Detroit Tigers’ pitchers could only get José Ramirez out so many times before getting crushed.
Going back to game two of Tuesday’s doubleheader, Detroit hurlers had retired the Cleveland slugger seven-straight times, including five strikeouts — one of which came via pitch clock violation.
They couldn’t keep him down forever, though, as Ramirez took Detroit starter Spencer Turnbull well out of Comerica Park for a three-run shot in this one, powering the Guardians to a 3-2 victory in the series finale.
The series’ trend of having little offensive output continued. It wasn’t until the sixth inning when Ramirez’s home run got Cleveland on the board, doubling their scoring for the series. It chased Turnbull, who had a good-not-great start; he allowed only three hits in 5 1⁄3 innings, but he also walked three batters and only punched out three.
Detroit manager AJ Hinch arguably should have yanked Turnbull sooner. The righty was good early on, but walked Gabriel Arias and hit Mike Zunino in the fifth inning; then walked Steven Kwan in the sixth. Andres Gimenez singled before Ramirez drove them both in.
On the bright side, the bullpen continued to impress. Tyler Alexander finished the sixth inning and worked a scoreless seventh, Alex Lange got two strikeouts in the eighth inning, lowering his early season ERA to 2.08, and Jose Cisnero got through the top of the ninth to give the offense a chance.
Alex Lange, Back-to-Back Hammer Swords. ⚒️⚔️ pic.twitter.com/24TKub3nqK— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 19, 2023
Unfortunately for Detroit, the bats were unable to get much going. Cleveland starter Cal Quantrill pitched six quality innings and possibly could have gone further, but a Kerry Carpenter comebacker drilled him in the leg. Quantrill recorded the out on the play, but he was in visible pain.
Tyler Stephan took over in the eighth, much to the delight of Spencer Torkelson: the slugger, who had doubled earlier in the afternoon, crushed a 417-foot tank over the visiting bullpen to put Detroit on the board for his second home run of the season.
Tork Bombs just hit different. pic.twitter.com/bWM9SYsSn6— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) April 19, 2023
Zach McKinstry pinch-hit for Matt Vierling in the bottom of the eighth opposite James Karinchak, and the former Central Michigan Chippewa turned on a curveball and sent it over the right field fence for his first home run as a Tiger. It was the first pinch-hit home run for the Tigers since our old friend Victor Reyes did so with an inside-the-parker on Aug. 27, 2021.
Unfortunately, reigning Closer of the Year Emmanuel Clase loomed for Cleveland. The 25-year-old had never blown a save against Detroit, and though he worked through trouble, that streak didn’t end on Wednesday.
Kerry Carpenter and Akil Baddoo singled to start the inning, but Torkelson, Tyler Nevin — who lost an 11-pitch battle — and Eric Haase all hit harmless fly balls to end the threat. Detroit hit 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
The loss ends the Tigers’ five-game winning streak and denies them of their hunt for being on the right side of a three-game sweep for the first time this season.
Detroit drops to 7-10. They’ll take Thursday off for travel before starting a three-game set in Baltimore against the upstart Orioles on Friday.