New York — It didn’t show on the scoresheet, but the Tigers had put up a lot of quality at-bats in the first two games of this series against Yankees starters Gerrit Cole and Clarke Schmidt.
They made both earn their outs, for sure, albeit without tangible results.
In the series finale Thursday, the results matched the quality of the at-bats.
Led by a Spencer Torkelson power show, the Tigers scored eight times in the first four innings and went on to beat the Yankees 10-3. The win snapped an eight-game losing streak at Yankee Stadium dating to April, 2021.
Torkelson produced his fifth multi-homer game of the season. He hit a two-run shot in the first inning, just clearing the wall in right field. He hit another two-run shot in the fourth, this one a bullet inside the foul pole in left.
In between, he hit a 401-foot fly out to center.
Three at-bats, 1,137 feet of launch with exit velocities of 99, 105.6 and 109.4 mph.
Torkelson’s 27 homers is the tied with Willie Horton for the third most by a Tiger in his age-23 season.
The bulk of the damage came at the expense of Yankees’ lefty Carlos Rodon, a pitcher who had bullied the Tigers with his fastball in his five previous starts against them, going 4-0 with a 1.86 ERA.
The Tigers attacked his heater from the start Thursday. In the first three innings, Matt Vierling doubled in both the first and third innings, both off 95-mph heaters. Vierling ended up with four hits, four runs scored and two RBI.
But he also left the game in the eighth inning after a pickoff throw to first caromed off his right elbow.
Andy Ibanez also had a big night with two hits, including his 10th home run of the season, a sacrifice fly and four RBI.
Torkelson’s first two rockets were off Rodon’s fastball. He hit his second homer off right-handed reliever Randy Vasquez.
Rodon, whom the Yankees signed for six years and $162 million, left to a chorus of boos with two outs in the fourth, having been tagged for seven runs and eight hits. The Tigers put 12 of his fastballs in play with an average exit velocity of 96.1 mph.
The cushion was helpful for Tigers’ lefty ace Eduardo Rodriguez. He didn’t his A-stuff. But he brought his compete tool. His command was spotty from the start and he ended up walking four in his six innings.
But he also won most of the big at-bats, allowing four hits and three runs. The loudest hit was a solo homer by Gleyber Torres in the second inning. Everson Pereira lined a two-out, two-run double in the fourth.
He ended his outing with six straight outs, punching out Giancarlo Stanton and Anthony Volpe to end the sixth.
The Yankees didn’t score against Tigers’ relievers Will Vest, Miguel Diaz and Trey Wingenter. Vest hasn’t allowed a run, and just one hit, over his last five outings, covering 5.1 innings with eight strikeouts.
The Tigers return home Friday having won four of six on this road trip. They are 35-36 on the road this season, 29-40 at Comerica Park. Go figure.