Tigers 7, Rangers 9: Leiter up!

Bless You Boys

The big story for today was on the Rangers’ side, as hot pitching prospect Jack Leiter made his MLB debut this afternoon against the Tigers. He was up against Kenta Maeda, who has been struggling mightily early in the season, so it was going to be interesting to see how the young starter fared against the veteran.

In the top of the first, Marcus Semiem gave his rookie starter a hand with a leadoff home run. Corey Seager then singled, but an Evan Carter-induced double play eliminated the baserunner. In the bottom of the inning Mark Canha got a one-out single, and Spencer Torkelson drew a two-out walk, but neither runner was brought in to score.

Josh Smith got a walk to start the second, followed by a Wyatt Langford double that brought Smith home almost as quickly as he’d gotten on base. A Jonah Heim home run then brought two runs in, and suddenly the Rangers were up 4-0. Marcus Semiem got a two-out single, but no additional runs scored. In the bottom of the second Colt Keith got a leadoff walk, then Gio Urshela singled. A Javier Baez double brought Keith home, and put the Tigers on the board. Carson Kelly grounded out but was able to bring Urshela home, then a Riley Greene triple scored Baez. Mark Canha singled to score Greene, and suddenly it was a tie game.

In the top of the third, Adolis Garcia got a one-out home run, to give the Rangers back the lead. Wyatt Langford got a two-out walk, then Jonah Heim singled. Ezeqiuel Duran appeared to be out at first to end the inning, but Texas challenged the play and it was overturned, allowing Langford to score. It was ruled an error on Keith. Error aside, it was the end of the day for Kenta Maeda, whose final line was 2.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 3 HR on 63 pitches. So… bad. Alex Faedo came out of the dugout and ended the inning with no additional runs scored. The Tigers went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the third.

Marcus Semien was having himself a day and hit a leadoff double to start the fourth. One out later an Evan Carter sac fly brought Semien home. Mid-fourth the score was 7-4 Rangers. In the bottom half, Riley Greene hit a two-out double. Is he going for the cycle today? Mark Canha walked, then Kerry Carpenter hit what SHOULD have been a flyout, but turned into a triple when Taveras simply couldn’t see the ball. Suddenly it was a 7-6 game. Spencer Torkelson then doubled to score Carpenter and re-tie the game. That was it for Leiter’s debut. Jose Urena came out of the bullpen to finish the Tigers for the inning, but it was a pretty great inning.

The Rangers went down in order against Faedo in the top of the fifth. With two outs in the bottom of the inning, Baez hit a double. They couldn’t convert the runner to a run, however.

Tyler Holton was next out of the pen for the Tigers in the top of the sixth, and got the Rangers 1-2-3. The Tigers then likewise went three-up three-down in the bottom half.

Corey Seager singled to start the seventh. One out later, Adolis Garcia joined Seager on the basepaths with a single. Josh Smith was hit by a pitch to load the bases. That was it for Holton, giving way to Alex Lange to hopefully get the much-needed two outs to end the inning. Lange did what he was called in for, and got the Tigers out of the inning still tied. Spencer Torkelson walked to start the bottom half. Colt Keith then singled. With two outs and a pitch-timer violation, Urena got pulled to make way for Jose Leclerc, who finished off Baez to end the inning.

Shelby Miller was next out of the Tigers’ pen. Leody Taveras got a one-out double. Semien then reached on a fielder’s choice that advanced Taveras to third. Seager then reached on a single to score Taveras. There was a rundown at third where it seemed like Urshela tagged out the baserunner but never made the tag. But Urshela made up for the gaffe a moment later when Garcia didn’t realize he should run to first and the delay meant he was easily out. Before the bottom of the inning Rangers manager Bruce Bochy got tossed for arguing about the Garcia out. Riley Greene and Mark Canha got back-to-back walks with one out. With two outs Leclerc was pulled to make way for Kirby Yates. The Tigers did not manage to bring any runners in, so it would all come down to the ninth inning.

Andrew Chafin came in, hoping to keep the score to one run. And on his birthday, Jake Rogers came in as a defensive substitution. Josh Smith singled, then successfully stole second. With two outs, Duran walked. Taveras then singled to drive in Smith and add to the Rangers’ lead. The Tigers stopped the bleeding at that point, but they were now down 9-7 going into the bottom of the ninth. Gio Urshela hit a two-out single. Baez flied out to end the game, however.

Final: Rangers 9, Tigers 7

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