Matt Manning couldn’t command anything, and Cleveland racked up six runs against him while smothering the Tigers’ offense to win 6-1. A frustratingly typical night for the Kitties at Progressive Field.
The Detroit Tigers so rarely seem to jump out to a lead in Cleveland, and they quickly blew an opportunity to do so on Friday night. With one out in the top of the first, Jonathan Schoop and Harold Castro put together back-to-back singles, but Miguel Cabrera grounded into a double play.
As for starter Matt Manning, he put together a relatively quick 1-2-3 first inning, but there were a pair of line shots hit hard to the corners for outs. Jeimer Candelario picked a hot one hopper from Myles Straw and threw him out, while Jose Ramirez lined out to Schoop at first to end the frame. The hard line drives prefaced what was to come as Manning again struggled with his command and fell behind too many batters.
The Tigers went quickly in the second, as did Cleveland. Manning pitched around a leadoff single by Bobby Bradley with a pair of punchouts.
In the third, the Tigers went quickly again, other than a pause while Derek Hill walked off a foul ball off his foot that drew AJ Hinch and the training staff out of the dugout. Hill stayed in the game, grounding one hard down the third base line, but third baseman Ernie Clement made a heck of a play to snare it and throw Hill out from foul territory.
That brings us to the bottom of the third, and this is where things went sideways in Manning’s outing. Austin Hedges led off with a single to center field on a hip high slider. Clement followed, turning on a sinker in and lashing a double to left. Myles Straw got a hanging slider middle-middle and lined it to left for a single to score Hedges. Manning got Amed Rosario to ground out to second, but the ball wasn’t hit hard enough for a double play, and Clement scored to make it 2-0. We weren’t done yet either.
Jose Ramirez pulled a shot down the right field line for a double, scoring Straw. Bobby Bradley followed with another double to right, scoring Rosario and Ramirez. Harold Ramirez lined a single to center field, but Derek Hill came up throwing and gunned down Bradley at the plate on a nice catch and tag by Eric Haase. Finally, Bradley Zimmer chopped one back to Manning for the final out of the inning. 4-0.
As for the Tigers offense, they were in full Progressive Field form, as starter Cal Quantrill quickly burned through them 1-2-3 in the top of the fourth, punching out Harold Castro and Cabrera in the process.
Manning had more trouble in the bottom of the frame. He struck out Owen Miller to start the inning, but both Austin Hedges and Clement got hanging sliders and lined them for singles. The next hitter, Straw, got a fastball, again right down the middle, and lined it to right. Victor Reyes dove for it and initially it was ruled a catch, with the Tigers appearing to have doubled off Clement at first. Instead, it was correctly overturned as a trap ball, hitting the ground just in front of Reyes’ glove. As a result, Hedges scored and Clement was awarded third base on the play. Rosario flew out to Hill in center, with Clement tagging to score the sixth Cleveland run, before Ramirez grounded out to end the inning.
The final line for Manning was pretty awful. 4 IP, 6 ER, 10 H, 0 BB, 3 SO. Once they’d gotten a look at Manning, they simply shortened up and put the ball in play on a line over and over again, while the Tigers rookie struggled with his command, falling behind hitters and failing to capitalize when ahead. Not a recipe for success.
Meanwhile Quantrill was dominating the Tigers’ offense. He picked up his sixth and seventh strikeout in the top of the fifth, again setting them down quickly 1-2-3. In the sixth, Akil Baddoo managed a ground ball single, but otherwise Quantrill cruised again. The only hard hit ball was a shot to Rosario at shortstop off the bat of Hill. Cabrera singled in the seventh, but again Quantrill had no trouble pitching around it, striking out Candelario on a check swing and a collecting a comebacker from Eric Haase to wrap the frame.
Derek Holland replaced Manning in the bottom of the fifth, and he managed to keep Cleveland off the board for two innings despite allowing three hits. Ian Krol handled the seventh, getting a nice double play started by Schoop to erase a leadoff walk.
If the Tigers were hoping to see the B-team from the Cleveland bullpen down six runs, they didn’t get their wish. James Karinchak breezed through the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Buck Farmer allowed a single and no more in the bottom of the inning, and that brought the Tigers to their last shot.
Cleveland turned to reliever Blake Parker, and Baddoo greeted him with a single. Schoop followed with a little broken bat bliner off the end of the bat that dropped in left field and Harold Castro came to the dish with runners on first and second, and no outs. This did get closer Emmanuel Clase up in the bullpen, with the goal being to at least force them to burn Clase for an inning in this one.
Castro grounded into a fielder’s choice, with third baseman Clement getting the out at second base, while Baddoo moved to third. Cabrera then drew a walk to load the bases, and was replaced by Robbie Grossman as pinch runner. Jeimer Candelario pulled a grounder through the right side of the infield for a single to score Baddoo, keeping the line moving, but that also was enough for interim manager DeMarlo Hale. He turned to Clase, which is a small victory in itself. However, it was also the end of the Tigers’ hopes.
Clase struck out Eric Haase after falling behind 2-0, leaving it up to Victor Reyes. Clase quickly got Reyes down 0-2, and the Tigers right fielder fouled off two pitches to stay alive. Finally though, Clase was too much, getting a whiff on a slider down and in to put Reyes, and the Tigers, away.
Tyler Alexander will look to even the series as he takes on RHP Eli Morgan on Saturday night.