The Detroit Tigers absolutely firebombed the Cincinnati Reds in their own ballpark on Friday night. They bludgeoned five home runs, racked up 18 hits and three walks, and cruised to a rather convincing 15-5 victory over a Reds’ club that entered the night clinging to the final National League wild card spot.
The game began with 1-2-3 frames from both starters in the first, but the Tigers quickly got the offense working in the top of the second inning. Miguel Cabrera walked on four straight pitches to lead things off, and Jeimer Candelario reached on a throwing error. Power Hittin’ Harold Castro made another appearance, lining a screamer up the right center field gap to score both baserunners, and the Tigers led 2-0.
Alexander allowed a solo shot to Eugenio Suarez in the bottom half, but the Tigers got the run right back in the top of the third. Jonathan Schoop got a first pitch hanging curveball and punished it to left field for a solo shot. Schoop got the silent treatment in the dugout, which was fun.
If you don't celebrate yourself, who will? pic.twitter.com/bY0wY2ly31— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) September 4, 2021
Great American Ballpark was living up to the reputation, but we were only getting started. Jeimer Candelario stayed hot in the power department, as he led off the fourth with a long homer to right center field. We’ll have more on Candelario tomorrow, as his resurgence the past two seasons has recently blossomed into a red-hot stretch, complete with power, over the past five weeks.
Who can hit bomb like that?— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) September 4, 2021
The Candy Man can! pic.twitter.com/zfkH8TKQi6
Alexander struggled through a long fourth inning as the Reds started getting a bead on him. Nick Castellanos singled, and after Joey Votto struck out, Suarez drew a walk. Alexander got Kyle Farmer on a hard line drive to Baddoo in center field, and AJ Hinch had seen enough, turning to Kyle Funkhouser to escape the jam. The funky one got Tyler Naquin to fly out and end the inning.
The Reds finally fought back in the fifth. Max Schrock led off with a single, and after Funkhouser struck out Mike Moustakas, Jonathan India put up a lengthy battle eventually got a pretty well located sinker down and blasted it out to center field for a two-run shot anyway. A little shook at this point, Funkhouser pitched Tyler Stephenson too carefully and issued a walk. Nick Castellanos reached on a swinging bunt as Funkhouser’s throw pulled Cabrera off the bag. Funkhouser then threw a fastball inside to Joey Votto that Dustin Garneau just whiffed on, moving the runners up a base and increasing the clench-factor. Votto put up a tough battle as expected, but Funkhouser eventually reared back and blew him away with a fastball at the top of the zone to end the inning, earning a rueful smile and a nod from the Reds’ first baseman.
With the lead trimmed to one, it looked like we were going to have a tense evening, but the Tigers had other ideas. They came right back in the top of the sixth and blew the Reds away with a six-run inning.
Jeimer Candelario reached on an infield single, and Harold Castro singled on a grounder up the middle to start the inning. Victor Reyes then bounced one just out of the reach of Reds’ shortstop Kyle Farmer. Candelario raced home, and Castro raced to third as the throw home was cut off by Moustakas, who then threw low to second base. The ball skipped over Jonathan India’s glove into left field, Castro scored, and Reyes advanced to third base.
The sax played Yakety.
The Reds pulled Wilson in favor of right-hander Mychal Givens at this point. It didn’t help at all. Dustin Garneau got a 2-1 meatball and crushed it to left for a two-run homer. Willi Castro pinch-hit for Funkhouser—and would take over at shortstop—and quickly started another rally by knocking a double off the wall in left field. Akil Baddoo drew a walk, and then Castro was caught trying to steal third on his own for the first out of the inning. Jonathan Schoop, having a monster day at the plate, flared a single to right that Castellanos got a bad jump on, and the Reds went to the bullpen again, bringing in Jeff Hoffman.
Hoffman got Grossman to pop out to him right in front of the mound, but the Tigers still weren’t done. Cabrera, the ninth hitter of the inning, rifled a single to right, scoring Baddoo and moving Schoop to third. Jeimer Candelario, also having another huge day, ripped a double to right field to score Schoop, and finally, mercifully for the Reds, Harold Castro struck out to end the inning with the score 10-3.
Joe Jiménez came on for the bottom of the sixth, but got himself into some trouble. A walk and then a one-out single set up Moustakas, who hit a ground-rule double to right to score one run. Jiménez bounced back however, striking out India and getting Stephenson on a ground out to avoid any further damage.
The Tigers quickly got the run back in the top of the seventh when Garneau absolutely nuked a fly ball to left field for his second solo shot on the night. And they were far from done. Willi Castro walked, Baddoo struck out, and Schoop lashed another single for his fourth hit of the night. That brought up Grossman again, and this time he got in on the action, mashing his 21st home run of the year to extend his career high season. The long ball went out to right for a three-run blast that made the score 14-4.
I got time for one. This is Dustin Garneau second home run with Dan Dickerson on the call. pic.twitter.com/KpoUl7GGcp— Rogelio Castillo (@rogcastbaseball) September 4, 2021
Throughout all this, your intrepid recapper nearly broke a keyboard pounding the keys furiously, trying to record all the action while seemingly getting erupted by the crack of Tigers’ bats every minute or three.
Michael Fulmer allowed a run in the bottom of the seventh on a Votto double, and a Farmer RBI single, but the Tigers still held a 14-5 lead. We felt reasonably comfortable.
We felt even more comfortable as the Reds turned to power lefty Amir Garrett, and now batting right-handed again, Jeimer Candelario smoked another ball, this time into the left field corner for a double. Niko Goodrum had entered via the ol’ double switch at shortstop, bumping Willi Castro to second base. Goodrum wanted some of the fun, and as he was batting right-handed, the chances were good. He took a Garrett offering down at the bottom of the zone and drilled an opposite field single to plate Candelario. The Tigers went in order from there, stranding Goodrum at second ultimately, but it was now 15-5 Tigers. Good grief.
Derek Holland came on for a quick bottom of the eighth at this point, while the Reds turned to outfielder Max Schrock to throw the top of the ninth. The magic of a position player pitching was in effect. The Tigers had fun taking big hacks, with Schoop even striking out on a 57 mph offering down and away, and Schrock managed a 1-2-3 frame. He was only the second Reds pitcher on the night to collect one.
Holland issued a pair of walks, but wrapped up a scoreless ninth inning, and this one, mercifully for the Reds, was finally in the books.