Kerry Barrels: Carpenter’s two home runs ignite Tigers’ series-clinching win in Seattle

Detroit News

Seattle – Kerry Carpenter said he felt “freedom and peace” walking into the batter’s box on Friday.

“That helps me see the ball so much better,” he said.

It must look about the size of a beach ball right now.

After hitting a two-run home run in the first inning Friday, he doubled down on Saturday, blasting two more and igniting the Tigers’ 6-0 win over the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park.

Both home runs, his 10th and 11th, came against Seattle’s All-Star right-hander George Kirby. He lined an opposite-field solo home run to left leading off the second inning for the first Tigers run.

Then he capped a four-run fifth inning with a majestic, 431-foot three-run blast into the seats in right field. Both home runs came off mid-90s fastballs. It was the first multi-homer game of his young career.

Kerry Bonds. Kerry Barrels. He’s slugging his way into his nicknames.

Five of the Tigers’ six runs were scored with two outs. In the third inning, Zach McKinstry doubled and scored on a single by Riley Greene.

Greene kept the fifth inning alive with a two-out walk. Spencer Torkelson delivered an RBI single ahead of Carpenter’s big blast.

Miguel Cabrera, who has hit safely in 18 of his last 25 games, rapped two, two-strike singles off Kirby. Both were off 96-mph fastballs.

The run support was appreciated but not much needed by Tigers All-Star righty Michael Lorenzen. He stifled the Mariners’ offense on two hits in 6.2 scoreless innings. He tied his season high seven strikeouts.

The only blemish on his night were five walks. But two of them were deleted by double-play balls and two of them came to the last two batters he faced in the seventh.

BOX SCORE: Tigers 6, Mariners 0

The walks belie the overall efficiency of his performance. He needed only 75 pitches to breeze through six innings. And he got the first two outs in the seventh in seven pitches. The walks to Eugenio Suarez and Cal Raleigh seemed anomalous.

But at 97 pitches, Tigers manager AJ Hinch summoned right-hander Beau Brieske to end the inning. Brieske, who has spent most of the season on the injured list with a nerve issue in his right elbow, made his 2023 by punching out Mike Ford on four pitches to keep the zero on Lorenzen’s ledger.

Lorenzen hasn’t allowed an earned run in a career-long 14.2 straight innings, dating to June 30 in Colorado.

Brieske was impressive. He got Ford to flail at a change-up after beating him with 97-mph heaters. After giving up a leadoff double to Kolton Wong to start the eighth, he got J.P. Crawford to pop out and struck out Julio Rodriguez (96-mph two-seamer) and Ty France (97-mph elevated four-seamer).

Brendan White, another rookie, pitched a scoreless ninth with two more strikeouts.

The Tigers, securing the series win in Seattle, are nine games under .500 (41-50).

Twitter: @cmccosky

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