Tigers 4, Twins 3: Javy’s homer sparks comeback as the Tigers split the series

Bless You Boys

For most of Sunday afternoon’s series-concluding matchup with the Twins, things looked bleak. Bailey Ober dominated the scuffling Tigers’ lineup, and Jack Flaherty leaked a pair of early runs before settling into his outing. However, Javier Báez provided a spark that led to an eighth-inning rally as the Cardiac Cats came back to win and split the series 4-3.

Flaherty fell victim to your standard command issues early in his outing. A few loose pitches in the first inning led to a scoring opportunity, but he was able to carve up Willi Castro to escape. The Tigers got a leadoff double to the wall in left field from Riley Greene in the bottom half, but the heart of the order could only put the ball in play weakly. The Twins showed how it’s done in the second inning.

Flaherty walked the patient, long-time Tiger killer, Carlos Santana with one out in the second inning, and took too long to get back in rhythm. He got Christian Vazquez to fly out, but Kyle Farmer stroked a single to center field and the dangerous Edouard Julien drew a walk. A Ryan Jeffers fly ball into the left field corner scored them both before Flaherty ended things by punching out Alex Kirilloff.

From that point on, it was just a pretty good pitcher’s duel without too much traffic on the bases. Flaherty made one more big mistake, hanging a breaking ball to Vazquez in the fourth, and the Twins catcher golfed it out to left field to make it 3-0, and the way the Tigers have been swinging the bats, that slim lead felt insurmountable, especially as inning after inning passed with no baserunners. Ober set down 14 Tigers in a row after a one-out single from Gio Urshela in the second inning.

It wasn’t pretty.

For his part, Flaherty looked good the rest of the way, and pitched into the seventh inning to help out the bullpen after a long day on Saturday. He punched out eight and walked two. Just a few key mistakes before he settled into his outing were his demise. Still quality starts are fine, they just don’t feel like enough when the offense is struggling.

Flaherty dialed the heater up to as much as 97 mph and once he settled in had both the nasty slider and knuckle curve going.

Finally, in the seventh, the Tigers showed some life as Spencer Torkelson doubled over Austin Martin’s head in left field, finally knocking Ober’s giant self from the game. Brock Stewart, who has done a lot of the closing for the Twins with Jhoan Duran on the injured list, came on and walked Kerry Carpenter, and it seemed we were in business.

But no, Colt Keith grounded out and then Urshela grounded into a double play that completely re-deflated the Sunday crowd.

Will Vest had come on for the final two outs of the seventh, and he spun a clean eighth with help from Urshela, who made a fine play on an Austin Martin ground ball to end the top half of the inning.

With the Tigers 7,8,9 hitters coming up, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli, trying to spare his bullpen a bit, got lefty Caleb Thielbar into the game for his season debut after an IL stint. It did not go well for him.

Matt Vierling pinch-hit for Parker Meadows and popped out, but Javier Báez got a sweeper down and in and crushed it into the left field seats for his first homer of the season. 3-1 Twins.

That solo shot lit a fire under the Tigers, apparently. More to blame was the Twins depleted infield. Carson Kelly ripped a one-hopper to Willi Castro at shortstop and it ate him up entirely, clanging into left field for a single. Riley Greene bounced a single back through the box, moving Kelly to third, and the Tigers were in business.

Baldelli, needing to put out a growing fire, turned to his other closing option, right-hander Griffin Jax. Mark Canha greeted him by smoking a hot ground ball to third that Kyle Farmer couldn’t handle. It shot down into the left field corner, scoring Kelly, scoring Greene from first, and Canha ended up on third base as the throw came in. Tie ballgame.

They needed one more, and Baldelli pulled the infield in to try and snuff the potential go-ahead run. Torkelson then dumped a blooper into shallow right field for a single, and the Tigers led 4-3. Kerry Carpenter struck out and Colt Keith flew out to left, but the Tigers had the lead and they wouldn’t give it up.

Jason Foley walked Matt Wallner and Julien with two outs, dialing up the pucker factor. In the end he got Jeffers to ground out to Colt Keith at second and the Tigers had a series split.

Good to see them battle back with some good at-bats after looking asleep most of the afternoon. Especially good to see Javier Báez light up a mistake pitch. Losing Game 1 on Saturday was frustrating, but a split here isn’t the worst thing in the world. You’d just like to take advantage of the Twins while they’re this banged up.

The Tigers hold a 9-6 record as they welcome in the 8-7 Texas Rangers on Monday for a four-game set at Comerica Park.

Articles You May Like

A quiet, rainy day on the farm
Tigers Option Alex Lange
Tigers 2, Blue Jays 1: Reese Olson dominates again
Dillon Dingler homers twice as Hens take down the Bats
Blue Jays vs. Tigers Game Highlights (5/26/24) | MLB Highlights

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *