For what seems like the first time in 2022, the Detroit Tigers had a replay review and the umpires on their side in a 4-3 win over the Cleveland Guardians on Tuesday night. The victory was bookended by two big calls that helped the Tigers in crucial moments, both of which were the correct calls according to replay, as the Tigers even up the season series against the Guardians.
The Tigers had a bit of an unexpected rally in the first inning, thanks to the first replay challenge. After two quick outs on five pitches, Javier Báez drew a rare walk that brought up Harold Castro. He chopped a slow roller up the middle which hit second base and popped over the head of shortstop Tyler Freeman, trickling into left field. Báez initially hesitated to head to third for some reason, but then broke for home once he realized the ball was over Freeman’s head. That hesitation let Freeman grab the ball and throw a strike to Austin Hedges at home where Báez was called out.
But, AJ Hinch challenged the play because he thought Hedges did not give Báez a clear lane to the plate. The umpires reviewed the play and it was overturned, giving the Tigers their first run while also extending the inning. Kerry Carpenter followed with a home run to right-center and just like that the Tigers had a 3-0 lead.
Garrett Hill took the mound in the bottom of the first inning and got into a jam right away, as Teven Kwan and Amed Rosario led off with back-to-back singles. Jose Ramirez grounded into a forceout, allowing the run to score and cutting the Tiger’s lead to two. A wild pitch moved Ramirez to second and suddenly the Guardians has two in scoring position with one out.
But Hill kept the damage to a minimum by getting a pop-out and another groundout to end the threat. Both teams would go quietly in order in the second inning.
The Tigers increased their lead back to three runs in the third inning. Victor Reyes led off with a single and came around to score on a one-out double from Harold Castro. Kerry Carpenter followed with a single to move Castro to third, but that would be all the Tigers would get that inning as Jonathan Schoop grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Hill would lock in and straight shove for the next four innings. He completely shut down the Guardian’s offense only allowing a hit and a pair of walks in the next four innings. He spotted his fastball and worked in his breaking stuff to great effect to get weak contact and easy outs as he notched his longest outing of the year since his six-inning outing in his debut game. His final line was outstanding: six innings, four hits, one run, two walks, and three strikeouts.
The Tigers were happy to see him pitch that well because the offense suddenly developed a bad case of TTBDNS. In the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, the Tigers would put runners on first and second during the inning but they could not score any of those potential runs. In all, they would leave eight runners on base and four in scoring position over those four innings.
After Hill departed, Jason Foley took over but gave up a run partly because of a missed catch by Harold Castro that would allow Freeman to get to second right from the start. A fly out and a ground out later the Guardians had cut the Tigers’ lead to two. Joe Jimenez took over in the eighth inning and ran into more trouble.
Rosario led off with a triple that got over the head of Riley Greene and scored on a single from Jose Ramirez. Fortunately, Jimenez cut off the scoring by getting a strikeout, pop-out, and a groundout from the heart of the Guardians order.
The Tigers went quietly in order in the top of the ninth inning and handed a one-run lead to Gregory Soto in the bottom of the ninth. Freemen hit a leadoff double to get the rollercoaster started, and Hedges bunted him over to third to put the tying run 90 feet away with one out.
Once again, a debated call would go the Tigers’ way. With a 2-2 count, Myles straw swung and missed on a slider down which was originally ruled a foul tip dropped strike, but after Hinch asked for the umpires to talk with each other, they changed the call to strike 3, which was the correct call according to the replay. Terry Francona immediately came out and was ejected, along with Myles Straw for arguing the call. Kwan then grounded out to Soto to end the game.
- Kerry Carpenter reached base four times tonight, with a home run, single, and two walks.
- Garrett Hill recorded his third straight start with one earned run allowed. He has a 1.62 ERA in his three starts in August and has pitched at least 5.1 innings each time.
- The Tigers recorded their first consecutive wins since the end of their six-game winning streak from July 4-8.
- The Tigers have a chance to take a season series from Cleveland for the first time since 2015. Since 2016, the Mistakes Across the Lake have amassed a 77-27 record going into 2022. A series win would be a big moral victory in such a terrible year for the Tigers.