Swept in Seattle, Tigers waste Kody Clemens’ grand slam in nightcap

Detroit News

Seattle — On the penultimate day of a long and mostly frustrating season, the Tigers played two long and mostly frustrating baseball games against the playoff-bound Seattle Mariners Tuesday at T-Mobile Park.

In the first game they were beaten 7-6 in 10 innings, losing two late leads and failing to do enough damage against a catcher (Luis Torrens) who pitched the top of the 10th inning.

In the nightcap, rookie Kody Clemens launched his first career grand slam to take the Tigers from a 4-1 deficit to a 5-4 lead in the fifth inning.

But, just like their 5-3 lead in the seventh in Game 1, it didn’t last the inning. The Mariners stormed back to score three times in the bottom of the fifth and won the nightcap, 9-6.

BOX SCORE: Mariners 9, Tigers 6

Rookie right-hander Elvin Rodriguez, called up from Triple-A Toledo to serve as the 29th man for the doubleheader, bore the brunt of the onslaught. He took over for reliever/opener Will Vest, who didn’t get out of the first inning, and labored for 3.2 innings.

“It wasn’t how it was scripted,” manager AJ Hinch said.

Rodriguez gave up a two-run home run to Abraham Toro in the fourth and a solo homer to Cal Raleigh in the fifth. He was at 94 pitches and had the bases loaded and one out when he was pulled in the fifth.

Garrett Hill, working with inherited runners for the first time since moving to the bullpen, gave up a two-run single to Toro before getting out of the inning.

It was Rodriguez’s seventh big-league appearance and it’s been a brutal baptism. He’s got 35 runs and 12 home runs on his ledger in 29.2 innings with 15 walks and 25 strikeouts.

The Mariners scored twice more in the sixth. Hill gave up three singles to start the inning and then drilled Dylan Moore with a 93-mph two-seamer to force in a run. It was the second time Moore was plunked with the bases loaded. Vest got him in the first inning. Two painful but free RBI.

Tigers pitchers walked four, hit two and gave up 12 hits through the first six innings.

“We weren’t even managing competitively at that point,” Hinch said. “Just how many arms can we use to get through the game for both sides.”

Rookie first baseman Spencer Torkelson, who entered the day in a 1-for-30 drought, broke out.

He homered in both games and collected five hits. He launched a 426-foot bomb that cleared the out-of-town scoreboard in left-center in Game 1. His homer in Game 2, which came in the sixth and made it a 7-6 game at the time, traveled 409 feet in the same direction.

“I saw the ball well today,” said Torkelson, who has eight home runs on the year. “Obviously we didn’t get the wins we wanted. But I felt good at the plate. Definitely something to build on and take into tomorrow.”

Torkelson came into the game hitting under .200 but had been hitting the ball harder and more consistently of late, even if the results weren’t there.

“It’s nice to see some hard work pay off,” Hinch said. “He’s been grinding a little bit and he starting to get rewarded for some good swings. The pull power was nice to see. Hopefully he will finish strong tomorrow and leave with a deep breath and a little bit of success.”

The one Tigers pitcher to quiet the Mariners’ offense was lefty Daniel Norris, who will finish what has been a turbulent year for him with 9.1 straight scoreless, one-hit innings with 11 strikeouts. He got six straight outs Tuesday, punching out four.

The Tigers will take a 66-95 record into the season finale Wednesday.


Twitter: @cmccosky

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