HOUSTON – The Detroit Tigers sweep of the Houston Astros was full of awesome moments for Tigers fans, especially since it was as dominant as it was unexpected.
Just because the Tigers played well the last three days doesn’t make them playoff contenders, but Detroit fans deserved to soak it all in this series. All four of our professional sports teams absolutely stink, so whooping a first-place team was a nice breath of fresh air.
If you didn’t have a chance to watch much of the series, here were the top 10 moments, ranked from 10th best to most awesome.
10. Grayson Greiner home run
Sometimes it’s the moments you expect the least that stick in your memory, and Tigers fans certainly didn’t expect it to be Greiner who provided the first runs of the series.
The backup catcher hit a two-run blast in the top of the second inning off of Zack Grenke to give the Tigers a lead they would almost hold for three consecutive nights.
It also jump started an offense that scored just six runs on 13 hits in Cleveland. Detroit exploded for 20 runs on 31 hits in Houston.
9. Akil Baddoo thought he hit another homer
In the first game of the series, after he had already blasted his third homer of the season (more on that later), Baddoo smashed a ball to deep right-center field and broke out his home run trot.
He probably wasn’t even to first base yet when the ball clanged off the wall. Luckily, he was able to get to second base easily, but with his speed he probably could have gotten a triple.
The funny part was Baddoo clearly knew he had made a mistake, and was immediately making sure the dugout knew he knew it. The rest of the series, he was noticeably busting it out of the batter’s box.
8. Matt Boyd dominates again
Detroit’s ace is living up to his reputation as a fast starter, posting his third-straight strong outing to begin the season.
Boyd held the Astros to just one run over 6.2 innings, allowing six hits and one walk while striking out four batters.
On the season, Boyd has allowed just four earned runs in 19.1 innings -- and he’s yet to allow a home run.
7. Jeimer Candelario gets on base 10 times
Yes, you read that right. Candelario got on base 10 times in a three-game series.
In the first game, Candelario hit two singles and drew two walks. The next day, he had a single, a double and a walk. In the finale, he finished with two singles and a double.
All in all, Candelario finished the series 7-for-12 with three walks. Everybody else was hitting home runs, but Candelario was quietly pestering the Astros all week.
6. Wilson Ramos takes league lead in homers
Everyone remembers how horrible the Tigers’ offense has been the last few years, right?
Well, Ramos has come in and hit six home runs in the first 12 games of 2021, and after crushing a pair of bombs Tuesday, he took the outright MLB lead in that category.
Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna tied him Wednesday, but Ramos is still alone atop the AL leaderboard. That’s a very unexpected treat for Tigers fans.
5. Back-to-back blasts
Scoring six runs off of Greinke doesn’t sound like the Tigers at all, but they knocked him around for 10 hits, three walks and three home runs.
Two of those home runs came of the back-to-back variety, with new first baseman Renato Nunez and Baddoo blasting off to left and center fields, respectively.
Obviously, it was great to see Nunez contribute in his first full series. But another home run for Baddoo -- a 450 footer to dead center? That was the real prize.
4. Bryan Garcia saves the day
The Tigers were just three outs away from a series sweep Wednesday when Jose Cisnero walked the No. 8 and No. 9 batters in the order and surrendered a single to load the bases with no outs.
Detroit held a three-run lead, but with the heart of the Houston order coming up, it was the most uncomfortable moment for the Tigers all week.
Luckily, Garcia was there to save the day. He struck out Aledmys Diaz, retired the pesky Michael Brantley and then (after a walk) dusted Kyle Tucker to win the game.
3. Akil Baddoo’s fourth home run
It’s hard not to put every Baddoo moment atop the list. It feels like every trip to the plate turns into a storyline.
His at-bat Tuesday might have been one of his best this season. He fell behind Jake Odorizzi 0-2 before fighting back to a full count and slapping the ball just over the left field fence.
Of his four home runs, three have been to the opposite field, and the other was to dead center. Baddoo just keeps providing special moments for the Tigers.
2. Michael Fulmer’s first win since 2018
After losing 2019 to surgery and struggling to get anybody out in 2020, it started to look like the end of the Fulmer era was near. Then, after a couple of disastrous spring outings, he flipped a switch.
Suddenly, Fulmer was a dominant multi-inning reliever out of the bullpen. Then, after he pitched well in place of an injured Julio Teheran in Cleveland, Fulmer earned what was perhaps his last chance at the starting rotation.
Fulmer didn’t waste the opportunity. He was throwing 97 mph from start to finish, allowing just two runs in five innings.
Though he got plenty of help from his defense and only struck out two batters, Wednesday was a major success for Fulmer. He’s earned at least another couple of turns through the rotation to see if he can keep trending upward.
1. Casey Mize’s first MLB win
Mize had never even pitched six innings before Monday’s start against Zack Greinke and the Astros. Then, he twirled seven shutout.
Houston managed just four hits and two walks against Mize, who breezed through a loaded lineup and struck out five. He needed just 89 pitches to complete seven innings -- exactly what Hinch needs from the starting staff.
Tigers fans have been excited about Mize since he was drafted No. 1 overall in 2018. Monday was an enticing glimpse of what the future could hold.