It was a Father’s Day LOBster fest in Anaheim, but the Tigers managed to avoid the sweep with some strong work from the bullpen to win 5-3 in 10 innings. Hope all the dads out there enjoyed their day.
The Tigers put together their first major threat in the second, but as became the theme of this one, they couldn’t cash in on what should’ve been a big inning. With one out, Akil Baddoo singled to right, and then stole second for his eighth stolen base of the year. Daz Cameron singled to left to move Baddoo to third and then Nomar Mazara walked to load the bases. Dylan Bundy was looking pretty shaky, but unfortunately, Isaac Paredes smoked a hot shot to second—105 mph exit velocity—and Fletched snared it and pulled off a slick double play turn to Iglesias to turn the Tigers away.
Casey Mize’s first spot of trouble came in the second as well. He punched out Anthony Rendon but then allowed back-to-back singles to Jared Walsh and Max Stassi. However, he got Iglesias to ground out, Paredes to Schoop, and after a review the call was upheld. Juan Lagares lifted a routine fly ball to right for the final out of the inning.
The Tigers mounted a little two-out threat in the top of the third on a double from Jonathan Schoop. Jeimer Candelario reached on a bobble by David Fletcher and Schoop was able to score from second on the play.
The Angels came back with a threat of their own in the bottom half on a leadoff double from Fletcher and a Luis Rengifo single. Mize had already struck out Ohtani in the first, and he quickly dispatched him again with three straight fastballs up and in that the big man couldn’t lay off of. The Tigers then produced some fine defense of their own as Candelario turned a groundball into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning unscathed.
Akil Baddoo walked to lead off the fourth, and after Daz Cameron struck out, Nomar Mazara walked as well to bring Isaac Paredes to the plate. The shortstop grounded into a 5-4-3 double play of his own to end that threat, and Mize hung a slider to Walsh that ended up deep into the bleachers in right field to tie things up.
The Tigers broke through again in the fifth as Bundy continued to struggle. Jake Rogers went oppo for a double to lead off the inning, which knocked Bundy from the game in favor of reliever Chris Rodriguez. Rodriguez got Grossman to fly out, but Schoop and Candelario each walked to lead the bases for Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera pulled a single to left field and Rogers and Schoop came around to score. Joe Maddon turned to lefty Jose Suarez, who quickly wild pitched Candelario and Cabrera to second and third. Baddoo walked yet again, but Suarez got Cameron to chase a high fastball for the second out of the inning, and then jammed Mazara with back-to-back fastballs in to lock him up and snuff the threat.
Mize had done a good job avoiding damage, but the contact was plentiful and it finally bit him a bit in the bottom half of the inning. David Fletcher dumped a single into right field to lead off the inning and took second on a wild pitch. Mize got Rengifo to fly out to Baddoo in left, but after punching out Ohtani twice, Mize knew he needed to change his approach. Instead of heaters up and in, Mize threw three straight splitters to get him down 1-2. Unfortunately, you cannot make a mistake to that guy right now and Mize left a slider just up enough for Ohtani to drill a screaming two-run shot just over the wall in straightaway center field to tie the game.
Overall this was another outing where Casey didn’t look to have great feel for his secondary pitches and spun a pair of hanging sliders while ahead in the count that he’d like back, but managed to limit the damage anyway. His final line was 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 H, BB, 4 SO.
The Tigers came back with a leadoff single from Paredes, but they couldn’t move the runner around in the top of the sixth. Kyle Funkhouser allowed a pair of singles to start the bottom of the sixth, but got Iglesias to chop a ball to second base. Schoop converted the double play, and Juan Lagares grounded out to end the inning.
Both teams were serving up quite a LOBster buffet for Father’s Day.
The Tigers stranded Candelario after a leadoff double in the seventh, but Gregory Soto came on and needed just 12 pitches—as well as a fine running catch by Cameron in left center on Rengifo—to collect three outs. He punched out Ohtani with a perfect 98 mph heater on the inner edge to wrap the inning. Both teams went down quickly in the eighth and ninth, with Jose Cisnero collecting three strikeouts among six straight outs.
That brought us to extra innings, with Candelario starting on second base. Cabrera’s chopper went off the glove of Angels’ closer Raisel Iglesias—handling his second inning in the game—to put men on first and third with no outs. Willi Castro pinch ran for Cabrera and quickly stole second uncontested. Baddoo drew his third walk of the game to load the bases for the Tigers for the fourth time in the game. This time, they cashed in again.
With the infield pulled in, Cameron slapped a grounder past Iglesias for a two-run single to put the Tigers up 5-3. That was the much needed RBI knock they’d sought all game long. Cameron promptly stole second as well, while Mazara hit a weak line out to second for the first out of the inning.
Joe Maddon turned to Steve Cishek at that point. They intentionally loaded the bases for the fifth time for Detroit, issuing Paredes the free pass. But even in an inning in which they scored a pair of runs, they didn’t do much with their opportunities. Rogers and Grossman each struck out to end the threat. A two-run lead is not comfortable at all with the runner starting on second and Ohtani due up third in the inning.
Michael Fulmer came on and quickly punched out Fletcher and Rengifo. He and Rogers stayed all changeup with the first three pitches to Ohtani, keeping them out of the zone in what looked like a bit of a free pass when Fulmer missed inside with a sinker. It was all part of the plan. Fulmer blazed a pair of fastballs past Taylor Ward, and then got his swinging over a slider down to collect his sixth save, and avoid the sweep.
A 4-3 road trip will work every time, but wow this was a frustrating series after paddling the Royals in three straight. The real stars of the show for Detroit were the trio of Soto, Cisnero, Fulmer who did excellent work locking down a potent offense until their teammates finally broke through.
The Tigers now travel home with an off day Monday before welcoming in the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.