DETROIT -- For all practical purposes, Jim Leyland's question over whether to bunt the potential winning run over to second base in the ninth inning Thursday was academic, since the signal never got to Ramon Santiago at the plate and Santiago swung away. Still, Leyland said, the question over whether to go for the win or tie the game stuck with him all night.
He had a different conclusion Friday than he did after Thursday's 4-3 loss to the Yankees.
"I thought about it all night, and I came to the conclusion I [messed] up one thing: I should have never even thought about bunting Santiago," Leyland said.
He didn't change his thoughts on how the inning played out from there. With no outs, he was not going to call for a squeeze bunt, nor was he going to have Omar Infante try to steal second and risk a line-drive double play. Nor was he going to use either of the two hitters on the bench, Delmon Young or Jeff Baker, to pinch-hit in that situation.
"All we needed was contact, anywhere on the ground. Contact, or fly ball, contact anywhere, and we get the tying run in," Leyland said. "And I was worried about the strikeout, because that guy's [Rafael Soriano] real nasty."
The big regret, he said, was thinking about having Santiago bunt, and planting the idea in Santiago's head beforehand that they might call for the bunt.
"When he went up there, I said look for this first pitch to hit, just like he did to Infante," Leyland said. "We didn't bunt, but I knew he'd lay something in there thinking we were bunting. And I told Santi the same thing. Well, he took the first pitch, and I was actually trying to get the bunt on, which we didn't. But I should've just let him [hit], because I told him afterwards that he might bunt.
"We had the tying run. If he just hits a ground ball or a fly ball or anything, we've got the tying run. I should've just let him think about hitting all the way, not even mention bunt."
Tigers don't think reliever Benoit tipping pitches
ARLINGTON -- Joaquin Benoit was available out of the bullpen Friday night. There was no injury concern and no extensive side session that would've taxed him. That doesn't necessarily mean the Tigers think there's nothing wrong.
The changeup he threw that the Yankees' Eric Chavez took deep on Thursday was an off-speed pitch, and a pitch Chavez said he picked up out of Benoit's hand. However, the Tigers don't believe he's doing anything to tip pitches beforehand. The fact that the vast majority of the other six home runs Benoit has given up since the All-Star break have come off fastballs, some after falling behind in the count on changeups, back it up.
Hitters might be sitting on a pitch in certain counts, but that's about it.
"Who knows," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said, "maybe they're picking one and saying, 'I'm not going to worry about the other. I'm just going to stay on the fastball, or I'm just going to stay on the changeup.'"
That might be a situation where the tweak might be in pitch selection.
"I will say this: With right-handed hitters, I think it's good when he uses his slider some," Leyland said.
Tigers cool with playing in Texas heat on Sunday
ARLINGTON -- The Tigers were bracing for triple-digit temperatures for Sunday afternoon's series finale, a rare day game during the summer in Texas. They'd rather do that, though, than wait for a night game and get to Minnesota early Monday morning.
"It's not like it's going to be 60 degrees at night," manager Jim Leyland pointed out.
By contrast, the Tigers had three night games here in June before a late night flight to Tampa Bay.
Sunday's game falls on a travel day for both clubs. The Rangers go to New York from here.
"I'd much rather play early and go," shortstop Jhonny Peralta said. "It's going to be hot no matter what."
The big test, though, will be for starting pitcher Rick Porcello, who said he started planning for it already.
"I'm definitely going to try to hydrate more than usual," Porcello said.
However, Porcello added, "I don't think that I'll even really notice when I'm out there."
Outfielder Matt Young, who spent a stretch of June with the Tigers filling in for Andy Dirks, has been released from his contract at Triple-A Toledo. Young, best known as a Tiger for taking a hit-by-pitch from Aroldis Chapman during an eighth-inning rally on Sunday Night Baseball, hit just 11-for-84 (.131) after the All-Star break, lowering his season average with the Mud Hens to .212.
Saturday's game is expected to start at 8:30 p.m. ET, rather than 8:05. The Rangers are having a pregame ceremony honoring their 40th anniversary team, which is expected to push back the start time. The Tigers will wear throwback jerseys from 1976, as will the Rangers, complete with bicentennial patches.
A Venezuelan reporter asked Jim Leyland on Friday about the chances of somebody winning a Triple Crown again. Leyland said "the stars have to line up pretty right" for somebody to do it but said he hopes Miguel Cabrera can. Leyland created headlines Thursday by telling a Detroit radio station that he thought Cabrera is the American League's Most Valuable Player over Mike Trout, in part because Cabrera has been up all season and Trout began the year in the Minors.