The first of a pair of games today in Cleveland was delayed about 2 1⁄2 hours, after being bumped back from Tuesday night. It was worth the wait, though, as the Tigers beat Cleveland 9-4 by getting 15 hits — with the help of 3 2⁄3 scoreless innings from the bullpen, of course.
José Ureña, whose performance of late has left much to be desired, got the nod for the Tigers. Facing him was reliever-turned-starter Cal Quantrill. So, let’s just say it wasn’t exactly the kind of must-see-TV pitching matchup of which a person dreams.
José Ramirez poked a fly ball just over the right-field fence, down the line, for a solo home run in the bottom of the first to open the scoring.
Miguel Cabrera led off against Quantrill in the top of the second with a single to right, and Jeimer Candelario followed with a double to left to put the Tigers in a good position to score. Nomar Mazara struck out, but Zack Short drew a walk to load the bases. Quantrill’s shaky command walked Harold Castro to force in a run and tie the game, and Jake Rogers singled to right, scoring Candelario and putting the Tigers up 2-1.
Bobby Bradley answered back with authority, with a no-doubter solo home run to lead off the bottom of the second and re-tie the contest. Cesar Hernandez added one of his own in the third... and, at that point in the game, Ureña had struck out five, walked none, and given up three hits — all solo home runs. That’s a heck of a weird line.
Zack Short singled to lead off the fourth, and he motored all the way around the bases and scored easily on a Harold Castro double to make it 3-3.
That ball was smacked off the bat of Hittin' Harold Castro, scoring Zack Short and tying the game up once again. #DetroitRoots pic.twitter.com/s0yt3sW5DU— Bally Sports Detroit (@BallySportsDET) June 30, 2021
Akil Baddoo followed with a double off the centrefield wall; Castro didn’t read the ball well and could only advance to third. Quantrill’s day was done, and Jonathan Schoop’s sacrifice fly off Phil Maton eventually plated Castro, putting the Tigers back up 4-3.
And... as if on cue... the Cleves hit another solo home run, this time a second shot by Bradley. A Harold Ramirez walk and a Bradley Zimmer double with one out in the fourth chased Ureña in favour of Kyle Funkhouser.
To that point in his season, Funkhouser had inherited 12 runners and none of them had come around to score. Here, he was handed a 2nd-and-3rd situation with one out; a strikeout and flyout got him, and the Tigers, out of a sticky situation.
With two outs in the fifth, Mazara... well, he did something! He hit a double. And then Short walked. Hittin’ Harold flared one out to right, scoring Mazara, making it 5-4 for Detroit. That goes in my diary.
In the bottom of the fifth, Jose Ramirez somehow fouled a ball off his own face before grounding out. That’s not something you see every day. Funkhouser threw another shutdown inning, and holy mackerel, is he a breath of fresh air. Our own Brandon Day observed about Funkhouser: “Really ties the bullpen together.” The Day abides.
The top of the sixth saw a one-out double by Schoop, who was wild-pitched to third. Robbie Grossman walked, putting runners on the corners. Miguel Cabrera’s sacrifice fly scored Schoop, making it 6-4. Candelario drove in Grossman with a single, who had stolen second base, and you gotta love the aggressive baserunning there.
Gregory Soto took over in the bottom of the sixth: pair of strikeouts, groundout. Love it.
With one out in the seventh, Hittin’ Harold singled again. With two outs, Baddoo singled as well, pushing Castro to third. Schoop drove them both in with a single of his own, making it 9-4.
Bryan Garcia was brought in to finish off the game with a five-run lead, and after a leadoff walk, he finished off the Cleves with a pair of popouts and a strikeout.
How does @spennyt celebrate being selected to the Futures Game?— Detroit Tigers Player Development (@RoadtoDetroit) June 30, 2021
With a Tork Bomb! pic.twitter.com/4zMuEZRRQ6
It’s really hard to spell out the little happy hum I did when I watched this blast by Spencer Torkelson. Hope I did it justice.
Assorted Items of Note
- After a stretch in which Harold Castro went 21-for-44, he was 6 for his previous 60 coming into tonight. As you can see, he turned things around a touch here.
- Akil Baddoo started off with 4 walks against 26 strikeouts. Since then, he’s had 22 walks and 23 strikeouts.
- On June 30, 1905, Albert Einstein published a paper in Annalen der Physik in which he outlined special relativity. Every time you think you’ve had yourself a pretty good year, buddy, I guarantee you that Einstein’s 1905 was better.