By: Will Burchfield
@burchie_kid

Known for slugging, the Tigers have recently been slogging.

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They were swept by the Royals to open the week, mustering just three runs over three dreary games. This listlessness seeped into Thursday afternoon, with the Tigers sleepwalking through the first seven innings of play against the Red Sox. When Boston took a 3-1 lead in the top of the eighth, Comerica Park dozing along with the hometown team, the Tigers looked destined for their fourth straight loss and ninth in the last 11 games.

Then everyone woke up.

Spurred by Ian Kinsler and Erick Aybar, the Tigers plated three runs in the bottom of the eighth and shook out of an offensive stupor. They did as they have done all season long, rallying with their backs against the wall. And they rediscovered their mojo in the process, high-fiving and fist-bumping their way to a much needed victory.

“It was fun,” Brad Ausmus said afterward. “It hasn’t been fun for the last three days, we didn’t really do much. There wasn’t a lot of activity in the dugout because we didn’t have a lot of offense going on. It was fun to do it in a situation where the game is on the line and to come from behind and to basically have the whole lineup contribute.”

The rally was certainly a team effort. The Tigers batted around in the eighth, ultimately taking the lead on a two-out, bases-loaded walk to Andrew Romine. There was no climactic homerun on this occasion, no towering long ball as there often is with this team, but the comeback was as satisfying as ever.

“That was a great inning because everybody – well most everybody – had a role in keeping it going and having good at-bats. So those are the kind of innings that you hope can get contagious and everybody as a group can build off that,” said Casey McGehee, who laughed and corrected himself upon remembering his bases-loaded groundout.

When the Tigers came to life, so did the fans. They have come to expect this kind of late-game drama at Comerica Park, having watched their team rise from the ashes this season time and time again.

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“When you think about some of the backend of the bullpens that we’ve faced, we’ve fared pretty well against some of those relievers. I don’t think guys ever close up shop, even when set-up men and closers step onto the pitching rubber,” Ausmus said.

The fans’ faith was made evident when Kinsler stroked a leadoff single and a buzz instantly took hold in the crowd. They have seen enough comebacks this season to know how one begins. Three hits later the game was tied, and the fans were roaring their approval.

“It was huge,” said Matt Boyd, who allowed just one run over six dogged innings of work. “When they get behind us, man, you feel invincible out there. They were on their feet, they were loud, it puts pressure on [the opposition] and we feed off it.

“The fans were great today, and we’re grateful for it.”

Miguel Cabrera, who picked up his 1000th RBI as a member of the Tigers, agreed.

“I mean, it was perfect,” he said. “I wish the fans can be like that the whole game. It keeps you going. You want to go out there and play your best.”

Baseball is supposed to be fun, but for the Tigers it had recently been anything but. They were losing games in frustrating fashion, going quietly, uncharacteristically, into the night. Things were dull in the dugout and gloomy in the clubhouse.

Finally, on Thursday, some cheer. Some life, some spirit. And it came by way of the Tigers’ trademark.

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“When we come back like that, we’re resilient. That’s what we gotta be down the stretch and that’s what we are as a team, that’s who we are,” said Boyd. “We play nine innings strong every game.”