DETROIT -- Jim Leyland isn't going to get committed to starting Quintin Berry every day. Likewise, Berry isn't going to go outside of his skill set to try to prove he should be starting all the time.
"I'm going to put the best lineup out on the field," Leyland said.
Still, the more he hits like he did Sunday, slapping singles through the infield and centering easy line drives to get on base, the more he makes his case to play.
"I'm just trying to make contact, put balls in play, bunt, stealing when I can," Berry said after a 5-0 win over the Rockies. "All those little things that I do, that's part of my game, not trying to do too much. I'm not out here trying to hit home runs or drive in runs or stuff like that."
Sunday's 5-for-5 performance not only was the first of Berry's brief Major League career, it was the first by any Tiger this season. The fact that it came in just his second start since Austin Jackson returned from the disabled list a week ago couldn't have made for much better timing.
None of Berry's five hits went for extra bases, but they played a part in two of Detroit's five runs. Two of his singles followed Jackson singles at leadoff, advancing him into scoring position with less than two outs.
Berry had been 2-for-11 since Jackson's return.
"He didn't try to do too much," Leyland said. "He had a great day, and line drives, too. I'm not talking about bloop hits. Every one of them was hit hard, the last one probably not quite as hard as the other ones. He laid the bat on the ball, and the legs are there, obviously."
Leyland indicated Andy Dirks' Achilles injury gives him the flexibility to start Berry in left field and Delmon Young at DH against right-handed pitchers. That's a luxury Leyland didn't have when the Tigers didn't have the DH spot in Cincinnati and Chicago against the Cubs.