DETROIT -- One night after the Tigers pulled out a win with a walk-off homer after a back-and-forth battle with the Rays, Detroit needed no such dramatics for its second consecutive win. Ian Kinsler and Alex Avila homered, and Nicholas Castellanos piled up four RBIs as the Tigers cruised to
DETROIT -- One night after the Tigers pulled out a win with a walk-off homer after a back-and-forth battle with the Rays, Detroit needed no such dramatics for its second consecutive win. Ian Kinsler and Alex Avila homered, and Nicholas Castellanos piled up four RBIs as the Tigers cruised to a 13-4 win over Tampa Bay on Friday at Comerica Park.
Even without Victor Martinez, who went on the 10-day disabled list earlier Friday with an irregular heartbeat, the Tigers offense roughed up Rays starter Erasmo Ramirez (3-2), whose ERA rose from 4.20 to 5.17 in just 4 2/3 innings. Aside from Kinsler's 43rd career leadoff homer, the bulk of the damage fell in the fourth and fifth innings.
"The only problem is [that] it's been happening lately," said Ramirez, who has a 10.06 ERA his past three starts. "So I just have to stop worrying about it and don't get that into my mind too much. Just go in and work."
A baker's dozen worth of run support was plenty for Detroit starter Daniel Norris (4-4), who struck out seven of the first 17 batters he faced on his way to six quality innings and his second consecutive win.
"We've got good hitters," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "We've been a little quiet the last few days, and I think when you've got a good-hitting team, you're going to hit well at times."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Avila ignites Tigers' offense: The Tigers sent all nine batters to the plate in the fourth and fifth innings, combining for 10 runs on nine hits in the span. But the one crushing hit in the bunch was Avila's 10th home run of the season, an opposite-field loft over the bullpens that began a run of six consecutive Tigers reaching base safely in the fourth. This is the first time Avila has hit 10 or more homers in a season since 2014.
"I think health is a big component of it," Ausmus said, of Avila's resurgence. "I think he's a little bit more aggressive in the strike zone, and I think he's using the whole field more."
Detroit's defensive gems: While the Tigers' offensive outburst isn't altogether surprising, the defensive display they put up to protect that lead was arguably stunning, even if it came from the best defenders on the team. Jose Iglesias ran into left field to make an over-the-shoulder grab on Steven Souza Jr.'s fly ball in the fifth. Four pitches later, Justin Upton robbed Corey Dickerson of a home run at the left-center-field fence. In the sixth inning, Kinsler made a leaping snare of Timothy Beckham's liner to start an inning-ending double play.
"I believe that defense turned to offense," Iglesias said. "That was a great game."
• Rays eager to turn page after loss
"I didn't have to keep fixing it."
-- Norris, on the difference he felt on the mound with his recent haircut
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Kinsler's 43rd career leadoff home run moved him into sixth place by himself on the MLB all-time list, breaking his tie with former Tiger Curtis Granderson. Kinsler's next leadoff homer will tie him with Brady Anderson for fifth. Rickey Henderson is the all-time leader with 81.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
With runners on the corners in the fourth, Norris made a pickoff throw to first base and Mallex Smith took off from third in an attempt to steal home. Avila made a quick throw to catcher James McCann and Smith was called out on the play. The Rays challenged the call, but it was confirmed after review.
"There's going to be decisions like that that Mallex is going to make," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "We're aware he's going to try to impact us with his speed. If you're willing to allow him to do it, there's going to be times where he's going to get caught."
Rays: Chris Archer (4-4, 3.80) will start for the Rays on Saturday at 4:10 p.m. EDT in game three of a four-game series in Detroit. Archer, who earned a no-decision against Detroit on April 19, has 77 strikeouts in his past eight starts (53 innings).
Tigers:Michael Fulmer (6-4, 3.40) will face the Rays in a return to the Tigers rotation after having his spot skipped due to right shoulder bursitis. He'll try to avenge an April 18 loss at Tropicana Field and reverse a downward trend in June, having allowed 10 runs on 16 hits over two starts this month.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.
Jordan Horrobin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit who covered the Rays on Friday.