Cleveland’s Triston McKenzie nearly makes history; Detroit Tigers lose 11-0 with one hit

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Tigers showed up to the ballpark Sunday, but the results were ugly.

Cleveland starter Triston McKenzie completed 7⅔ perfect innings before Harold Castro lined a fastball for a single into right field to break up the historic attempt, nine years to the day after MLB’s last brush with perfection. (Felix Hernandez threw MLB’s 23rd perfect game on Aug. 15, 2012.)

After retiring the first 23 batters, McKenzie finished his outing with eight innings of one-hit ball, no walks and 11 strikeouts. The Tigers (58-62) made too many mistakes in Sunday’s 11-0 loss to Cleveland at Comerica Park, punctuated by giving up six runs in the second inning and five runs in the third.

“He had his way through our entire lineup until that last swing by Harold,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said. “Harold probably had the two best swings of the day against him — the deep fly ball to left-center and the base hit to end the no-hit and perfect game bid. Not a great day for us on a lot of levels. Luckily, we get an off day to get this feeling out of the way.”

Cleveland closer Emmanuel Clase pitched a perfect ninth inning.

The Tigers went 1-for-28 with one single and 13 strikeouts.

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Defensively, the Tigers were charged with two errors. The total could have been at least five, but the official scorekeeper seemed generous.

One home run away from No. 500, Miguel Cabrera did not reach his piece of history during the three-game series with Cleveland. As fans stood for each plate appearance, he went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts Sunday.

Over the weekend, the 38-year-old Cabrera was 1-for-9 with one walk, one hit-by-pitch and three strikeouts.

McKenzie, 24, threw 73 of 106 pitches for strikes. He recorded 21 swings and misses: eight with his four-seam fastball, eight with his curveball and five with his slider.

He used 70 fastballs, 22 curveballs and 14 sliders.

“He controlled all his pitches,” Jonathan Schoop said. “I don’t want to say pressure, but it added a little bit. You see he’s got a perfect game going on, and everybody’s trying to get a hit. Nobody wants him to throw a perfect game. He was on his A-game today.”

Greiner drops ball

Facing Tigers starter Drew Hutchison — making his first MLB appearance since 2018 — Bradley Zimmer opened the second inning with a double. Oscar Mercado’s ensuing single put runners on the corners.

Owen Miller then hit the ball to Schoop at second base.

Making a gutsy decision, Schoop opted to throw home instead of trying for a double play. His throw beat Zimmer to the plate and would have kept Cleveland from scoring, but catcher Grayson Greiner dropped it for the Tigers’ first error.

“I see it as an aggressive mistake,” Hinch said. “We’re playing back to get the sure out, and in that situation, sure, two outs based on how hard he hit it and Schoop’s ability to turn the double play by himself. … Schoop really, I think, should take the play at second and then try to turn the double play.”

Schoop added: “Maybe if you think back, I would have taken the double play. But I’m an aggressive player. If I feel like I can get something, I’m not scared to do it. I felt like I had a good chance to get him out at home and maybe the next batter makes a double play and we get out of the inning with zero runs. But it didn’t go our way.”

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Cleveland collected 14 hits and three walks, getting multi-hit performances from Miller (2-for-5), Mercado (2-for-5), Myles Straw (2-for-4, one RBI), Amed Rosario (2-for-5, three RBIs), Jose Ramirez (2-for-5, three RBIs) and Austin Hedges (2-for-5, two RBIs).

Ramirez crushed his 26th homer of the season, a two-run blast, for a 6-0 lead in the second.

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Newcomer gets rocked

On the other end of the damage was Hutchison, called up Sunday morning from Triple-A Toledo. To make room for the 30-year-old on the 40-man roster, righty reliever Buck Farmer was designated for assignment.

Hutchison allowed six runs (two earned) on five hits and three walks over 1⅔ innings. He struck out one batter and threw 52 pitches (27 strikes). His next start is scheduled for Sunday in Toronto.

“It’s frustrating,” Hutchison said. “We had a chance to win the series, and I put us behind the 8-ball right away. Just make adjustments, try to wipe it and move on. That’s really all you can do.”

Left-handed reliever Ian Krol gave up five runs (four earned) on five hits over the next 1⅓ innings. Ramirez notched his 23rd double this season to score Cleveland’s final run for an 11-0 lead.

The Tigers ended their pitching performance with scoreless efforts from Derek Holland (three innings), Erasmo Ramirez (two innings) and Joe Jimenez (one inning).

“It’s hard to assess Hutch’s day,” Hinch said. “It was just a complete mess for two innings. We didn’t do him any favors. He obviously misexecuted on a few pitches and paid for it. The game turned downhill in a hurry.”

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

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