It was more the Bay Bridge of victories than the Golden Gate — a win that got the Tigers where they wanted to go instead of a glossy postcard. But they’re not about to be choosy. “We certainly needed it,” manager Brad Ausmus said. That’s true. After the mess of the previous eight games, seven of which the Tigers lost — and many of the defeats downright ugly — the Tigers needed to win a game. Plain and simple. And win one they did, pushing across the tie-breaking run on Austin Jackson’s fielder’s choice grounder to short in the eighth for a 6-5 victory on Tuesday night over the Oakland Athletics. On the play that made the difference, Rajai Davis scored from third after entering the game as a pinch-runner for J.D. Martinez who had drawn a one-out walk. A passed ball moved Davis to second. He advanced to third on a brazen delayed steal, taking off from second when pitcher Fernando Abad paid no attention to him after taking a toss back from catcher Derek Norris. “Everybody in baseball has to like a play like that,” first base coach Omar Vizquel said. “I won’t lie, my heart stopped when I saw him take took off,” Ausmus said. But the camera caught you smiling, Brad. “Because my heart had started back up,” he said. Said Davis of the move, “My heart would have stopped, too, if I were Brad.” Not only did Davis have the speed to pull off the play, though, he had the nerve. “I think he caught the whole stadium by surprise,“ said Joe Nathan, who earned with 12th save with a scoreless ninth inning. “I know I missed it. “His body is built for speed, and on top of that, he’s a ball of muscle.” A bold ball of muscle. “At that point in a tight game, with the pressure on, you have to be safe,” Davis said. The steal was a beauty, but much of the game wasn’t — what with Max Scherzer struggling again. In six innings, he allowed five runs. In the 13 innings of his last two starts, Scherzer has allowed 12 runs on 20 hits.
Baserunning gamble helps Tigers get much-needed victory over Athletics
Detroit News | May 28