The Tigers fell 6-2 in game one of a four-game set from Comerica Park with a generally lackluster effort from the home team.
Drew Hutchison got out to a solid start in this one. He issued a leadoff walk to Yandy Diaz, and was fortunate that a Brandon Lowe drive to center was hauled in by Riley Greene, but Isaac Paredes popped up and Hutchison got a ground out from Ji-Man Choi to avoid any damage in the first inning.
In the second, the defense helped Hutch out again. Randy Arozarena beat out an infield chopper to get the leadoff man on for the second inning in a row, but Harold Castro made a great stop on a David Peralta ground ball, fired to Báez at second, and then got back in position to receive the throw back to complete a 3-6-3 double play. New Rays’ acquisition Jose Siri doubled down the left field line, but shortstop Taylor Walls lined out to Daz Cameron in right field to end the half inning.
Meanwhile Jeffrey Springs was having no trouble, striking out four Tigers across the first two innings.
The Rays broke through first in the top of the third inning. Diaz walked again on four straight pitches with one out. Chris Fetter came out to chat with Hutchison before he faced out, and for once things did not go well at all after a visit. Brandon Lowe again hit the ball hard, but this time he lifted it to the pull field for a two-run homer. Paredes popped out again, but a pair of singles followed and the Rays threatened a big inning. Fortunately Peralta lined out to Báez to end the inning.
The Tigers bats perked up in the bottom half and they were able to tie things up. Cameron pulled a ground ball through the left side of the infield, and Harold Castro reached on a Diaz error at third. Another error on Diaz followed as Victor Reyes reached as well, and the bases were juiced as the batting order turned over.
Riley Greene brought home a run with a fly ball to center field. Cameron tagged and scored, and Báez followed with a grounder through the right side and Castro raced around from second to score. The throw to the plate from Arozarena allowed Reyes to take third and Báez advanced to second on the play. Miguel Cabrera pulled a grounder to Walls at shortstop, and he was able to cut down Reyes at home. Springs turned again to heavy doses of the changeup to right-handers and was able to carve up Eric Haase to escape any further trouble. The opportunities missed here would haunt the Tigers, but they did even things up at two apiece.
Hutchison looked to hold serve in the top of the fourth and he got two speedy outs as Jose Siri grounded out to Schoop, and Walls whiffed on a good slider to strike out. Christian Bethancourt singled through the left side on a grounder that was just out of reach for Báez, and then Diaz reached for the third time on a Báez error. Suddenly the Rays had a two-out threat without anything all that hard hit, and Lowe was back at the dish. He came through for the Rays again, ripping a line drive to right field. Bethancourt scored and Diaz advanced to third, where he then raced home on a wild pitch from Hutchison. Just like that, a couple of mistakes turned a two-out, none on scenario into two quick runs, and the Tigers wouldn’t recover.
Springs had their number the rest of his outing. The bottom of the fifth started with a Harold Castro double, but Harold made the wrong call on a Victor Reyes ground ball to shortstop and breaking for third where Walls got him with a quick throw to third. Riley Greene bounced into a double play, and the Tigers wouldn’t find many other opportunities as their mistakes continued to give games away.
For his part, Hutchison did his job and gave the Tigers six innings without much damage that wasn’t self-inflicted. Báez led off the the sixth with a single, and a ground out from Cabrera and a sharp fly out from Haase advanced the Tigers shortstop to third with two outs, but Candelario flew out to center.
One of the rare fun moments in this one came in the sixth when a foul ball met a beer, and forged new friendships.
There was also this minor robbery of Bethancourt by Victor Reyes. There weren’t many highlight, folks.
Alex Lange took over in the seventh and he had Lowe’s number, striking him out on three pitches. However he then walked Isaac Paredes and Ji-Man Choi on eight straight balls. A mound visit followed, but again didn’t help a thing as Lange wild pitched both runners up 90 feet. Arozarena pulled a line drive to left on a 3-2 curveball that stayed up and Paredes cruised home to make it 5-2. Lange managed to compose himself and struck out Peralta and Siri to end the inning.
Springs left the game after six, with lefty Colin Poche taking over in the bottom of the seventh and quickly racking up three easy outs. Will Vest did the same for Detroit in the top of the eighth, but Brooks Raley set the Tigers down in order as well.
Now down three in the top of the ninth, A.J. Hinch put Wily Peralta in the game as his first appearance off the injured list. Lowe greeted him with a ground ball, but Paredes bounced one back to Peralta who fired to second to start a double play. Ji-Man Choi singled to left with two outs, and once more the Rays came through with the clutch knock as Arozarena ripped a double into the left field corner. Choi scored and the relay from Reyes to Báez to home was another poor throw that got away from Haase as Arozarena advanced to third. That one, at least, did not come back to bite the Tigers as David Peralta grounded out.
Ralph Garza Jr. came on to close it out for the Rays, and while he got Cabrera to fly out, things quickly got interesting as Haase pulled a single into left field and Candelario pulled a ground ball through the side to put two on with only one out. That left Schoop with an opportunity to keep the line moving with a potential tying run on deck in Daz Cameron, but he pulled a ground ball to Diaz who stepped on third to get Haase for the second out. Cameron followed with a ground ball to shortstop, and that was that.
Bryan Garcia will make his second start for the Tigers on Friday night with Corey Kluber on the mound for the Rays.
We insist that this idea come to fruition, Tigers.
It is my sincerest hope that along with Lou’s number 1 being retired on August 6, that the @tigers announce that they are also going to erect a statue at Comerica Park of Tram and Lou turning a double play! Please retweet to let the @DetroitTigersPR know your feelings about this! pic.twitter.com/7ptaKPVRtD
— Iffy The Dopester (@IffyTheDopester) July 28, 2022