After a wild day in which their manager retired, the Tigers fought through some tough luck in this one for a satisfying 5-2 comeback victory against Cleveland.
Spencer Turnbull settled in for a relatively normal outing after allowing either five runs, or no runs, over his four previous outings. His command was on point tonight against Cleveland, and he put together his first walk-free start of the season. There was some hard contact in the first inning, but three quick outs gave the Tigers a chance at an early lead, and they cashed it in.
Victor Reyes led off against Triston McKenzie with a single, but then he was erased trying to take second base, while Willi Castro struck out. However, Jeimer Candelario drew a walk, and scored on a Harold Castro double to earn a 1-0 lead.
Turnbull’s only major trouble came in the third inning. Singles from Roberto Perez and Josh Naylor led off the frame. The Tigers’ right-hander bounced back with a pair of strikeouts, but then got hit by a comebacker by Cesar Hernandez, who was safe on the deflection. Jose Ramirez followed with a two-run double, but Turnbull settled right back in and kept it clean the rest of the way. He finished with six innings, seven strikeouts, and no walks.
Turnbull’s night came to an end after he allowed a leadoff double to Franmil Reyes to start the seventh inning. New manager Lloyd McClendon turned to Daniel Norris, and the lefty was up to the task. He got Tyler Naquin on a ground ball, and then punched out Roberto Perez and Jordan Luplow to snuff a potential rally.
In the eighth, there was more drama as the Tigers looked to hang on in this one. Norris got the first out of the inning, but Francisco Lindor pulled one down the third base line that clanged off the glove of Isaac Paredes for a double. Norris got ahead of Cesar Hernandez, but twice Hernandez made incredibly weak contact and squirted a swinging bunt down the third base line. The first went foul, but the second stayed on the grass to put runners at first and third with one. McClendon called on Jose Cisnero, and he got a break when Jose Ramirez lined out to first base and Candelario beat Hernandez back to the bag for the unassisted double play.
The Tigers immediately got to work on a comeback against Cleveland’s Phil Maton. Harold Castro led off with a walk and was replaced by pinch runner Derek Hill. Jorge Bonifacio struck out, but consecutive singles from Niko Goodrum and Eric Haase tied things up as Hill raced around from second base to score. Daz Cameron followed with a rocket to right field for his second single on the night to score Goodrum, and Maton ended his night by walking Miguel Cabrera, who pinch hit for Isaac Paredes.
Cam Hill took over with the bases loaded and quickly walked Victor Reyes to force in another run. Willi Castro followed by lofting a fly ball into right field that was caught by Naquin for the second out. Naquin looked like he might throw out Cameron, who was aggressively trying to score on the shallow fly ball, but first baseman Carlos Santana cut off the throw, and the Tigers led 5-2 after Candelario flew out to end the inning.
The main knock on nascent closer Bryan Garcia has been a rather terrifying lack of strikeouts. He helped his case a bit in the ninth by allowing a single to Franmil Reyes, but otherwise punching out the side for his third save on the year.