Brennan_Boesch_photoThe Tigers opened a crucial home stand with a thrilling 8-6 victory over the Los Angeles Angels. The win, coupled with a White Sox loss, moves the Tigers 2.5 games behind in the AL Central. Detroit has three games remaining with the Angels before they host the White Sox for three games over the weekend.

Brennan Boesch provided a dramatic go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh inning giving the Tigers a 7-5 lead. Angels’ outfielder Mark Trumbo crushed a solo home run off Joaquin Benoit to cut the Detroit lead in half. But Quentin Berry knocked in Alex Avila with a single into center field and the Tigers led 8-6 going into the ninth.

Jose Valverde came in the game for the top of the ninth inning. After retiring the first two batters, Torii Hunter dropped down a surprising bunt single. That brought Albert Pujols to the plate as the tying run. Valverde forced a fly out to center field to earn his 17th save of the year.

Octavio Dotel pitched well in relief and earned his third win of the season. The Tigers trailed 5-2 after the Angels scored four runs in the top of the fifth, but answered with two runs in the bottom half of the inning. Berry started off a two out rally by dropping a bunt single down the third base line. Prince Fielder and Delmon Young followed with RBI singles to cut the lead to 5-4.

Berry manufactured a run with his speed in the seventh. After a single, Berry stole second and then third before Young knocked him in with a sacrifice fly. That set the stage for Boesch’s home run.

The Angels are a very good team and Detroit will have to grind out victories like they did tonight—with clutch hitting and timely pitching. Starter Rick Porcello lasted 5.2 innings, allowing five runs, before giving way to the bullpen.

Tomorrow, the Tigers will turn to youngster Jacob Turner to face Garrett Richards of the Angels. The Angels talented lineup could pose a problem for Turner but we’ll have to see if the Detroit bats will remain hot. The Tigers have now won eight of their last nine games and sit at four games over .500 at 47-43.