Tuiasosopo earns bonus start after big hits on Friday

Tuiasosopo earns bonus start after big hits on Friday

DETROIT -- For one at-bat Friday, Matt Tuiasosopo performed the job the Tigers put him on the team to do when he made the Opening Day roster. -- he hit a left-handed starting pitcher. His bases-loaded, two-run single off Paul Maholm was the biggest hit of a four-run third inning.

His first home run as a Tiger, however, and his first Major League home run since Sept. 8, 2010, came against a right-hander after the Braves pulled Maholm for Anthony Varvaro.

"I was so pumped up, [Austin Jackson] was saying, 'Man, you ran the bases too fast,'" Tuiasosopo said. "I was like, 'I couldn't wait to get back in the dugout and celebrate with you guys.'"

Between that bonus hit and the Tigers' lingering concern over Andy Dirks' sore right knee, Tuiasosopo earned a bonus start Saturday afternoon against Braves righty Kris Medlen.

With lefty Mike Minor scheduled to start for Atlanta Sunday night, Tuiasosopo is expected to get three consecutive starts after starting just four of Detroit's first 18 games. It's something Tuiasosopo doesn't take for granted.

"I feel very thankful," Tuiasosopo said. "The last few years, it's been [about] trying to get back up here, trying to figure things out. It feels good every day to be back in the big leagues and be able to contribute."

Tuiasosopo's single was just the third hit of the season for the Tigers with the bases loaded. They were 2-for-20 in those situations going into the evening.

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.