Collins, Lobstein make it easy for Erie

Outfielder homers twice, lefty takes no-no into seventh in win

By Jonathan Raymond / Special to | May 2, 2013 7:52 PM ET

Over the long course of a baseball season, there's going to be a game every now and then where everything just goes right. The top prospect has a big game at the plate. The starting pitcher seems unhittable.

Witness Thursday's game for Double-A Erie.

No. 6 Tigers prospect Tyler Collins homered twice and left-hander Kyle Lobstein took a no-hitter into the seventh inning as the SeaWolves cruised to a 9-1 win over the Binghamton Mets.

Collins drove in five runs and Lobstein (3-2) went 6 2/3 innings without allowing a hit, finishing with one unearned run on a hit and two walks while striking out six over seven frames.

It was Collins' third straight game with at least one longball, after he'd hit just one in his first 18 contests of the season.

"[Hitting two homers] felt fantastic and it feels even better to get the win, especially when Lobstein goes out and throws his butt off," Collins said. "To give him peace of mind and a comfortable lead was good enough for me.

"All I know is I did a lot of standing around in left field. It makes it easy on me, almost like I get to go rest and think about what I'm doing at the plate and take that to the next at-bat. When you've got a pitcher mowing guys down, it makes it a lot easier."

A sixth-rounder in the 2011 Draft, Collins upped his batting line to .260/.326/.532 in 21 games this year with the recent power spike. He said some tips from coaches and work in the cage helped him get his timing right.

"I noticed I wasn't getting my foot down as quick as I would've liked to," he said. "I was just kind of late on everything. [Tigers Minor League hitting coordinator] Bruce Fields watched some film from Spring Training and said to me, 'It seems you're getting it down late,' and helped me get back on track.

"I was suggested by our hitting coach Gerald Perry to go sit in on a couple of bullpens, kind of work on when I think I needed to get my foot down. I did that for a couple days and it started coming back to me."

For his part, Lobstein followed up an eight-inning, one-run performance April 27 with his most complete outing of the season. The 23-year-old, who was a Rule 5 Draft pick by the Mets over the offseason and then came to Detroit in a December trade, has allowed just three earned runs over 21 innings in his last three starts.

Lobstein has a 2.89 ERA in 37 1/3 frames this season. He has struck out 36 and walked 11.

"There was a little bit of settling in for the season. In Spring Training, during the first part I was working in a reliever role. Those first few starts during the season I was still trying to adjust in that starting role," he said. "I'm definitely feeling a lot more comfortable now."

The 2008 second-round pick said he also appreciated the big lead he was handed Thursday.

"I knew yesterday the guys were hitting the ball great and going into today that already gives me a confidence boost," he said. "It really relaxes you if you can go out there and pitch with a lead, it's always great."

No. 19 Tigers prospect Ramon Cabrera doubled, walked and drove in two runs, while seventh-ranked Detroit prospect Daniel Fields went 2-for-5 with a run scored out of the leadoff spot.

Jonathan Raymond is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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