Iglesias' baserunning instincts maturing

Iglesias' baserunning instincts maturing

DETROIT -- Jose Iglesias has been a pretty big catalyst for the Tigers' resurgence in the second half of the season. Iglesias really began to turn up the heat in Detroit's recent road sweep of the Red Sox when he went 5-for-13, including a big home run to give the team momentum in the first game.

Iglesias' success continued into the weekend series against the Astros with hits in each of the first two games, including a walk-off infield single Saturday night. One facet of Iglesias' game that could be a little overlooked this season is his baserunning.

His improving baserunning instincts were put on display in Friday's game when he went from first to third on an Ian Kinsler single that dropped in front of Jake Marisnick in shallow center field.

Kinsler was impressed by the read Iglesias got on that ball and the way he turned it on around second base when he realized it was going to drop.

"There are all kinds of things that go into the play," Kinsler said. "You just need to be aware of the situation in the game and where guys are at. Then it just turns into instincts. He's one of our fastest players. He's the guy on the team that should be able to do those types of things. It's important for him to do that."

Manager Brad Ausmus said it has been nice to see the way Iglesias has matured on the basepaths. He thinks Iglesias has gotten some encouragement from teammates about his baserunning, which has given him a lot of confidence.

Kinsler thinks Iglesias has better baserunning instincts than he gives himself credit for. He has just begun to trust himself in making decisions and let his confidence take over.

"I don't know if he's ever really had to think about it or fine-tune it or allow it to get better," Kinsler said. "He has the ability to be a really good baserunner and he has good baseball instincts. He's starting to learn how to act on them."

Of course, the one thing that helps a good baserunner is speed. Iglesias showed plenty of it Saturday when he beat out a ground ball to first baseman Jason Castro for the walk-off hit. He was a step ahead of closer Will Harris, who was a little late in covering the bag.

Iglesias on walk-off, Verlander

The ninth-inning rally helped give Justin Verlander a complete-game win and he, too, took notice of Iglesias' speed.

"Hurry, hurry, hurry," Verlander said he was thinking during the final play. "I've seen him do it before. He flies down the line when he can smell a hit."

Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.