Spencer Turnbull’s turnaround guides Detroit Tigers to 6-1 win against Yankees

Detroit Free Press

After Detroit Tigers right-hander Spencer Turnbull found his groove on the mound, his offense provided him with run support.

The loudest punch was delivered by Jonathan Schoop, who hammered a 382-foot home run to left field for a 6-1 lead in the fifth inning. But the key runs were plated earlier in the fifth, thanks to doubles from Willi Castro and Jeimer Candelario.

Those hits helped break open the game and chase New York Yankees starter Deivi Garcia.

A turnaround from Turnbull and timely hitting sent the Tigers (21-31) to a 6-1 victory over the Yankees on Saturday at Comerica Park. Detroit has taken back-to-back games against New York and won three of its past four.

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Turnbull allowed one run on three hits and three walks, exiting to an ovation with two outs in the sixth inning. Reliever Jose Cisnero struck out Gary Sanchez with a fastball to strand Turnbull’s runners on first and second base. The Tigers starter struck out six and threw 62 of his 100 pitches for strikes.

The bullpen posted 3⅓ scoreless innings: Cisnero was followed by Daniel Norris in the seventh, Kyle Funkhouser in the eighth and Joe Jimenez in the ninth. It was Jimenez’s first time pitching the ninth since Aug. 23, 2020.

Norris pumped in swinging strikeouts with his changeup and slider, and reached 94 mph with his fastball. Funkhouser continues to carve out a high-leverage role in the bullpen by throwing strikes. He struck out Aaron Judge looking with a 97 mph sinker to complete a perfect eighth inning.

From shaky to strong

Turnbull lost command of his fastball and slider in the second inning, forcing him to throw 25 pitches — 10 strikes, 15 balls — after a strong 13-pitch first inning. He walked three batters and allowed a single as the Yankees scored the first run of the game.

The Yankees jumped out to that 1-0 lead on a much-needed 6-4-3 double play for Turnbull, as the Tigers opted to take two outs instead of going for a force at home.

Turnbull displayed his fearlessness — a product of his no-hitter May 18 against the Seattle Mariners — when he shook the mental challenges of three walks and got back to pounding the strike zone.

From that point on, Turnbull locked in. He retired 10 batters in a row, rolling through the fifth inning, while avoiding a surplus of three-ball counts. Of those 10 batters, Turnbull sat down four with strikeouts. He allowed two of his three hits in the sixth. All three hits allowed were singles.

Turnbull finished with 13 swings and misses, generating seven with his four-seam fastball and four with his slider. He chipped in 17 called strikes.

Grabbing the lead

In the bottom half of the second, the Tigers nearly blew their first scoring opportunity. Schoop took a hit-by-pitch and Nomar Mazara tossed a bloop single, but the next two batters flied out to center without advancing the runners.

But Akil Baddoo worked a walk off a 3-2 count to keep the inning alive and pack the bases, and then the Tigers capitalized on a mistake by Yankees second baseman Rougned Odor. He could have flipped the ball to second for a force, but he made a throwing error trying to cut down Castro at first base.

The result: Two runs scored, giving the Tigers a 2-1 lead.

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After helping the Tigers take lead with his bat, Castro flashed his glove at second base in the third, making a diving back-handed stop to take a single away from DJ LeMahieu (Birmingham Brother Rice). The ball came off his bat at 105.8 mph, but Castro lunged for it and threw from the ground — without a bounce — to Schoop at first base.

In the fourth inning, Eric Haase tripled to the left-center gap. Goodrum drove a first-pitch curveball to deep center for a sacrifice fly and 3-1 lead.

Finishing touches

The doubles from Castro and Candelario in the fifth inning chased Garcia after 88 pitches. He allowed five runs (all earned) on five hits and one walk across 4⅓ innings.

Miguel Cabrera’s sacrifice fly, following reliever Albert Abreu’s wild pitch, pushed the Tigers’ lead to 5-1. Then, Schoop unloaded on Abreu’s slider for a solo homer and trotted around the bases before celebrating with his teammates in the dugout.

Candelario’s double marked his 25th game in a row reaching base, the longest active streak in the majors. (He is tied with Texas Rangers first baseman Nate Lowe for the longest streak this season.)

GM TALKS: Al Avila says Tigers have ‘a lot of areas to clean up’

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzoldRead more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter

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