Tigers 13, Diamondbacks 0: This was quite the beatdown

Bless You Boys

After a series of struggles against three pretty mediocre Miami Marlins’ starters, the Tigers came out red hot in this one. Tarik Skubal was awesome as usual, and didn’t need the help, but it was certainly good to see the Tigers dish out this level of beatdown after a rough stretch as they torched the Diamondbacks for an fun 13-0 victory.

The first of three in Phoenix was also a homecoming for several of the Tigers. Tarik Skubal and Spencer Torkelson were both born in California, but Skubal’s family lived in Arizona during his school years, while Torkelson famously went to Arizona State and broke Barry Bonds’ home run records. You also have two former Diamondbacks managers on hand in A.J. Hinch and with Kirk Gibson doing the color work with Jason Benetti.

They did make themselves at home early on. Skubal cruised through the first three innings on just 34 pitches with no hits and two strikeouts, collecting five of his first six outs via ground ball. That’s good efficiency to go with the dominance.

Skubal also had the rare benefit of a flurry of early run scoring from his offense. In the second inning, Colt Keith, Spencer Torkelson, and Javier Báez singled in succession to make it 1-0 Tigers.

In the top of the third, they broke through again. Mark Canha took a Ryan Nelson fastball the opposite way for a single, and Wenceel Pérez walked. Kerry Carpenter had gotten jammed in his first AB, and this time he was ready for the inside pitch, ripping it down the right field line for a two-run triple. Matt Vierling grounded out, but Keith singled through the right side to make it 4-0 Tigers.

They didn’t stop there. In the fourth, a two-out infield single for Canha was followed by a double into the right center field gap off the bat of Pérez. Canha scored, and a poor decision to throw wildly home by right fielder Jake McCarthy allowed Pérez to reach third. Unfortunately, Carpenter flew out to the warning track in straightaway center field, but it was a 5-0 lead for Skubal to work with.

Skubal was only getting nastier as he worked into the outing. He whiffed Ketel Marte for a punch out to start the bottom of the fourth, and then froze Corbin Carroll with a dangerous belt high changeup. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was dispatched with a 99.9 mph sinker for a swinging strike three, and Skubal had four perfect innings and five strikeouts on 48 pitches.

The bats would not cool off in the desert night (yes I know they have a roof now). Hopefully the heat comes to Michigan shortly. It was noticeable how many Tigers fans were at this one. Sounded like a home game as the Tigers piled up the runs to roars of approval.

Matt Vierling tripled to left field to open the fifth, and Colt Keith singled him home for his third hit of the game in three tries. 6-0 Tigers. Spencer Torkelson got hit on the elbow pad to put men at first and second for Báez, and the Tigers shortstop greeted reliever Matt Bowman by absolutely hammering a ball to the wall at 111 mph up the left center field gap to score both runners. 8-0 Tigers. Malek achieved but they weren’t done.

Jake Rogers struck out, but Riley Greene singled in Báez. 9-0 Tigers. Canha flew out, but Pérez walked and Carpenter doubled to right to plate them both and make it 11-0.

You love to see it, but Skubal sat a long time during that half inning. He recorded his 13th straight out to start the bottom of the fifth, but Randal Grichuk doubled to right to end any thought of a perfect game. Skubal ramped it back up to strike out Eugenio Suarez, and McCarthy blooped one to Keith for the final out. 56 pitches through five innings with six strikeouts and just the lone double allowed to this point for the southpaw ace.

The offense refused to stop hitting. Colt Keith led off the sixth with a ground ball single the opposite way for his fourth single in four trips to the plate. Torkelson hammered a fly ball to left center field for a ground rule double, moving Keith to third. Javy Báez scorched yet another double, this time to right field, scoring both runners. What is happening right now?

13-0 Tigers. They had a whopping 17 hits at this point. We won’t bother complaining about the run support going to the pitcher who needs it the least.

Skubal’s sixth inning wasn’t quite as efficient, but he racked up three relatively quick outs anyway while still pumping 100 mph in there occasionally. At this point the pitch count didn’t matter much. Will Vest was warming by this point, because there was an opportunity to give Skubal a light night, and he finished the outing at 74 pitches, 53 of them strikes.

Skubal’s final line was 6.0 IP, 0 R, H, 0 BB, 6 K. He racked up 13 whiffs in this one, getting at least two with all five pitches, and again using the changeup heavily and doubling up fairly often at Jake Rogers’ suggestion.

This pitch to Kevin Newman in the sixth was the hardest fastball of his young career.

Torey Lovullo turned to lefty Logan Allen in the top of the seventh to try and cool the Tigers off. Allen struck out Pérez, and then struck out Carpenter in a rare lefty vs. lefty matchup for the outfielder. Vierling flew out to send it to the bottom half.

Vest did take over, and spun a quick 1-2-3 seventh, striking out Gurriel Jr. along the way and hitting 98 mph at one point. Hinch pulled Báez and Riley Greene and put Andy Ibáñez and Zach McKinstry into the game.

Colt Keith led off the eighth looking for his fifth hit in five tries, but the lefty, whom you may remember from his days with the Cleveland Indians, got him to pop out. Torkelson grounded out to third swinging first pitch at a splitter that hung over the plate. Result wasn’t there, but good to see him taking some rips at hittable first pitch strikes. Ibáñez loves left-handed pitching, of course, but he struck out to send it to the bottom half.

A.J. Hinch went with Joey Wentz in the bottom half, presumably at least in part to pit him against a couple of right-handed hitters. Wentz has been quite good in light and low leverage duty, so perhaps he’ll start getting tougher tests with Shelby Miller on the shelf for a hydro-dissection procedure around his right ulnar nerve. Incidentally, Beau Breiske, who had the same procedure in April of 2023, was recalled from Triple-A Toledo in Miller’s stead.

Grichuk reached on a McKinstry error at shortstop to start the inning. Wentz punched out Suárez, but Jake McCarthy singled to center field. The left-hander got Gabriel Moreno to fly out to center field, and Newman was retired on a nice sliding stop at third by Ibáñez.

The Tigers went quickly in the top of the ninth, and Wentz allowed a single and no more in the bottom half, dropping his ERA down to a clean 1.08 on the season.

The offense will face a far tougher test on Saturday night, as RHP Jack Flaherty (0-3, 3.88 ERA) takes on RHP Zac Gallen (5-2, 2.86 ERA).

Box Score

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