Offense explodes with four home runs in Detroit Tigers’ 12-4 win over San Diego Padres

Detroit Free Press

Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch provided a brief report on the San Diego Padres before Monday’s series opener.

Hinch touched on the big names, headlined by Manny Machado, the durability and success of the starting rotation and the influence of respected manager Bob Melvin. To beat the Padres, the Tigers’ skipper said his squad needed to score runs early and often against left-hander Sean Manaea.

Surprisingly, the Tigers answered the call.

“The at-bats continued,” Hinch said. “These guys were accountable to one another, and the at-bats got better as the game went on. A couple of really big innings, and then we settled in for a nice win.”

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A five-run third inning, thanks to a grand slam from catcher Eric Haase, created momentum the Tigers refused to relinquish, which led to Manaea’s early exit and a comfortable 12-4 victory in the second-ever series between the Tigers and Padres at Comerica Park.

For the fourth time in 2022, the Tigers (39-58) scored more than 10 runs in a single game. The power-deprived Tigers finally homered four times in a single game this season, doing so when Miguel Cabrera lined a solo home run to left field in the sixth inning.

“We need all the wins,” Haase said. “We haven’t been stingy as far as wins that we’ll take, whether it’s one run or eight. We need it. Just overall better at-bats, stayed on the offensive and a lot of pressure right from the get go. That was great to see.”

The home runs came from Haase in the third inning, Candelario in the fourth and fifth innings and Cabrera. Candelario, who notched his fourth multi-homer game, has nine homers and is tied with Javier Báez for the team lead.

Cabrera, now a singles hitter in his age 39 season, has four homers this season and 506 in his 20-year MLB career. He went deep for the first time since May 15 on a slider from right-hander Steven Wilson.

“I think the pull-side homer fires everybody up,” Hinch said. “He’s a little beat up. He won’t tell you, but I don’t think he’s feeling great physically all the time. But him getting in on the fun was really key. … It’s kind of vintage Miggy.”

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The Tigers scored five runs in the third, four runs in the fourth, two runs in the fifth and one run in the sixth. Manaea allowed nine runs (four earned runs) on eight hits and one walk with four strikeouts across 3⅓ innings.

Haase finished 2-for-5 with four RBIs, and Candelario went 3-for-4 with three RBIs.

“That’s what we need right now, being aggressive in the (strike) zone,” Candelario said. “That’s what we’re working really hard on. … We all need results when you work hard. That’s all we want. We want to contribute. We want results. We want to win ballgames.”

Bombs away

The big third inning began with Harold Castro reaching safely on a fielding error by first baseman Eric Hosmer. The next two batters singled to load the bases for Báez, who knotted the score at one run with a sacrifice fly on Manaea’s first-pitch slider.

Robbie Grossman copied Báez by swinging at the first pitch, but he popped out in the infield. Back-to-back outs put Manaea in a position to escape with minimal damage, but he sprayed sinkers above the strike zone and walked Cabrera on five pitches.

Once again, the bases were loaded.

Haase, the hottest hitter in the lineup, is known for crushing high velocity from left-handed pitchers. He received a second-pitch 90.7 mph sinker from Manaea and put the ball over the right-field wall for an opposite-field grand slam. A replay review reversed the call on the field from a double to a home run.

“I was pretty ecstatic with a double, honestly,” Haase said. “I thought it hit the wall hard and (the ball) kind of came back. … The dugout was telling me to come (home) anyway. They apparently knew that it hit the railing before I did, but I was very excited regardless.”

Since June 11, Haase is batting .326 (28-for-86) with six home runs and 20 RBIs in 29 games, which includes 21 starts.

To start the fourth, Candelario crushed his first home run on a full-count sinker to put the Tigers ahead 6-1. Báez, who shows no weakness against lefties, hammered Manaea’s two-strike changeup for an RBI double.

“It gives you confidence,” Candelario said. “It’s contagious. Look at what happened today. We had four home runs. Haase started, I’m the next one and then Miggy does his thing like he always does. That’s what we want. Hitters are contagious. Good vibes, and we’ll go from there.”

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The extra-base hit — Báez’s 19th double — chased Manaea from his start with one out in the fourth. He was replaced by lefty McKenzie Gore, and although the rookie recorded the final two outs against the three batters he faced, the Tigers pushed across two more runs (on a groundout and wild pitch) for a 9-1 advantage.

Candelario homered again in the fifth, this time a two-run blast on a first-pitch fastball from Gore.

“That’s what happens when you keep working hard,” Candelario said. “Be consistent, be positive and everything could change very quick.”

Coming through in the Hutch

The Tigers scored two runs in the fifth, but not before the Padres chipped away at their deficit with three runs in the top-half of the inning. Six straight batters reached safely, though one was thrown out on the bases, to force right-hander Drew Hutchison’s exit.

Across 4⅓ innings, Hutchison gave up four runs on six hits and two walks with four strikeouts. Right-handed reliever Will Vest replaced Hutchison to face the ever-dangerous Machado with two runners on and one out.

Machado struck out swinging on Vest’s wicked slider, then Nomar Mazara lined out.

“You’ll take the wait (between innings) for the runs we score every day of the week,” Hutchison said. “Look, I had an eight-run lead and didn’t get through the inning. That’s unacceptable. I need to go deep tonight. The good thing is, we won the game. The story is the offense and what they did.”

Before three runs in the fifth, the Padres scored their first run in the third inning on Jurickson Profar’s home run. He tagged a two-out, two-strike slider from Hutchison over the left-field wall, just past Grossman’s extended glove.

For Hutchison’s 80 pitches (47 strikes), the veteran used 35 four-seam fastballs (44%), 30 sliders (38%), eight sinkers (10%) and seven changeups (9%). He registered 10 swings and misses, including eight with his slider. He also notched 14 called strikes.

Righty reliever Joe Jiménez pitched a scoreless seventh inning, lefty Andrew Chafin fired a scoreless eighth and righty Jason Foley did the same in the ninth.

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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