Detroit — Alex Faedo was looking to make his case to stay in the Tigers’ rotation.
After the right-hander was called up from Toledo and stifled the Padres in a spot start on July 23, Faedo was sent back down. A wild 10-day stretch ensued leading up to the Aug. 1 trade deadline and Faedo ended up making his next start at Double-A Erie before he found his way back to Detroit.
“I do think this guy deserves a runway, to get a few starts in a row,” manager AJ Hinch said before Wednesday’s 9-5 win against the AL Central-leading Twins at Comerica Park.
“If you look back at his time in the big leagues so far, there’s been some disconnected times, whether it be doubleheaders and injuries. He comes up in a spot start (on July 23) and he does well. He hasn’t really gotten as much runway it feels like he should. So hopefully he grabs hold of this opportunity.
“We want him to settle in. We don’t want him feeling you’re pitching for your job every five days. If you have a bad game, you’re going to get sent out. But at the same time, you’ve got to demonstrate that you can hold down one of the rotation spots.”
Against the Twins, Faedo did what was expected of him: He put the Tigers in position to win. He struck out five and gave up four hits in 4⅔ innings. He generated 10 swing and misses with eight sliders and two changeups. While his outing was marred by two home runs, he scrapped and exited with a lead that the bullpen held and the offense backed with a 17-hit assault.
The Tigers (51-63) provided Faedo with some early run support. After Riley Greene drew a four-pitch walk and Matt Vierling singled off Twins starter Bailey Ober in the first inning, Kerry Carpenter ripped a two-out, RBI single to right field.
Max Kepler couldn’t come up with Carpenter’s scorcher cleanly and the ball trickled past him, allowing Vierling to score and the Tigers to jump out to a quick 2-0 lead.
It didn’t last long. The Twins ambushed Faedo in the second inning with a pair of big blasts. Carlos Correa launched a fastball 421 feet into the bullpen in deep left-center field. Three batters later, Ryan Jeffers won an eight-pitch battle against Faedo by roping a two-out, two-strike double down the left-field line.
That extended the inning and brought Joey Gallo to the plate. Faedo got ahead of Gallo and had a chance to escape further damage. Instead, Gallo sent another Faedo fastball out of the park — a 413-foot missile into the right-field seats that put the Twins up, 3-2.
The Tigers wasted little time clawing back with a pair of clutch hits. With runners on the corners, Greene plated Zach McKinstry, who doubled, with a two-out hit up the middle. Vierling followed with a two-out RBI single of his own, smacking a first-pitch slider into left-center field that put the Tigers back in front, 4-3.
Faedo bounced back and buckled down after the rough second inning. He allowed one baserunner in each of the third, fourth and fifth innings, and was on the verge of finishing the fifth before a two-out walk ended his day. The lone threat he faced during that stretch came in the third, when he stranded Jorge Polanco at third base by striking out Edouard Julien with a slider.
The Tigers extended their lead in the fifth on an opposite-field home run by Spencer Torkelson. After striking out swinging on three pitches his first two at-bats, Torkelson got the best of Ober the third time around by smashing a changeup 380 feet to right-center field to make it 5-3.
After the Twins cut the deficit to one on an RBI double by Willi Castro in the sixth, the Tigers once again responded. Torkelson led off the seventh by hammering an 81-mph curveball off Jordan Balazovic 418 feet to left-center field — his 17th home run of the season — before Eric Haase tacked on an RBI single to make it 7-4.
The Tigers added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth. Vierling tripled and scored on a wild pitch and Torkelson scored from second after Balazovic couldn’t corral a throw at first on an infield single by Carpenter.
Those runs proved to be crucial as things got tense in the ninth. Trey Wingenter gave up a single and back-to-back walks to load the bases with two outs before Jose Cisnero was summoned. Cisnero gave up an RBI single before sealing the win by striking out Correa.
Haase, McKinstry, Vierling and Miguel Cabrera finished with three hits apiece. Cabrera took sole possession of 19th place on the MLB’s all-time hit list and passed Robin Yount with hits No. 3,143, 3,144 and 3,145 of his career — a third-inning single and a fifth-inning single off Ober and a seventh-inning single off Balazovic.