MILWAUKEE — For the first time, the Detroit Tigers scored four runs in an inning this season.
Right-hander Spencer Turnbull limited damage through four innings of two-run ball. A trio of relievers, though the group wasn’t perfect, did enough to keep the Milwaukee Brewers from completing a comeback. As a result, the Tigers earned a 4-3 victory Tuesday in the second of three games at American Family Field.
There’s an opportunity to sweep the three-game series, which wraps up at 1:40 p.m. Wednesday.
SUPERSTARS TO THE RESCUE: Tigers’ Zach McKinstry is hitting like never before, thanks to Rafael Devers, José Ramírez
The Tigers (9-13) had scored three runs in an inning five times this season before their latest breakthrough in the 22nd game of the season, a product of healthy plate appearances from numerous players. (The offense also collected double-digit hits, finishing with 12, for the fifth time.)
Kerry Carpenter, a left-handed hitter, fueled the four-run third inning with a three-run home run off Brewers left-hander Eric Lauer’s fastball at the top of the strike zone. It was just the second hit Lauer has allowed to a lefty hitter in 2023.
The home run — Carpenter’s fourth of the year — came after Jonathan Schoop’s single and Jake Rogers’ walk. With two outs, Javier Báez (double) and Eric Haase (single) kept the inning alive and put runners on the corners.
Spencer Torkelson upped the Tigers’ lead to 4-0 with an RBI single to right field.
The Tigers received a three-hit performance from Matt Vierling, plus two-hit performances from Báez, Torkelson and Miguel Cabrera. Báez extended his hitting streak to 10 games. During the hot stretch, he has a .378 batting average (14-for-37) with three walks and seven strikeouts.
Torkelson put five balls in play — four balls with at least a 99 mph exit velocity — and still appears on the verge of a massive surge. Four balls in play traveled to Torkelson’s pull side.
In the ninth inning, the Tigers handed a 4-3 advantage to right-handed reliever Jason Foley. After completing the eighth, he retired three straight batters in the ninth for the second save of his MLB career.
‘Bull by the horns
It wasn’t easy for Turnbull.
The 30-year-old, making his fifth start of the season, allowed two runs on three hits and three walks with two strikeouts across four innings. He threw 42 of 75 pitches for strikes and generated a mere four whiffs. For the first time since April 1 — his first start of the season — he failed to pitch into the fifth inning.
TORK’S SWING RATE: Here’s why Tigers’ Spencer Torkelson is swinging more, walking less in 2023
But Turnbull battled without his best pitches.
In the third inning, after the Brewers scored their first run, Turnbull faced Rowdy Tellez, who mashes right-handed pitchers, with two outs and runners on first and second base. He worked to an 0-2 count before a curveball at the bottom of the strike zone induced an inning-ending groundout.
In the fourth inning, after the Brewers scored their second run, Turnbull matched up against Joey Wiemer (Temperance Bedford) with two outs and a runner on third base. Once again, he worked ahead to an 0-2 count. This time, a fastball at the top of the strike zone induced an inning-ending flyout.
Turnbull wasn’t sharp all the time, but he executed his pitches in the biggest moments and survived four innings.
Rowdy rumble (and tumble)
The Tigers put the game in the hands of their relief pitchers with a 4-2 lead entering the fifth inning. Left-hander Tyler Alexander tossed a scoreless fifth but surrendered a solo home run to Tellez before getting an out in the sixth.
Tellez drilled Alexander’s seventh-pitch cutter over the right-field fence.
It was his eighth homer of the season after leading the Brewers with 35 last season.
BETTER THAN THE FIRST: Michael Lorenzen bounces back with ‘simplified attack’ in second start for Tigers
Rookie right-hander Mason Englert, who recorded the first MLB win of his career, replaced Alexander. He covered the next 2⅔ scoreless innings with four strikeouts, generating 10 whiffs on 19 swings.
In the eighth inning, Luke Voit put pressure on Englert with a leadoff double, but the Rule 5 draft pick responded with back-to-back strikeouts against Willy Adames and Tellez to complete his outing.
Englert struck out Tellez with an eighth-pitch curveball in a 3-2 count.
Foley finished the final 1⅓ innings.