After a 2-for-28 slump with zero extra-base hits since Memorial Day weekend dropped his batting average from .259 to .222, manager Jim Leyland tried another tactic with Boesch, moving him up to second in the lineup against Indians sinkerballer Derek Lowe. Essentially, it was Leyland's way of going all-in with Boesch to try to maximize a favorable matchup, with a low-ball hitter facing a low-ball pitcher.
The matchup paid off, in part because of the situations hitting second, as Boesch went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the Tigers' 7-5 win.
The first came in the opening inning after Quintin Berry's leadoff single. With a 2-1 count on Boesch, Berry took off, leaving Boesch to try to swing. He got a sinker low and outside and went with it, lining it to left for an opposite-field single that put runners at the corners and none out in what ended up being a four-run inning.
After grounding out in the next inning, Boesch came back up in the fourth with Danny Worth on second base and watched Lowe throw offspeed pitches all over the place for a 3-0 count. With Miguel Cabrera due up, Leyland would've had every right to tell Boesch to take the next pitch and try to get on base with a walk.
Instead, Leyland gave him the sign to swing away.
"We green-lighted him, 3-0, and if it hadn't worked, we would've been fools," Leyland said.
Lowe, perhaps expecting that, threw a sinker right over the plate. Boesch sent to deep to right-center field on a hop to score Worth and extend the inning for Cabrera's two-run homer and a 7-1 lead.
"That was, for me, the biggest at-bat -- falling behind him," Lowe said after the game.
It was a good rebound game for Boesch after he didn't get the ball to the infield dirt in four at-bats on Wednesday night. Earlier Wednesday, hitting coach Lloyd McClendon and other members of the Tigers' staff had compared video of Boesch's swing this season with last year. They found Boesch's hips were opening up earlier on his swings, and later on others.
"His hips were way over here on one swing," Leyland said, "and the other swing they were where they're supposed to be."