Kody Clemens launches Detroit Tigers to 6-3 win over Diamondbacks with first MLB home run

Detroit Free Press

PHOENIX — Detroit Tigers rookie Kody Clemens picked the perfect time for his first MLB home run.

Facing Arizona Diamondbacks left-hander Joe Mantiply, who hadn’t allowed a home run since June 2021, Clemens — a left-handed hitter — turned on a hanging curveball and put the ball into the right-field seats.

Clemens’ three-run home run snapped a tie game in the sixth inning and pushed the Tigers to a 6-3 victory Saturday in the second of three games against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field.

To set up Clemens’ big fly, Harold Castro and Robbie Grossman opened the sixth with back-to-back singles. Clemens, hitting .143 in 16 games, notched his first homer in the 35th at-bat of his career.

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The Tigers (28-43) scored their six runs on nine hits and one walk. Javier Báez extended his hitting streak to nine games with a 2-for-4 performance. Castro logged at least three hits for the seventh time this season.

Miguel Cabrera singled off reliever Note Ramirez on a line drive in the seventh inning for the 3,053rd hit of his career, tying him with Rod Carew for 27th place on the all-time MLB leaderboard.

With a 6-3 lead, the Tigers’ bullpen had to hold the lead for the  final four innings.

Left-hander Tyler Alexander pitched a scoreless fifth inning but also kept the Diamondbacks from scoring in the sixth to wrap up his two-inning outing on 24 total pitches.

For the first out in the sixth, rookie center fielder Riley Greene made a ridiculous diving catch in the right-center gap. He also had a sliding catch for the second out in the seventh.

After Alexander bridged the gap, manager A.J. Hinch then put the game in the hands of his best relievers.

Right-hander Joe Jiménez struck out two batters in his perfect seventh inning. He has struck out multiple batters in eight consecutive appearances, the longest streak since Drew VerHagen in August 2019.

In the eighth, righty Michael Fulmer worked around a leadoff single. He benefited from an inning-ending double play. Fulmer, who has a 2.00 ERA in 27 outings, has pitched 11⅔ innings in a row without an earned run.

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Left-handed closer Gregory Soto slammed the door in the ninth inning to notch his 14th save.

Mostly fine from Faedo

Right-hander Alex Faedo, making his 10th MLB start, allowed three runs on three hits and three walks with four strikeouts in four innings, throwing 42 of 75 pitches for strikes.

Through the first three innings, two batters reached safely against Faedo: Ketel Marte with five-pitch walk in the first and Jose Herrera with a single on a 2-0 fastball in the third.

Faedo surrendered all three runs with one out in the fourth inning. David Peralta launched a hanging slider to right field for a two-run home run, and Daulton Varsho hit an RBI double to right.

Before each hit, the Diamondbacks drew a walk.

Faedo bounced back by striking out Geraldo Perdomo with a full-count slider. Despite falling behind 2-0 in the count, he fired three consecutive called strikes: fastball, fastball and slider.

The next batter, Herrera, grounded out to conclude Faedo’s start.

For his 75 pitches, Faedo tossed 44 four-seam fastballs (59%), 24 sliders (32%) and seven changeups (9%). He racked up seven swings and misses — three with his slider — and 13 called strikes.

His fastball averaged 94.4 mph and topped out at 96 mph.

Taking all gifts

The Tigers scored one run in the fourth inning, two runs in the fifth and three runs in the sixth. Before Clemens’ homer, the runs in fourth and fifth were enough to keep the game knotted at three runs.

Diamondbacks starter Zach Davies gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits and one walk with two strikeouts across five innings. The veteran right-hander, like Faedo, cruised through the first three innings.

The Tigers got to Davies in the fourth, as Báez scored on Castro’s triple to right field for a 1-0 lead. Two more runs were tacked on in the fifth, thanks to a defensive mistake from Diamondbacks second baseman Buddy Kennedy.

There were two runners in scoring position for Greene, who hit a grounder to second base. Kennedy botched the play and was charged with a fielding error, which let Tucker Barnhart (walk) and Victor Reyes (double) score easily.

Those runs tied the game, 3-3.

Contact Evan Petzold at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

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