Well-rested Justin Upton leads Tigers past Giants, 5-3

The Detroit Tigers bailed out right-handed pitcher Michael Fulmer, who gave up a season-high two home runs today.

Fulmer had gone 73 2/3 innings without allowed a home run, the longest active streak in the majors, before Hunter Pence hit a two-out solo home run in the first inning. Brandon Crawford added a game-tying, two-run home run off Fulmer in the top of the seventh.

But the Tigers answered in the bottom of the inning when Justin Upton hit a two-out, two-run single with the bases loaded.

“We came back and we still stayed on the pitcher and we were able to grind out two more runs,” Upton said.

The Tigers went on to beat the Giants, 5-3, in front of 32,514 at Comerica Park.

“It doesn’t feel good when we waste one of his good outings and we’ve wasted a few of them,” Upton said of Fulmer. “To see him go out there and give us a chance to win and for us to get one for him was nice.”

Upton had missed the past three games with right side soreness. He finished 3-for-3 with two doubles, two RBIs and a run scored. Victor Martinez hit a solo home run in the second inning and finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs.

Fulmer allowed three runs on five hits over eight innings. He walked one and struck out five.

“I thought my stuff was there, but a lot of 2-0 counts,” Fulmer said. “I just didn’t feel too comfortable the first few innings. But kind of did some towel drills in the dugout, kind of loosened up a little bit more and finally started finding the bottom of the zone. Lot of hard contact today, but defense did great.”

Fulmer, who hadn't allowed a home run since April 29 against the White Sox's Jose Abreu, said he hung a change-up to Crawford.

“But this offense was great, they had my back and I’m glad they got two runs back the very next half inning," Fulmer said. "Kind of game me confidence go out for the eighth and try for a quick eighth and let J-Willy do his thing.”

Giants right-handed pitcher Matt Cain allowed five runs on seven hits over 6 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out three.

Fulmer, named the Tigers’ only All-Star representative on Sunday night, has gone seven innings or more in each of his last three starts and has a 2.28 ERA with 20 strikeouts in that span.

Asked about leaving Fulmer in after the second home run, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said: “He’s earned it. He’s shown he’s one of the best pitchers on this team and his pitch count was still low. He still looked good. Kind of let him roll. Truth is he probably could have gone out for the ninth.”

Justin Wilson did instead, got one strikeout and earned his ninth save of the season.

The Tigers scored twice in the fourth inning to take a 3-1 lead. Martinez hit an RBI single and Nick Castellanos followed with a sacrifice fly that brought home Miguel Cabrera, who left the game in the top of the seventh with left hip tightness.

Ausmus said he’d be surprised if Cabrera did not play on Wednesday night.

© 2017 Associated Press


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