DETROIT -- The man who has been so dangerous leading off games for the Tigers saved them with his game-ending catch on Sunday night.
On Monday afternoon, Austin Jackson had a rare day off. It served two purposes for manager Jim Leyland. First, he wanted to get Jackson off his feet for a day before the stretch run, and a day game after a late-night game. It came in the midst of a 9-for-24 stretch for Jackson, but Leyland is hoping that keeping him fresh will prolong it.
Second, it was an opportunity for a rare start for Quintin Berry.
"I don't want Berry to be the forgotten soul here," Leyland said. "He did a good job [earlier in the season], and if you pick your spot, [he can be productive]."
Berry has had one start in center since Jackson returned from the disabled list in mid-June. That was Aug. 9, and Jackson still played the final three innings.
As for the catch in the ninth inning Sunday night, Jackson said the line drive fooled him a bit before he went into full retreat and reached up for the grab.
"The thing is, off the bat, I was thinking that it was going to be a low line drive where I had to run in and make a catch," Jackson said. "Then I realized it was hit a lot better than I thought it was, and I had to retrace my steps a bit and get back."
Back in first, Tigers taking it game by game
DETROIT -- The Tigers remember the last time they swept the White Sox and changed the division race back in July. They also remember the struggles they encountered immediately after, leading to a 3-6 road trip in Cleveland, Toronto and Boston.
They lost the division lead in Cleveland and didn't gain it back until Sunday night, when they moved into a tie with the White Sox. Now that they have the Indians again, less than 24 hours after sweeping the Sox, they don't expect to fall into the same trap.
The key, Gerald Laird said, is the same approach they took into the White Sox series.
"The main thing is taking it one series, one game," Laird said, "because you see how you can get ahead of yourself by that Kansas City series. I think we were looking to [the White Sox] series a little bit, and a good young team whipped us. We have to take it one series at a time, one game at a time and not overlook anybody, because anybody can beat us at any time.
"I just think we learned our lesson. We got embarrassed in Kansas City. That's a good young team, I don't want to take away any credit from them, but we're supposed to be the powerhouse in our division with the White Sox, and we go out there and get beat three times with our ace. I think guys are going to look at that series and hopefully won't let it happen again."
Coaches' meetings doubling as snack time
DETROIT -- Pitchers have their detailed routines to get ready for a game. Hitters have their pregame rituals. What does the coaching staff do?
Apparently, they eat ice cream.
"I have a Nutty Buddy about a half-hour before the game, every day," manager Jim Leyland admitted Monday morning. "That's our little ritual."
It's not just Leyland. The coaches meet in his office.
"All the coaches," Leyland said. "Some have a popsicle. Some have a Nutty Buddy. Some have a Klondike. It's good. There have been several games I've managed with the Tigers that I had chocolate all over my uniform, but nobody ever noticed."
• The Tigers are recalling right-handed reliever Luke Putkonen from Triple-A Toledo, according to the Toledo Blade. The September call-up, expected Tuesday, would coincide with the end of the Mud Hens season. Putkonen has allowed seven runs on 15 hits over 9 2/3 innings in two different stints with the Tigers this season.
• One American League scout who was in town for the Tigers-White Sox series over the weekend said Max Scherzer would be an ace on a lot of other pitching staffs.