Prince Fielder blasted a pair of homers tonight as the Tigers opened a nine-game home stand with a 5-3 win over the Orioles. The hefty first baseman launched a two-run bomb to center field tying the game at three in the sixth inning. It was officially measured by ESPN at 462 feet and might have been just as high. Two innings later, he pulled a towering blast down the line and deep into the seats in right giving the Tigers a five to three lead in the eighth. The only other run came on a solo shot by third baseman Miguel Cabrera in the first.
Fielder came into the game with a strong 144 OPS+ which was very similar to his 143 career OPS+, but he had been a different type of hitter this year. He was batting .309 versus a career mark of .285, but was not showing his usual power. His Isolated Power of .197 was well below his career mark of .251 and was on a pace for just 27 homers after averaging 40 over the previous five years. Tonight, we saw the Fielder which Brewers fans enjoyed in Milwaukee the past several years.
Prince's big night helped the Tigers overcome an uncharacteristically wild performance by ace Justin Verlander. Verlander allowed three runs in six innings thanks, in part, to a season-high four walks. He clearly did not have his usual good command and reached 100 pitches by the fourth inning.
The Tigers are now two games behind the first place White Sox pending the outcome of their game with the Royals tonight. Chicago currently trails Kansas City 4-2 in the eighth inning.