The Detroit Tigers have waited since April 10, 2019, or 499 days.
They’ve tried and failed in 20 consecutive games, losing each time to the Cleveland Indians. The organization’s longest stretch of losses against a single opponent came to an end Friday at Progressive Field.
Thanks to a grand slam from 21-year-old Isaac Paredes, who has only been on the big-league roster for five days, the Tigers (10-14) put up seven runs in the fourth inning for a 10-5 victory.
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Detroit got two homers in the fourth — from Jonathan Schoop and Paredes — and padded the lead with a solo homer from Victor Reyes on the first pitch in the seventh inning. Jeimer Candelario added a two-run single for a five-run lead, which the bullpen didn’t squander.
The Tigers will pitch left-hander Matthew Boyd in Saturday’s game before turning to lefty Tarik Skubal, making his second MLB start, in the series finale Sunday.
Knocking on history’s door
Since MLB expanded in 1969, there’s only one team with more consecutive losses to a single opponent than the Tigers took against the Indians. From May 10, 1969, to Aug. 2, 1970, the Kansas City Royals dropped 23 straight to the Baltimore Orioles. At the time, the Orioles were one of the best teams in baseball.
Likewise, the Indians have dominated the AL Central in recent years, finishing in first place the past three seasons and making it to the World Series in 2016. The Tigers, however, refused to become Royal in the category of the worst stretch against a single team. That crown stays in Kansas City.
Catcher Austin Romine never was an everyday catcher in eight MLB seasons, always filling in when needed or helping out through injuries.
So when he came to Detroit this offseason, he made a goal to prove he is capable of leading an organization behind the plate. Through 17 games this season, he possesses a .311 batting average with two homers and 11 RBIs.
Those impressive numbers include a seven-game hitting streak, where he is 9-for-26 with 5 RBIs. He extended the stretch Friday with a 1-for-4 performance, driving in a run on a single to score Candelario in the fourth.
Fulmer stays at three
In his fourth start, right-hander Michael Fulmer’s command faltered. Because of this, he was unable to make it further than three innings. Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire has previously said Fulmer could go beyond three frames if his pitch count allows him. He is recovering from Tommy John surgery that forced him to miss the entire 2019 season.
Fulmer tossed 63 pitches Friday, giving up five runs on five hits with one walk. He had four strikeouts.
“Our goal is to let him survive this season and get it underneath his belt,” Gardenhire said earlier Friday. “So when he comes to spring training, and gets his arm in shape over the winter, we’ll do him just like we’ll do every other pitcher and slowly work him into multiple innings and six or seven innings by the end of spring. That’s our goal.”
Evan Petzold is a sports reporting intern at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive Detroit Tigers content.