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Tigers 4, Padres 3: Victor Reyes walks it off

Detroit surrendered zero earned runs in Wednesday’s win, but Victor Reyes proved to be the hero of the day.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers
Live, Laugh, Love Victor Reyes
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Spirits were high on Monday night at Comerica Park as Detroit dismantled their 1984 World Series opponent, the San Diego Padres, in vintage fashion. Tuesday night, unfortunately, saw the Friars win their first ever game in the city of Detroit, defeating the Tigers 6-4. In today’s rubber match of the series, the impressive pitching matchup of Tarik Skubal and Yu Darvish lived up to expectations. In such a close matchup, two errors nearly proved to be the difference, as it appeared that the Tigers would fall 3-2 to San Diego.

Victor Reyes, however, is clearly a cultured man, and a man of culture knows that the Detroit Tigers like to win series against the San Diego Padres. Tigers win, 4-3, and notch an exciting interleague series win against a 2022 playoff contender.

Today was bound to be an interesting game from the start, as rain delayed the first pitch to 1:30 PM. The short delay proved to be no trouble for 25-year-old starting pitcher Tarik Skubal, who retired nine consecutive Padres hitters after allowing a leadoff single to Jurickson Profar. Yu Darvish, meanwhile, allowed two hits and a walk in the first inning, leading to a Javier Baez run and a 1-0 Tigers lead.

The first of two crucial hiccups in the Tigers’ day came with one out in the fourth inning, when Harold Castro dropped a foul pop ball with superstar Manny Machado at the plate. Machado ultimately drew a walk and sparked a two-run rally from the Padres, and worse for Detroit, a 39-pitch inning for Skubal. Both runs were unearned due to Castro’s error, and Castro would go on to extend his hitting streak to 11 games in today’s game, but nevertheless, the Padres led 2-1 through four innings.

Following a troublesome fourth inning, Tarik Skubal settled back in for the fifth and sixth inning, ending the day having allowed six total baserunners over six innings while striking out two and allowing two unearned runs. Yu Darvish, meanwhile, was mostly dominant today, notching 11 strikeouts while allowing just seven baserunners in seven innings, although he did allow a second earned run in the sixth inning when Harold Castro, Miguel Cabrera, and Jeimer Candelario strung together three consecutive singles. This tied the game at 2-2 in the sixth inning.

In the seventh inning, Joe Jiménez replaced Tarik Skubal, and his final line in what could maybe, just maybe be his final home game as a Tiger was quite strange: 0.2 innings pitched, 2 hits allowed, 1 unearned run, and 3 strikeouts. Ha-Seong Kim reached after striking out to begin the inning on a throwing error by Eric Haase. From there, Jiménez alternated a strikeout of Nomar Mazara with a Trent Grisham single, a Matthew Batten strikeout, and a decisive Jurickson Profar single to score Kim and give the Padres a 3-2 lead.

So, that’s it, huh? Andrew Chafin struck out two in the eighth (in what may have been his final home game as a Tiger), and Michael Fulmer posted a 1-2-3 inning (in what may have been his final home game as a T— you get the point), sure. But Luis Garcia faced the minimum in the eighth, and Taylor Rogers came in during the ninth and took care of business, right?

To quote the great Lee Corso: not so fast, my friend!

You see, the Detroit Tigers have a third baseman who goes by the name Jeimer Candelario. This Candelario fellow — some call him the “Candy Man” when times are good — has seen his fair share of struggles in 2022. Nevertheless, since returning from the All Star Break, Jeimer Candelario has played as if he was possessed by the spirit of the Great Bambino himself, and he led the ninth inning off with a double. Akil Baddoo, grateful for the opportunity to touch a base again, pinch ran for Candelario in this crucial late-game situation.

With the tie runner in scoring position and nobody out, Eric Haase grounded out and Robbie Grossman struck out swinging. Yeesh. Game over, right? Well, actually, Jonathan Schoop is beginning to pick things up a bit as well, and a soft ground ball single to third baseman Manny Machado kept things alive and placed runners on the corner for outfielder Victor Reyes, who has posted a .349 OPS in five games since the All Star Break.

Never mind that. Take it away, Victor.

Once again, Tigers faithful, I implore you to party like it’s 1984, despite the fact we are 40-59 and Al Avila is about to sell half of the bullpen for Jose King’s second cousin. Just kidding...hopefully. The Tigers win, 4-3, and once again emerge victorious in a series against the San Diego Padres. Rejoice!