Detroit Tigers taken down by New York Yankees, 6-2, as losing streak reaches five games

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Tigers‘ losing streak has reached five games.

The Tigers continued to scuffle with Wednesday’s 6-2 loss to the New York Yankees in the third of four games at Comerica Park. The Tigers (59-74) have been outscored by their opponents, 60-33, through nine of 10 games in the current homestand, which ends Thursday with a day game vs. the Yanks.

Right-hander Gerrit Cole, one of the best pitchers in baseball, continued his dominance against the Tigers, tossing six innings of two-run ball on four hits and two walks with seven strikeouts.

“He’s a really good pitcher,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “He can get creative. He will read swings. He will tease you with two strikes. He dialed it up a little bit when he needed to. … Once we got punched in the early part of the game, it’s playing right into his demeanor and his dominance.”

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While Cole dominated, the Tigers’ pitching staff didn’t produce the same results against the Yankees. The Tigers fell behind, 2-0, in the first inning with right-handed reliever Brendan White serving as an opener.

White struck out the first two batters — DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge — but couldn’t get the third out. The next five batters reached safely, scoring two runs, before left-hander Joey Wentz took over on the mound. Both runs were charged to White, who hit two batters and threw 30 pitches.

“I was attacking; I was aggressive; I was executing pitches,” White said. “I was happy with how those two at-bats went, and then it had fallen off from there. I wasn’t executing and wasn’t putting the ball where I needed to, and that’s where I ran into trouble. Lack of execution.”

Wentz inherited the bases loaded, but he needed two pitches, a pair of middle-middle fastballs, to retire Oswald Peraza for the third out in the first inning.

“The first two pitches were good,” Hinch said. “That’s not a comfortable situation to bring in someone who’s been predominately a starter. That was a little bit of a 9-1-1 emergency, but he handled that.”

Overall, though, Wentz wasn’t much better than White.

The 25-year-old allowed four runs on five hits and three walks with six strikeouts over five innings, throwing 62 of 98 pitches for strikes.

The Yankees tagged him for one run in the second inning, one in the third and two in the fourth. Both White and Wentz struggled to control the running game, with the Yankees swiping four bases, two of which led to runs.

“We’ve got to get better at that,” Hinch said of the uncontested stolen bases. “That’s on me and the coaches to find a way to prevent that. … That’s part of the game that we need to clean up and part of the reason we need to get better in a lot of areas. We got exploited tonight.”

Gleyber Torres and Giancarlo Stanton smashed back-to-back home runs off Wentz with two outs in the fourth inning, taking a 6-1 advantage.

In the fifth inning, center fielder Parker Meadows did some running of his own, covering more than 100 feet before making a leaping catch in right-center field. He robbed Peraza of extra bases and kept the Yankees from scoring another run.

Wentz, recalled from Triple-A Toledo before Wednesday’s game, used 40 four-seam fastballs, 27 cutters, 21 changeups and 10 curveballs. He generated 10 whiffs on one fastball, two cutters, two changeups and five curveballs.

He had 18 called strikes.

“It was a mixture of things for him,” Hinch said. “It’s a tough lineup for him with some guys that are starting to free up their swings and hitting mistakes. He did finish his outing better than it started, which is encouraging. We’ll see how we handle next week (against the Yankees in New York).”

A couple runs

The Tigers scored two runs off Cole on solo home runs.

Catcher Jake Rogers launched a second-pitch 95.4 mph four-seam fastball to right-center field for a 397-foot solo homer. The opposite-field homer marked Rogers’ 16th in 89 games this season.

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The more impressive home run occurred in the sixth inning, when Spencer Torkelson turned on a middle-in 95.5 mph four-seam fastball — the second pitch of the plate appearance — for a 402-foot homer to left field.

Torkelson has 24 homers in 131 games this season.

The solo homers kept the Tigers within striking distance, but in reality, the offense struggled once again. The Tigers, despite three walks and two non-homer hits, didn’t advance a single player into scoring position.

Riley Greene finished 0-for-3 with one walk. The 22-year-old is hitting .109 (5-for-46) with one extra-base hit, five walks and 16 strikeouts in his past 13 games. Torkelson, 24, had had two hits (both singles) in 23 at-bats leading up to his home run off Cole.

A better Cisnero

Right-handed reliever José Cisnero, whom the Tigers placed on waivers before Tuesday’s game, has struggled recently, but in Wednesday’s appearance, he delivered his best performance in a while.

Cisnero replaced Wentz with a runner on first base and two outs in the sixth inning. He struck out Stanton, getting him to chase at a down-and-away slider, for the third out to end the inning.

The seven-year MLB veteran returned for the seventh inning and sent down all three batters he faced: Anthony Volpe (strikeout), Harrison Bader (lineout) and Everson Pereira (strikeout).

Left-handed reliever Tyler Holton pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and right-handed reliever Jason Foley pitched a scoreless ninth inning.

Contact Evan Petzold at or follow him @EvanPetzold.

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