Michael Fulmer crushed, Tarik Skubal strong in Detroit Tigers’ 10-6 loss to Blue Jays

Detroit Free Press

Evan Petzold | Detroit Free Press

DUNEDIN, Fla. — The Detroit Tigers lost 10-6 against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday at TD Ballpark. The game only lasted seven innings.

The Tigers dropped to 6-4 in Grapefruit League play.

What happened

Right-hander Michael Fulmer started for the Tigers and went two-plus innings, but he gave up three home runs — George Springer, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Alejandro Kirk — among the 13 batters he faced. Opponents had a 98.7 mph average exit velocity against Fulmer in his second start of spring training.

The highlight for the Tigers was left-hander Tarik Skubal’s three innings. He struck out four batters and allowed just one hit, without any walks or runs. His fastball reached 96.4 mph and averaged 94.8 mph.

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Starting off

Fulmer gave up seven runs on five hits and two walks, with one strikeout. His fastball averaged 93.4 mph and maxed out at 94.9 mph;  he threw 55 pitches (34 strikes) but only managed four swings-and-misses. He left  the third inning with no outs. For Fulmer’s second out of the game, he got help from center fielder Derek Hill. On a drive to the right-center gap by Bo Bichette, Hill dashed and fully extended to make the catch. (He made another leaping grab in the third inning, this time against the centerfield wall, to take extra bases from Kirk.)

At the plate

The Tigers were held to eight hits and four of those didn’t come until the final inning. In the sixth, Jeimer Candelario flied out to left field, allowing Hill — after hitting a triple off the wall in center field — to score easily for the team’s lone run to that point. Candelario finished 2-for-2 and increased his batting average to .438 this spring. In the seventh, prospect Kody Clemens plated two runs with a triple to center, and Hill added an RBI single. Infielder Ryan Kreidler, a 2019 fourth-round draft pick from UCLA, ripped an opposite-field two-run homer to right field, cutting the deficit to 10-6. The Tigers struck out nine times and took just one walk.

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On the mound

Right-hander Ben Taylor took over for Fulmer in the third inning. He gave up an RBI single to Guerrero and a three-run blast to Randal Grichuk, giving the Blue Jays a 10-0 lead before completing the frame. Upon entering in the fourth, Skubal struck out Marcus Semien (splitter) and Teoscar Hernandez (curveball). He set down Rowdy Tellez looking with a 96.4 mph fastball the next inning. He finished with four strikeouts across 50 pitches (30 strikes), earning four swings-and-misses and 11 called strikes. Skubal’s only blemish was a single allowed to Guerrero, who finished 3-for-3 with four RBIs.

Prospects

Top prospect Spencer Torkelson started at third base and went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. The 21-year-old is 0-for-13 through seven spring training games. He has eight strikeouts and three walks. In the sixth inning, he made a throwing error over the head of first baseman Rodriguez.

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Three stars

1. Skubal, 2. Hill, 3. Candelario.

Next up

Friday vs. New York Yankees in Lakeland.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

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