Jackson's key walk draws praise from Leyland

Jackson's key walk draws praise from Leyland

MINNEAPOLIS -- While the story of the game Saturday certainly was Tigers ace Justin Verlander's 20th win, it took a lot of help from his offense.

And if you ask manager Jim Leyland, Austin Jackson's walk was a key part of the Tigers' crucial two-run seventh inning.

"Huge, that's maybe the toughest at-bat of the day," Leyland said. "Yeah, that might've been the biggest at-bat of the day."

After falling behind 1-2, Jackson worked the count full and fouled off a fastball before taking a changeup that barely missed the zone for ball four.

Jackson gave the Tigers runners on first and second with one out and eventually came around to score an insurance run on Miguel Cabrera's single of Matt Capps, who replaced Carl Pavano after the veteran right-hander had given up the lead.

"I complimented him when he came in," Leyland said, "on what a great at-bat that was."

When asked about it again Sunday morning, Leyland said that walk was an example of the kind of at-bats the Tigers would like to get out of Jackson more often, especially leading off the game.

"Really, we've got to keep working with him to get a little better leading off the game," Leyland said. "We need to get a little more out of that first at-bat, but he's doing fine."