early. The other team has a good sense for that. They are not laying it in there first pitch.”    

Against Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, the Tigers were often behind in the count, and they scored just one run against him, and that came thanks to a lucky bounce.

With two outs in the sixth inning, hit what looked like a routine ground ball to first baseman Luke Voit, but the ball took a weird bounce and went over Voit’s head for a double. The next hitter, , doubled to left-center, scoring Candelario and tying the score at 1.

The Tigers had a chance to score more than one run against Tanaka. In the fourth inning, they had runners on first and second and no outs, but  flied out to left fielder Mike Tauchman, and Peterson hit into a double play to end the threat.

After the at-bat, Peterson said to himself, “My time is going to come. Just keep grinding. That’s kind of what we have been doing.”

Gardenhire plans to remain patient with his young hitters.

“We have young hitters,” he said. “They are going to have some of those at-bats. Hopefully, they will learn from them. There is going to be a time where they are going to be good in those situations consistently. As a manager, you just sit back, get another cup of coffee and watch them go again. That’s all I can do.”

Right-hander did all he could to keep the Tigers in the game. He was solid for 6 2/3 innings, striking out six and allowing one run on six hits in a no-decision.

"He's got good stuff. He's able to work the ball down in the zone, work the corners and just not really give up any hard-hit balls,” Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge said about Zimmermann. “He was able to keep us off balance all night. When you can do that and get mis-hits, you're going to be in a good position."

pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning (with a hit batsman who was erased on his unassisted double play) for the win, and notched the save. The veteran has now saved all three of Detroit's wins, and he earned this one with a 10-pitch (eight strikes) inning against New York's 5-7 hitters.