The Detroit Tigers were forced to wait through a two-hour, 10-minute rain delay before starting the second of four games against the Texas Rangers.
Once the contest began at 9:20 p.m., the Tigers (45-51) were steady in all facets en route to five consecutive wins. They picked up a 4-1 victory Tuesday at Comerica Park, fueled by a pair of solo home runs and left-handed starter Tarik Skubal’s six innings of one-run ball.
Detroit is 36-27 since May 8 and 5-0 since the All-Star break.
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The Tigers grabbed the lead, 2-1, in the fifth inning when Eric Haase hammered a slider from Rangers starter Dane Dunning beyond the wall in left-center field. It was Haase’s 14th in 48 games this season.
Because the Rangers are monitoring Dunning’s innings, he was pulled with two outs in the fifth inning — after 72 pitches — and replaced by Josh Sborz. The next batter, Jonathan Schoop, singled to right field for a 3-1 margin.
Dunning allowed three runs on four hits and one walk over 4⅔ innings. He struck out two.
Skubal allows one run
The strong outing from Skubal started with a jam in the first inning. He allowed a double and single with one out, putting runners on the corners. All-Star Joey Gallo popped out to shortstop for the second out.
Skubal escaped the jam with a throw to first base. With Jonah Heim at the plate, the 24-year-old rookie threw to Schoop at first base. They put Garcia in a rundown, which led to Eli White trying to score from third base. Schoop fired the ball to Haase, who applied the tag at home plate, ending the first inning.
That’s when Skubal got on a roll, retiring the next 11 batters in a row.
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Following Garcia’s one-out single in the first inning, the Rangers didn’t put another run on the bases until Nate Lowe’s one-out single in the fifth inning. Lowe scored on Andy Ibanez’s double to right field, which ricochetted off the base of the wall, for the first run against Skubal.
But Skubal sent down the next five batters, finishing his outing after six innings.
He allowed one run on four hits, did not concede a walk and struck out four. He threw 56 of 83 pitches for strikes generated four swings and misses with his changeup.
Grossman tags Dunning (again)
The Tigers last faced Dunning in a 10-5 loss on July 6 at Globe Life Field in Texas. In that game, Dunning kept his opponents at bay with five innings of one-hit ball, striking out six batters. The lone hit against Dunning came from Robbie Grossman, who homered in the fourth inning.
Grossman picked up where he left off with a first-inning home run Tuesday at Comerica Park, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead. He tagged a first-pitch sinker, which traveled 425 feet into the right-field seats.
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It was the second-longest home run of Grossman’s nine-year MLB career.
Grossman has 14 home runs across 91 games this season, tying him for his combined 2019 and 2020 totals. For the Oakland Athletics, Grossman punched six home runs (in 138 games) two years ago and eight homers (in 51 games) last season.
After Skubal’s eight-pitch top of the sixth inning, the Tigers tacked on an additional run. Jeimer Candelario ripped his 22nd double, and Harold Castro plated him with a two-out single to left field for a 4-1 lead.
Right-hander Kyle Funkhouser took over in the seventh. He struck out two batters, including punching out Gallo swinging with a 98 mph fastball, in a perfect inning. Righty Jose Cisnero delivered a perfect eighth frame, giving way to lefty Gregory Soto in the ninth.
Like Funkhouser and Cisnero, Soto was perfect. The trio of arms went nine up, nine down in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. They combined for six strikeouts, including three from Soto. He struck out Garcia swinging with a 99 mph fastball to end the game.
Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.