Tigers blow lead in ninth, drop ninth straight

Detroit News

Detroit — This one is going to leave a mark.

The Tigers were one strike away from snapping their eight-game losing streak Sunday. That strike never came.

The Arizona Diamondbacks scored four runs in the top of the ninth off reliever Jason Foley to extend the Tigers’ misery, sweeping the series with a 7-5 win at Comerica Park. The Tigers remain winless in June, nine straight losses.

BOX SCORE: Diamondbacks 7, Tigers 5

Corbin Carroll, who had tripled and doubled, singled in one run in the ninth. Christian Walker plated two with a two-out, two-strike double and Geraldo Perdomo singled in the fourth run.

That outburst ruined what was shaping up to be a rare good day for the Tigers.

They banged out 10 hits, including three for extra bases, against one of the premier right-handed pitchers in the game, Zac Gallen. They hadn’t done that in a while. They’d been beaten by a right-handed starter in all eight of the losses.

Kerry Carpenter, who is 8 for 12 since coming off the injured list, led the charge against Gallen with three hits. Jake Marisnick, who came in hitting .160, also had a pair of hits. Zack McKinstry had the big blow, a three-run homer in the fourth inning.

And, last but not least, lefty Joey Wentz got right. He needed that as much or more than the team needed that.

Manager AJ Hinch deployed an opener for the second time in a week, starting reliever Will Vest.

“We’ve got to give Joey a different look,” Hinch said before the game. “Either it changes the third time through the order for him or it just breaks the continued grind that he’s been in.”

Wentz had allowed 27 runs in his last seven starts covering 29.1 innings with opponents hitting .366 and slugging .634 against him.

It didn’t look good at first. After Vest pitched a scoreless first, Wentz walked Evan Longoria and gave up a two-run home run to Pavin Smith.

The Tigers are expected to pitch all relievers against the Braves on Monday, so there was added weight to Wentz’s ability to regather and eat some innings. Which is exactly what he did.

Wentz set down 12 straight before walking Ketel Marte to start the sixth. He got the Tigers to the backend of their bullpen with a lead — job well done.

But it was the offense, finally, that set the tone.

Gallen came in with a 2.75 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP, but it was evident early that he didn’t have his best stuff. The velocity on his fastball was down 2 mph and that seemed to have a trickle-down impact on the sharpness of his secondary pitches.

The Tigers nicked him in the first inning with three straight two-out hits. Carpenter and Javier Báez singled and Nick Maton followed with a ground-rule double, scoring Carpenter.

They got him again in the third inning. Spencer Torkelson hit a line drive double off the wall in left field, the ball left his bat at 109 mph. He went to third on Carpenter’s second single of the game and scored on a sacrifice fly by Baez.

The Tigers had some fun in the fourth.

Miguel Cabrera slapped a one-out single. It was his 3,111th career hit, moving him past Dave Winfield into 22nd place all-time. Cabrera then turned back the clock, scoring from first on a bullet double to the left-center gap by Jake Marisnick.

McKinstry capped the inning with his fifth home run. He’d been in an 0-for-17 skid before launching a first-pitch cutter over the wall in right field.

The three-run shot ended up being the killing blow, but there was drama.

McKinstry saved a run in the sixth with a spectacular diving catch running toward the line in right field. Then in the seventh, the Diamondbacks brought the tying run to the plate, sending Hinch into playoff-manager mode.

With runners at second and third and two outs, Arizona manager Torey Lovullo sent up right-handed pinch-hitter Emmanuel Rivera to bat against lefty reliever Chasen Shreve. Hinch was already anticipating that. He had Alex Lange up and ready.

In the seventh inning.

Lange, who was coming off two rough outings, struck out Rivera to end the threat.

It got sticky in the eighth, too. Carroll doubled with one out against Lange and then stole third base without a throw. It was his 19th stolen base on the season and he scored on a ground ball.

Lange was pulled after he gave up a double to Walker. Lefty Tyler Holton walked the first two hitters he faced to load the bases. Unfazed, he got out of it, striking out Nick Ahmed.

Hinch still had Foley to close it out. Foley hadn’t allowed a run in his last six outings and had allowed only four earned runs all season. Didn’t work out.


Twitter: @cmccosky

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