It certainly feels like we were just here, with the Tigers lineup finding unexpected holes against Reds starter Luis Castillo, but this time the Motor City was the backdrop instead of the home of Skyline Chili. Wait, what do we call Cincinnati? The Queen City? No, I like home of Skyline Chili better.
The Tigers were once again in surprisingly good shape, even with Spencer Turnbull losing a bit of his command by the fifth inning, he and Castillo felt evenly matched, and the Tigers batters were there to take every available opportunity against the Reds.
Initially both starting pitchers were neck and neck, pitching the bare minimum to get them through the lineup. It wasn’t until the second inning that a runner for either team made it to base, with a Turnbull walk issued to Jesse Winker, but the walk yielded nothing. Things were tight again until the bottom of the third when Castillo issued a walk of his own to Austin Romine.
This time the walk did prove deadly for the Reds as a JaCoby Jones double advanced Romine to third, and a Niko Goodrum sac fly brought Romine home.
In the top of the fifth, things started to get a bit shaky for the otherwise solid Turnbull, as Nick Castellanos hit a laser double down to lead off the inning, then Senzel doubled to score him, bringing the game to a 1-1 tie. Shortly thereafter Barnhart — who did an excellent job all game catching Castillo’s offerings — singled to score Senzel, giving the Reds the lead.
Their lead would not last, though, as Christin Stewart broke his slump against the Reds with a ground rule double, then Romine doubled to score him, tying the game once again. Jones singled to score Romine, but was tagged himself trying to stretch out a double. Nevertheless the Tigers left the inning with the lead.
Turnbull finished out the sixth with a 1-2-3 inning but his night was done at 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, and 6 K. Gregory Soto came on in relief and made quick work of the Reds in the seventh.
Castillo started the seventh inning for the Reds but was unable to record any outs and the damage kept increasing as Reyes singled, then Stewart singled, and Romine singled to bring Reyes home. Travis Demeritte came on to run for Stewart, and then scored on a wild pitch from reliever Nate Jones. Side note, but “Jones on Jones crime about to happen” might be the best Shep quote of the night.
Castillo’s final line for the night was 6 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 6 K.
A Schoop single sent Romine to third, but the team did not score again, after Jones limited further damage.
Buck Farmer — who is apparently the second-longest tenured Tiger after Miguel Cabrera, what?? — came on in relief of Soto, giving Soto a pristine one strikeout inning.
Rasiel Iglesias came on for the Reds and C.J. Cron kicked off the bottom of the eighth with a ground rule double that Senzel just wasn’t able to get to. Reyes safely got to first on the rarely seen Joey Votto error, as he bobbled the ball at first and just couldn’t get a hold on it enough to get back to first.
Travis Demeritte in his first at bat of the night proved to be a mighty hero, hitting a double right down the left field line to score Cron and Reyes.
Bryan Garcia came on for the Tigers in the top of the ninth to close down the game and quickly collected two outs, including one against former Tigers Eugenio Suarez who continues to be hitless against his old club. Suarez, showing really solid control, made short order of the Reds and the Tigers won the night 7-2.