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Tigers 5, Angels 4: Ninth inning heroics from Kerry Carpenter and Ryan Kreidler win the day

The rookies launched back-to-back jacks to vault the Tigers to victory on Wednesday.

Detroit Tigers v Los Angeles Angels Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Angels and Tigers exchanged a total of seven home runs in a bit of a slugfest, including a monster day at the plate from Eric Haase, but the good guys came out on top courtesy of back-to-back ninth inning home runs from Kerry Carpenter and Ryan Kreidler.

We haven’t had this much fun all season.

This one started out in very 2022 Tigers fashion. With one out in the top of the first, Victor Reyes laced a single to right field. Javier Báez hit a grounder to shortstop but beat out the double play turn, and Eric Haase followed with a single as Báez went first and third. Unfortunately Harold Castro’s line drive was snared on a diving play by shortstop Andrew Velazquez. Two hits. No runs.

Hutchison immediately got into some trouble as well but was also able to pitch through it. David Fletcher and Mike Trout opened the bottom of the first with singles, but Hutchison bounced back, getting Ohtani to whiff on a changeup, and then dusting Luis Rengifo with a high fastball. Taylor Ward flew out to right field, and both pitchers had survived a somewhat strenuous first inning and settled in.

The Tigers came back with another threat in the second as Spencer Torkelson led off with a walk and Jeimer Candelario singled to right field. However, the Tigers threatened, but did not score as Kerry Carpenter and Ryan Kreidler struck out, and Willi Castro grounded out to end the inning. Hutchison put together a 1-2-3 bottom half, with a nice play by Kreidler on a hot grounder from Matt Thaiss a minor highlight of the frame.

Again the Tigers got two baserunners in the third, but after a one-out single, Sandoval picked off Báez, who took his lead and was adjusting his gloves, caught completely off guard. Eric Haase followed with a single, so that was another costly Báez mistake, and Harold Castro popped up to shortstop for the third out.

Hutchison had some traffic facing the top of the Angels order in the bottom of the third, but again struck out Ohtani and got Rengifo to ground out to avoid any trouble.

In the top of the fourth, Spencer Torkelson led off with a moonshot 434 feet to straightaway center field on a Sandoval fastball on the outer edge, and we saw that it was good. Sandoval is one of the toughest pitchers in the game to homer against, and Tork has struggled mightily to be on time with fastballs all year.

Just as quickly as Torkelson had given the Tigers the lead, Hutchison lost in the bottom of the fourth. Taylor Ward led off with a single to left, but Hutchison got Mike Ford, and Jo Adell’s grounder forced Ward at second, so Hutch had only the catcher, Matt Thaiss, left to deal with. He did not deal with him, as Thaiss smoked a center cut 1-1 fastball deep to center field for a two-run shot, his first of the year. 2-1 Angels.

Having given up the lead, but generally done his job yet again, Hutchison departed after the fourth. His final line was 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 3 SO.

Will Vest took over after the Tigers went quickly in the top of the fifth, as Hinch no doubt wanted Trout and Ohtani to see someone new. It didn’t matter to Trout, who crushed his 32nd homer to right center. 3-1 Angels. That was Trout’s four straight game with a long ball. He appears to be feeling pretty healthy to us.

Vest did bounce back against Ohtani, battling through a seven pitch AB and finally dusting the superstar with a fastball up and in that he couldn’t lay off on. However, Luis Rengifo slapped a little grounder to left field and booked it around to second base with a double. Vest walked Ward next and things were on thin ice. However, to Vest’s credit he bounced back to strike out Ford and Adell to avoid any further damage.

That was key as Eric Haase led off the sixth with a solo shot, his 10th, against reliever Andrew Wantz. 3-2 Angels. Harold Castro then drew a four pitch walk from the gun shy reliever. Unfortunately, Torkelson got into a 3-2 count and reached for a cutter away, grounding into a 6-4-3 double play. Candelario struck out to end the inning.

Jason Foley took over in the bottom of the sixth, and he was back on point in this one. He struck out Thaiss and Velazquez, and after Fletcher singled, the right-hander blew away Trout with a hellish 97 mph sinker down and in to end the inning.

The Tigers finally caught up again in the top of the seventh as Kerry Carpenter smoked a double to right field. After Kreidler grounded out, Willi Castro came up with a single through the right side, and Carpenter scored to knot the game up 3-3.

Unfortunately, as quickly as they tied it up, they lost the lead again. Andrew Chafin came on in the bottom half, getting Ohtani as the leadoff hitter. He fell behind 2-0 and Ohtani then hammered a shot to right center field for his 33rd home run on the year, and his fourth in the series. It’s just wild that the Angels are this bad with these two absolute monsters in the lineup.

Chafin did rebound, setting down the next three in order, and we were on to the eighth.

Mr. Haase wasn’t done yet in this one, and he drilled a line drive to left for a double to lead things off against reliever Jimmy Herget. Herget doesn’t throw hard, but he has a really quick, snappy release from a near sidearm arm slot. His mix of sweeping breaking balls is fairly nasty, and after Harold flew out, Torkelson and Candelario couldn’t find the heavy dose of benders Herget was spinning in there and they both struck out to squander the scoring chance.

Jose Cisnero took over in the bottom half, and other than a Thaiss single he looked sharper this time out. But now it was last call for the Tigers to avoid another sweep.

Jose Quijada came on to close it out again the back of the Tigers order...and he did not succeed. Kerry Carpenter took the lefty deep the opposite way just fair in the left field corner for a huge, game-tying home run. That blast was Carp’s third on the year.

But wait, there’s more! Fellow rookie Ryan Kreidler was up next and he got a 94 mph heater on the inner edge, pulled his hands in, and crushed it deep to center field to give the Tigers the lead. 5-4 Tigers! Now that is a great time for your first major league home run.

Willi Castro grounded out, and Victor Reyes lined out to Trout in center field, but Javier Báez (checks notes) walked, yes walked to bring Eric Haase to the dish. That was enough for Quijada, as manager Phil Nevin turned to right-hander Zack Weiss. Haase came through as well, ripping his second double of the day to left field as Báez moved to third with Harold Castro up next. Haase had a huge day with five hits, including the home run and a pair of doubles. Harold hit it squarely, but lined out to first base to end the inning. Now they just needed to hold the lead in the bottom of the ninth.

To make it happen, Gregory Soto would need to go through Trout and Ohtani again, so this was rather far from being in the bag just yet. However, Soto got ahead of Trout and froze him with a high sinker just in the zone. Ohtani whiffed on a fastball in on his hands for strike one, then fouled off a slider and three straight 99 mph sinkers. Soto reared back...and broke off a good slider down and away for the punchout. Striking out Trout and Ohtani is pretty good, but Soto needed to avoid a letdown against Luis Rengifo.

Unfortunately, Rengifo singled, and then Soto walked Taylor Ward to put the tying run at second base. The fanbase roiled and raged. Nails were chewed. Antacids were gobbled. Meanwhile, the lanky frame of Chris Fetter strode out to the mound to calm his mercurial closer down. Pitcher whispering completed, Fetter returned to the dugout, and Soto blazed Matt Duffy with three straight heaters for his third strikeout of the inning, and the Tigers avoided the sweep in Anaheim.

Well, that was fun one. Playing the kids is the way. They’ve got all the energy right now, and it was great to see them coming up big as Torkelson, Carpenter, and Kreidler all went deep. The star of this one probably has to be Eric Haase, who absolutely torched the Angels all game long for probably the best performance of his young career.