Detroit Tigers right-hander Spencer Turnbull needed a bit of wiggle room, and that’s exactly what his teammates gave him with a three-run first inning.
The offense set the tone early once again for the Tigers (17-17), but it wasn’t enough to carry them through Turnbull’s rough five-walk outing in an 8-5 loss Wednesday against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.
As a whole, the pitching staff allowed 12 free passes — 10 from walks and two from hit batters. Brewers third baseman Eric Sogard drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning with a sacrifice fly against reliever Joe Jimenez. Pinch-hitter Jace Peterson’s two-run homer off a hanging slider from Buck Farmer made it a three-run edge in the eighth.
All this after the Tigers opened the game by scoring three times on two infield singles and a two-run ground-rule double.
With the loss, the Tigers squandered their six-game winning streak. The Toronto Blue Jays won their game against the Miami Marlins, meaning Detroit is now 1 1/2 games back of the AL’s eighth and final playoff spot.
As the postseason race continues, Detroit turns its attention to a five-game series with the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. After an off-day Thursday, left-hander Matthew Boyd starts Game 1 of Friday’s doubleheader.
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Turnbull’s shaky start
The third inning wasn’t kind to Turnbull, who started the frame by retiring Orlando Arcia on the first pitch. He followed with two walks and a three-run blast. Keston Hiura’s homer was the first Turnbull had allowed since Sept. 12, 2019, halting a streak of nine consecutive starts without allowing a long ball.
Before then, Turnbull was cruising through two innings with three strikeouts.
He picked up the pace again in the fourth frame but couldn’t get through the fifth. He sandwiched a strikeout of Hirua between walks to Christian Yelich and Justin Smoak before manager Ron Gardenhire replaced him.
On nine days rest, righty John Schreiber couldn’t work out of the jam. He walked one and gave up a broken-bat single to Omar Narvaez, which tied the game at five.
Turnbull finished with five runs on three hits and five walks. He struck out five batters over 89 pitches.
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Designated hitter Miguel Cabrera jump-started the fifth inning with a double to the wall in left-center field and moved ahead in the record books once again.
After reaching 2,000 hits with the Tigers’ organization Saturday, he recorded his 2,845th career hit to move him past Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez for 49th in MLB history. Since it was a double, Cabrera jumped ahead of Carlos Beltran and Cal Ripken Jr. for 24th in extra-base hits with 1,079.
Cabrera finished 1-for-4 with one run scored and one strikeout.
Castro makes up for error
Making his third start at shortstop this season, Castro fielded what should’ve been a routine groundball from Avisail Garcia in the second inning and tossed the ball over first baseman Jeimer Candelario’s head. But Castro didn’t let his error define him. He responded at the plate with a 3-for-4 performance and two RBIs.
Gardenhire started Castro over regular shortstop Niko Goodrum, who is hitting .186 this season. In his last seven games, Goodrum is 6-for-27 with nine strikeouts and one walk.
Castro is also working on a transition to the outfield, where he will be used as a utility player going forward. Although Goodrum has outfield experience, Gardenhire said he would rather keep the tandem of Goodrum and second baseman Jonathan Schoop up the middle for defensive purposes.
“If we were losing ballgames and going through that, it might make a difference,” Gardenhire said Tuesday. “But we’re winning ballgames with that combo up the middle, and I’m really happy with that part of it.”
Evan Petzold is a sports reporting intern at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.