The Detroit Tigers faced a tough matchup on paper in this one, but once again, found a way to overcome the pitching mismatch and take a two-run lead in the middle innings. Unfortunately, the bullpen could not come through to hold it as one disastrous inning proved to be the difference in this game as the Tigers fell to the Blue Jays 5-3.
Ross Stripling, who threw six innings of one-hit ball in his last outing vs Detroit, picked up where he left off with a two-strikeout first inning. The lone good at-bat for the Tigers was Riley Greene who hit a sharp line drive groundout. Meanwhile, Drew Hutchison stumbled a bit in his first inning of work against his former team. He gave up a one-out single to Vlad Guerrero Jr. who then stole second base and came around to score on a single from Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Hutchison avoided further damage thanks to the strong arm of Eric Haase. On a swinging strike three to Bo Bichette, Haase threw out Gurriel attempting to steal second base.
Jeimer Candelario collected the Tigers’ first hit of the game with a one-out double off the wall in center field. But he was unable to advance as Haase struck out and Robbie Grossman flew out to end the inning. Meanwhile, Hutchison settled down in his second inning of work. He allowed only a one-out walk to Matt Chapman, who was erased on an inning-ending double play.
The Tigers started to figure out Stripling in the fourth inning as Victor Reyes and Javier Báez collected back-to-back hits to start things off. Unfortunately, Miguel Cabrera followed by hitting into a double play and Candelario grounded out softly to end the threat as quickly as it began. Meanwhile, Hutchison was in cruise control as he worked around a nine-pitch, leadoff walk and immediately got a double play ball and a popout on five pitches to once again retire the side.
Things got fun for the Tigers in the fifth as they put their first runs on the board. Haase and Grossman both singled to start the inning, and Schoop was hit by the pitch, though it was originally ruled to have hit the knob of the bat, to load the bases with no one out. Kody Clemens hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game and rather surprisingly bring Stripling’s day to an end. Likely not wanting him to go through the order a third time, the Jays turned to Adam Cimber. Riley Greene thwarted their plans as he ripped a double into the right-field corner to score Grossman and give the Tigers the lead.
With Reyes batting, Cimber bounced a slider that got away from Danny Jansen. Schoop immediately broke for home and probably would have scored if not for a near-perfect bounce off the wall to Chapman who threw back to Jansen to get Schoop. Reyes walked to put two on but Báez immediately grounded out to end the threat. Hutchison provided a shutdown bottom of the inning which would be the last inning of the day. His final line was a good one. On 68 pitches he pitched five innings, allowed two hits, and one run, walked three, and struck out three.
The Tigers put another run on the board in the sixth when Candelario was hit by a pitch with one out, and Haase followed with a single to start a threat. Grossman struck out but Schoop bailed him out when he hit a single the opposite way to score Candelario and put the Tigers up by two.
Things were looking up for the Tigers at this point. Unfortunately, it all fell apart when AJ Hinch turned to recently called-up Derek Law in the bottom of the sixth inning. Far from looking like a strong back-end arm, thanks to his work as the closer in Toledo, “The Sheriff” looked like a mall cop as he single-handedly gave the game to the Blue Jays.
It started with a leadoff single from Santiago Espinal, and followed with what was originally ruled a double play but was overturned as the replay showed George Springer beat the throw to first. Law hit Vlad Jr. with a pitch and then couldn’t field a comebacker right to him which would have been an easy inning-ending double play. Instead, it was bases loaded and one out. Bichette hit a sacrifice fly to bring the Jays within one and then it all went south as Teoscar Hernandez blasted a three-run homer to center to put the Jays up 5-3. Law struck out Chapman to end the inning but the damage was done. At least he made some history along the way.
Derek Law, making history for the Tigers in Toronto: The first pitcher to allow a homer, commit an error, hit a batter and throw a wild pitch in a single relief appearance.— Ryan Ford (@theford) July 30, 2022
A shell-shocked Tigers lineup could only manage two singles and a walk over the final three innings and did not advance a runner passed first base. Angel De Jesus and Jose Cisnero pitched hitless innings in the seventh and eighth, making the choice to turn to Law in the sixth, with the heart of the Jays order coming up, even more puzzling. The Tigers will look to salvage a series split tomorrow at noon, as they will send Garret Hill to the mound to take on a struggling Jose Berrios.