Tigers 6, Twins 4: Jason Foley to the rescue

Bless You Boys

The Tigers got big games from Spencer Torkelson, Andy Ibáñez, and Kerry Carpenter, and then survived a terrifying eighth inning to take their first series of the month with a 6-4 victory over the Twins on Father’s Day.

Happy Father’s Day to all the guys out there raising the young’uns and doing the work.

With an inexperienced starter on the mound for the Twins in the form of right-hander Louie Varland, and another bullpen day for the Tigers, this had the makings of an ugly one. Instead, the Tigers’ bullpen was superb yet again, and the bats got loose in the power department. Things did get very scary late, but a huge performance from Jason Foley got the job done.

The Tigers got it going right away. With two outs in the top of the first, Kerry Carpenter singled and Javier Báez drilled a triple off the right field wall to score him. Unfortunately Nick Maton struck out, but the Tigers had an early lead on a day where they really couldn’t afford to be pitching from behind.

Will Vest started things off for the Tigers’ pitching staff, looking for a clean inning before turning it over to the long relievers. However, he allowed a two-out single to Alex Kirilloff, and Carlos Correa followed with a single. With the left-handed Max Kepler coming to the dish in a dangerous situation, A.J. Hinch had the answer, turning to lefty Tyler Holton. The southpaw buried a breaking ball down and in and got Max Kepler swinging over it to end the inning.

Andy Ibáñez got things started up again by leading off the second with a double, and Miguel Cabrera drew a walk. Eric Haase struck out, and Jake Marisnick bounced into a force of Cabrera at second, narrowly avoiding the double play. Zach McKinstry fell behind 0-2, and Marisnick tried to steal second. He was easily cut down by Twins catcher Christian Vazquez to end the inning.

A Kyle Farmer hotshot to third opened the bottom half of the inning. Maton just missed it, and the ball rolled into foul territory down the left field line for a double. Holton struck out Joey Gallo, but Vazquez pulled a double into the left field corner to score Farmer. The lefty got the next two hitters to send us to the third.

McKinstry led off with a single but was stranded. Holton punched out Willi Castro and Kirilloff for a quiet bottom of the third, and Brendan White took over and got Correa to end the frame. Ibáñez doubled with one out in the fourth but was stranded. White struck out Kepler and Gallo again in the bottom of the fourth, looking very good in the process.

Finally in the fifth, the Tigers broke out. Marisnick tripled to left to lead off the inning. McKinstry popped out, but Spencer Torkelson turned and crushed a 420 footer to left for a two-run shot. Kerry Carpenter followed with an oppo shot into the bullpens and it was 4-1 Tigers.

However, the Tigers weren’t done. Báez singled to center and Maton drew a walk. An Ibáñez single plated Báez, and Cabrera lifted a sacrifice fly to score Maton. 6-1 Tigers.

White got the first two outs in the bottom half, and then Chasen Shreve came on to get the next three outs. Jose Cisnero finished up the final out of the sixth and cruised through the seventh with no issues.

Alex Lange took over in the eighth with Hinch very low on options. The Tigers closer was a disaster. He hit Michael A. Taylor and then walked Edouard Julien. Willi Castro golfed a curveball down to right field for a double, scoring Ryan Jeffers who pinch-ran for Castro. Lange then hit Donovan Solano with a curveball that sailed way inside to the right-hander, and then uncorked a wild pitch to score Julien. Suddenly it was 6-3 Tigers and the bases were juiced again when Lange walked Correa. Finally, Hinch had no choice but to insert Jason Foley with only Tyler Alexander and Mason Englert, who threw on Saturday, left available otherwise.

Foley really saved the Tigers in this one. Royce Lewis singled past a diving Ibáñez to make it 6-4 Tigers, but Foley got a shallow fly out from Kyle Farmer, punched out Joey Gallo despite getting squeezed a bit. He got a little squeezed against pinch-hitter Byron Buxton as well, but eventually froze him with a perfect 99 mph sinker at the bottom of the zone to escape the trap.

The Tigers went quickly in the top of the ninth, and despite burning 18 high pressure pitches in the eighth, Foley was really the only option.

He was up to the task. Foley struck out Jeffers and Julien looking, and Willi Castro lined out to left to end it.

Fantastic work from Jason Foley. Give that man a day off. Great to see Andy Ibáñez have a big day as he smacked a pair of doubles. Even better to see Torkelson continue to put the ball over the wall. He and Carpenter are giving the Tigers enough middle-of-the-order threat to get things done as we wait for Riley Greene’s return.

The Tigers took their first series victory of the month, and they’ll now head home to welcome in the Kansas City Royals. Hopefully that’s an opportunity to build some momentum as the club looks for the injured list to start clearing over the next two weeks.

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