Detroit – The games must go on.
Just a couple of hours after saying goodbye to manager Ron Gardenhire, who announced his retirement Saturday afternoon, effective immediately, the Tigers erupted for four runs in the bottom of the eighth to beat the Cleveland Indians 5-2 at Comerica Park.
The win, the 500th career victory for interim manager Lloyd McClendon, snapped the Tigers’ three-game losing streak.
Stymied for the first seven innings, the Tigers sent nine hitters to the plate in the eighth.
Harold Castro, who drove in the first run with a two-out double in the first inning, got it started with a walk against reliever Phil Maton. With one out, Niko Goodrum singled to left. Eric Haase, the former Indian who earlier got his first base hit as a Tiger, followed with a sharp single to center to tie the game.
Rookie Daz Cameron followed with a single to right field, scoring Goodrum. That ended Maton’s night, but Cam Hill didn’t fare any better. He walked pinch-hitter Miguel Cabrera (who was a late scratch with a non-COVID illness) and, with the bases loaded, Victor Reyes.
The fourth run scored on a sacrifice fly by Willi Castro.
Tigers starter Spencer Turnbull gave the Tigers a strong six innings, before he was lifted after giving up a lead-off double in the seventh to Franmil Reyes.
Daniel Norris took over and stranded Reyes at third base, striking out Roberto Perez and pinch-hitter Jordan Luplow.
In the eighth, it was reliever Jose Cisnero who bailed out Norris. With runners at first and third and one out, Cisnero got Jose Ramirez to line out to first baseman Jeimer Candelario, who alertly made a scrambling tag on Cesar Hernandez trying to dive back to first.
Those ended up being key holds by the Tigers’ bullpen.
It was an efficient outing for Turnbull. Five of his six completed innings were clean – three up, three down. The Indians got to him in the third when Ramirez lined a two-out, two-run double into the right-center gap.
He struck out seven (15 swings-and-misses, seven each with his four-seam fastball and slider) without any walks.