Riley Greene, Spencer Torkelson stay hot in Detroit Tigers’ 14-8 win vs. Phillies

Detroit Free Press

LAKELAND, Fla. — The Detroit Tigers beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 14-8, on Saturday at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium, improving to 4-3 (with two ties) in Grapefruit League play.

What happened

The Tigers’ top hitting prospects — Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson — are gaining momentum in their pursuit of making their MLB debuts on Opening Day on April 8 at Comerica Park.

In the third inning, Greene and Torkelson drew back-to-back walks — on 10 pitches and eight pitches, respectively — from Phillies right-handed reliever Connor Brogdon. Greene came around to score on a sacrifice fly from Robbie Grossman for the Tigers’ first run.

In the fourth, Greene beat the shift against left-hander Damon Jones. He pushed an 0-2 slider the opposite way for a double. It was the Tigers’ first hit of the game. That scored Jeimer Candelario, cutting the Tigers’ deficit to 4-2. Hustling on the bases allowed him to stretch a single into a double.

Torkelson scored the game-tying run in the sixth inning, after hitting a second-pitch curveball from righty Michael Kelly to the left-field corner for his third double of the spring. He scored on Willi Castro’s two-out double, evening the score at 6-all.

Harold Castro produced the Tigers’ go-ahead run with an RBI single off lefty Jeff Singer as part of an eight-run seventh inning.

Greene, 21, finished 1-for-1 with one double, one RBI and one walk; Torkelson, 22, went 1-for-2 with one double and one walk. Greene is hitting .333 in seven games, while Torkelson is hitting .313 in seven games.

Starting out

Right-hander Matt Manning was roughed up in his second spring training start, allowing four runs (one earned) on five hits with three strikeouts.

A three-run second doomed Manning.

The Phillies’ first three batters in the inning: Rhys Hoskins (flyout to center), Johan Camargo (fielding error by second baseman Jonathan Schoop) and Alec Bohm (swinging strikeout on 81.8 mph slider).

Schoop’s fielding error forced Manning to face Matt Vierling, who hit a hanging slider for an RBI triple to put the Phillies ahead 1-0. Then, former No. 1 overall pick Mickey Moniak crushed Manning’s fastball for a two-run home run to center. Manning struck out Kyle Schwarber on three pitches — sending him down swinging with a 94.8 mph fastball — to conclude the second frame. All three runs were unearned because of Schoop’s mistake.

The Phillies went up, 4-0, with two outs in the fourth inning, as Hoskins tagged Manning’s 92.9 mph sinker for a 447-foot solo home run. Manning struck out Bohm looking with a fastball to finish his outing.

For his 50 pitches (35 strikes), Manning used 24 four-seam fastballs (48%), 11 curveballs (22%), six sliders (12%), five changeups (10%) and four sinkers (8%). He recorded seven swings and misses: two each with his four-seamer, slider and changeup and one with his curveball. He logged eight called strikes, including two with his curveball.

His fastball averaged 94 mph.

At the plate

Although Greene and Torkelson played key roles, shortstop Javier Baez produced the momentum-shifting hit. After Eric Haase and Grossman worked walks, Baez ripped a two-run double to right field. He cut the Phillies’ lead to 6-4 in the fifth inning.

In the next inning, Derek Hill hit a solo home run to spark a two-run sixth.

The Tigers went ahead 7-6 on Harold Castro’s RBI single in the seventh, and Ryan Lavarnway upped the margin to 9-6 with a two-run single to center off right-hander Andrew Schultz. Haase followed with a 416-foot home run, for three runs to give the Tigers a 12-6 lead.

Trei Cruz, from minor-league camp, started the seventh with a walk. For his second plate appearance in the inning, he hit a two-run double to the right-field corner to make it 14-6.

On the mound

Left-handed closer Gregory Soto replaced Manning and struck out two of the three batters he faced in the fourth inning. He threw 11 of 16 pitches for strikes, maxing out at 98.8 mph with his sinker.

A throwing error by Baez put Jean Segura on first base with one out in the fifth inning against right-hander Will Vest. Didi Gregorius put the Phillies in the driver’s seat, 6-2, with a two-run home run. Vest returned for the sixth and pitched a scoreless inning.

Right-hander Michael Fulmer fired a scoreless seventh inning. He threw 13 of 18 pitches for strikes and sat around 92 mph with his fastball. Lefty Andrew Chafin allowed two runs on four hits in the eighth, but he retired consecutive batters to escape further damage.

Jacob Barnes, a righty, pitched a scoreless ninth.

Three stars

1. Baez, 2. Greene, 3. Soto.

Next up

Sunday vs. Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota.

Contact Evan Petzold at or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzoldRead more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

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