Has a 9-4 lead ever felt as small as it did Wednesday night?

With the scars of horrific, late-inning losses to the Twins (July 10) and Mariners (last night) still fresh, the Tigers handled the late innings Wednesday with extreme care, despite the big lead.

Alex Wilson was used to get Nelson Cruz out with two on in the seventh and the Tigers leading 8-4. Then with two on and two outs in the eighth, closer Joakim Soria was summoned for a four-out save opportunity.

"You don't want to," manager Brad Ausmus said. "Like I said, it could have been a lot cleaner from the pitching perspective. But we needed this win. We didn't have a choice."

Soria, though with some drama in the ninth, did in fact close it out and "preserved" the 9-4 win. It was his 22nd save of the season and the 200th of his career.

"Thank God for that," said Soria. "I was out for two (Tommy John) surgeries and now I have a chance for 200 saves. That's all Him. That's is why I am here."

The Tigers expunged much of their sorrow from Tuesday night with a season-high, eight-run third inning. The key blow was the first career grand slam by Nick Castellanos off Mariners starter Mike Montgomery. He hit a 2-0 fastball 447 feet to center field. It bounced off Al Kaline's nameplate on the wall next to the flag pole.