Detroit — The Tigers played host to the San Diego Padres Monday for the first time since 2005 and treated them just as rudely as they did back then.
In fact, this is the third time the Padres have visited Detroit in their history and they’ve yet to taste victory. The Tigers won three straight games and clinched the 1984 World Series against them at Tiger Stadium. They swept them in a three-game set in 2005, too.
And here we are, 17 years later and nothing’s changed (well, sort of).
Eric Haase’s grand slam triggered a five-run third inning and sent the Tigers to a 12-4 win over the Padres at Comerica Park.
“We need all the wins we can get,” Haase said. “We haven’t been stingy as far as what wins we’ll take — one run or right runs. We need it big. For our offense to step up like that, it was good to see.”
The Tigers came in ranked last in baseball with 54 home runs, 20 fewer than any other team. Haase’s blast, which was initially ruled a double, was one of four they knocked out of the park against the Padres.
“I was pretty ecstatic with the double, honestly,” Haase said. “I thought it had hit the wall and came back. I didn’t know what was going on and then I saw the replay. That was one of the stranger ones, but I’ll take a homer any way, shape or form.”
Jeimer Candelario, who had been struggling mightily at the plate and in the field, unleashed two home runs – both no-doubters to left. The first one, a 404-foot solo shot, started a four-run fourth inning. The second was a 418-foot, two-run blast in the fifth.
“That’s what happens when you keep working hard and you stay consistent and be positive,” he said.
Candelario, who came in hitting .213 with two homers and six RBI in July, had three hits in the game and is tied with Javier Báez for the team lead with nine home runs.
“We all need results when you’re working hard,” Candelario said. “You guys come in here and that’s what you want. That’s what we all want. We want to contribute. We want results and we want to win ballgames.
“We’ve got to keep it going.”
Both his home runs Monday (and seven of his nine on the year) came from the right-side of the plate against left-handed pitchers – starter Sean Manaea and reliever MacKenzie Gore.
The first one came on a 3-2 sinker, a pitch that Manaea has used to earn 61 of his 101 strikeouts this season. The second came on a first-pitch fastball by Gore.
“Aggressive, that’s what we need,” Candelario said. “Aggressive in the zone. The guys swung the bat tonight. That’s what we need.”
For Haase, his second career slam was a continuation of a sizzling stretch. He came in hitting .304 and slugging .565 since June 1 with six home runs. Going back to the start of 2021, Haase has hit 30 home runs in 158 games.
“I love the energy Haase brings to his at-bats,” manager AJ Hinch said. “And then when the results come with it, we’re a different team.”
In the sixth, Miguel Cabrera swatted the 506th homer of his career, the fourth this season and his first since May 15 – a span of 204 plate appearances. Cabrera stayed on a low, 79-mph slider by reliever Steven Wilson and drove it into the seats behind the Tigers’ bullpen in left.
“I’m tired,” Cabrera joked afterward. “First time I’ve run around the bases in years.”
Manaea’s four previous starts against Detroit came when he pitched for Oakland and all four were quality starts. Different story Monday. He was tagged for nine runs (four earned) and eight hits in 3.1 innings.
The five-run third inning started when first baseman Eric Hosmer booted a ground ball by Harold Castro. Willi Castro and Riley Greene both singled to load the bases. Greene’s caromed off Manaea and seemed to shake him up.
He recorded only two outs after that.
Gore left the game in the fifth with an apparent injury.
The Tigers were a bit more gracious to their guests in the top of the fifth.
Starter Drew Hutchison had cruised through the first four innings, a solo home run by Jurickson Profar the only smear. But things went awry in the fifth. Hosmer reached on an infield hit (a failed glove flip by Baez) and Jorge Alfaro dunked a broken-bat single to shallow center.
Trent Grisham then hit a fly ball to right. Routine play except right fielder Willi Castro lost the ball. It fell several feet behind him.
The Padres scored three times in the inning, but it might’ve been worse if not for the rocket arm of second baseman Jonathan Schoop. Ha-Seong Kim followed Grisham with a two-run single but he got hung up between first and second on the throw to the plate.
Haase fired the ball to Schoop who was covering second. Kim had retreated to first but Schoop’s bullet-throw nabbed him.
The Padres didn’t seriously threaten the rest of the way against the Tigers’ bullpen (Will Vest, Joe Jimenez, Andrew Chafin and Jason Foley).
The win snaps the Tigers’ three-game losing streak.
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