Tigers fans have complained about the bottom half of the line-up all year and for good reason. The numbers five through nine hitters have batted a remarkably weak .245/.307/.367 for the season. That's five spots in the lineup with .674 OPS!. That helps to explain why a team with three of the ten best hitters in the American League - Austin Jackson, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder - is only seventh in the league in runs scored.
Tonight, the weaker half came through with two late rallies to overcome a 3-0 deficit and all the runs came after two were out. The much maligned Delmon Young doubled home second baseman Omar Infante with two outs in the sixth for the Tigers first run. That was one of three hits on the night for Young. Right fielder Andy Dirks followed with a single which made the score 3-2 and sent Angels starter Dan Haren to the showers.
In the eighth inning, the bottom four hitters in the order pelted the Angels bullpen for four consecutive hits with two outs for three runs to give Detroit a 5-3 lead. The biggest blow was a two-run double ripped down the left field line by shortstop Jhonny Peralta giving them the lead. Dirks, catcher Alex Avila and third baseman Jeff Baker each contributed singles with Avila getting the other RBI.
The Tigers had fallen behind 3-0 early thanks mostly to three errors which led to two earned runs. The miscues belonged to Infante, Baker and, of all people, center fielder Austin Jackson. Rookie lefty Drew Smyly making his first start with the big club since July 6 was able to work through the sloppiness. He pitched six innings allowed just one earned run on four hits and two walks while striking out six.
The 5-3 win kept the Tiger two and a half games behind the division-leading White Sox who once again came from behind to beat the Mariners 5-4.