Pitching, with a hefty side of late heroics from C.J. Cron, was the name of the game on Sunday afternoon as the Detroit Tigers picked up the series victory over Cincinnati Reds, taking the rubber game by a score of 3-2.
With runs at a premium the Tigers drew first blood on a Niko Goodrum solo home run off of Reds starter Trevor Bauer in the third inning. Some wildness from Tigers starter Spencer Turnbull allowed the Reds to draw even in the bottom of the fifth inning, as Travis Jankowski worked a one-out walk, eventually advancing to third and coming around to score on a Joey Votto bloop single.
Bats for both teams would remain quiet until the ninth inning as C.J. Cron’s second home run of 2020, a two-run opposite field shot, jolted the Tigers to a 3-1 lead. The Reds would fight back in the ninth, with back-to-back doubles from Freddy Galvis and Aristedes Aquino trimming the Tigers’ lead to 3-2. The Reds threat would fall short with Votto grounding into a game-ending double play.
Despite some wildness that led to four walks, Turnbull put on a sterling performance in his 2020 debut, striking out eight Cincinnati batters in five innings of work. Out of the Tigers bullpen, Gregory Soto provided two highly efficient innings, striking out four batters with pitch command and movement unlike anything seen from him in 2019. Soto’s mediocre, slurvy breaking ball has been replaced by a fairly nasty hard slider in the high 80’s. With 99 mph and command on display, Soto looked like his dream projection for two innings.
Jose Cisnero followed with a solid, largely clean eighth inning.
Bauer shined in 6 1⁄3 innings of work for the Reds, striking out 13 Tigers while allowing just one hit.
Improvements at the plate
While at-bats from Harold Castro and JaCoby Jones proved largely fruitless on Sunday, there was reason to be optimistic despite the lack of results. Castro, after struggles with his plate discipline in 2019, worked deep into the count twice against Bauer, including falling victim to a questionable called third strike on a 3-2 pitch in his second trip to the plate.
Flashing the leather
In addition to solid at-bats on Sunday, Jones was also instrumental in keeping the Reds from jumping ahead in the fifth inning, making a sterling catch in center field to rob Curt Casali of extra bases:
In the third game against their former club, Eugenio Suarez, Nicholas Castellanos, and former prospect Casali were kept quiet by Tigers pitching, going a combined 1-for-9 with six strikeouts between the trio.
Mike Moustakas, originally slated to start in today’s game at second base, was a late scratch from the lineup and was subsequently placed on the 10-day injured list after he woke up feeling not well in the morning, according to Reds manager David Bell. Nick Senzel was another late scratch for the Reds and no further information has been given regarding his status.
So Tigers offense with 46 strikeouts, 8 walks, 5 homers, and 2 wins in Cinci. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯— Chris Brown (@ChrisBrown0914) July 26, 2020
The Tigers will make their 2020 Comerica Park debut on Monday evening as they host the Kansas City Royals in the opener of a three-game series, with Michael Fulmer set to make his first start since 2018. Mike Montgomery will toe the rubber for the Royals. First pitch is set for 7:10 pm ET.
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