Berry delivers game-winner for Tigers

DETROIT – Quintin Berry really isn’t the answer to all of Detroit’s problems.

For the moment, though, everyone is perfectly happy to let the magic continue.

Thursday, after four bad-looking at-bats, Berry dribbled a walk-off single through a drawn-in St. Louis infield to give the Tigers a 2-1 victory and their fourth straight series win.

“That’s a huge series for us, especially against the World Series champs,” he said. “To win a series against them gives us great momentum.”

Berry has a long minor league track record of struggles at the plate, but every time he appears to be ready to fall out of this hot streak, he gets a bloop single or bunts for a base hit. This time, after two strikeouts, a weak grounder and a failed bunt, he came up with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 10th.

St. Louis manager Mike Matheny decided not try a five-man infield, despite Berry’s penchant for groundballs, and he paid for the decision when Berry’s soft grounder just eluded second baseman Daniel Descanso. It was Berry’s first career walk-off hit, and he made no effort to hide his excitement.

“I always wondered what that would feel like, and it is huge,” he said. “I showed it, I was jumping around and acting crazy. You don’t know what to do with yourself, so you are just flailing everything you have.”

Berry knows that his .315 batting average is higher than he can expect – he’s hitting an unsustainable .453 on balls in play – and he knows that a hot streak won’t last forever.

“This is how baseball works,” he said. “You can be doing everything right and lining balls at people. I’m just glad that things are rolling for me right now, and going the way they normally don’t go.

“I’ll take it. It feels really good.”

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER INJURY

The Tigers got some good news on the injury front when Gerald Laird showed up ready to play after leaving Wednesday’s game with hamstring cramps. However, things took another turn for the worse when Don Kelly banged into the railing while catching Matt Holliday’s fifth-inning sacrifice fly.

Kelly had to leave the game a couple innings later, but the Tigers believe that the injury is just a bruise and won’t keep him from playing this weekend in his hometown of Pittsburgh.

AVILA BACK IN BUSINESS

Alex Avila caught the game after finishing his 15-day disabled list stint with a strained hamstring. Avila singled in four at-bats, but more importantly, he felt good after catching all nine innings.

“I felt really great behind the plate,” he said. “I probably saved a couple runs back there, which is something you take pride in, but I was probably a little anxious at the plate. That just comes from wanting to do too much.”