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Nationals 5, Tigers 2: Torkelson’s home run can’t hold up as Tigers offense dries up

The Tigers got to Corbin early but couldn’t sustain the pressure as Faedo and the bullpen let the Nationals pull away late.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Washington Nationals
Jeimer Candelario Celebrated his fourth inning home-run and makes the Tiger’s slap shot home run celebration the second worst home run celebration in this series.
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

After racing out to an eight-run lead last night and then letting the Nationals cut the deficit to two runs before hanging on for a high-stress win late, the Detroit Tigers looked to take their bats to Patrick Corbin in this one. Spencer Torkelson delivered a big first-inning two-run homer, but it gave way to a string of innings where the Tigers put a runner on but did nothing with them. Meanwhile, Alex Faedo crumbled his second time through the order and coughed up the lead in the middle innings as Jeimer Candelario and the Nationals took game 2 of the series 5-2.

Matt Vierling came into the game with a career 7-12 and 1.500 OPS against Patrick Corbin, and he greeted him with a first-pitch single up the middle. Corbin got Javier Báez to fly out and then got Riley Greene to go fishing for sliders to almost get out of the inning. But Spencer Torkelson crushed an elevated fastball to left center for a home run and the Tigers had an early 2-0 lead.

Alex Faedo gave up a leadoff single as well, but he rebounded to strike out the next batter and then got the final two on two pitches to end the inning. Jonathan Schoop laced a ball off the left field wall but it was hit so hard and played perfectly to hold him to a leadoff single. The Tigers were unable to bring him home from there. Faedo kept the uncomfortable swings coming in the bottom of the second inning and retired the side in order.

The Tigers went down quietly in the top of the third, with Greene reaching on a two-out infield error but unable to advance. The Nationals went down in order in the bottom of the inning as Faedo appeared to be cruising. The Tigers then put a runner on in the fourth inning on a Jonathan Schoop single, but he was erased as Miguel Cabrera lined into an inning-ending double play. The Nationals got on the board in the bottom of the fourth when former Tigers Jeimer Candelario hit a solo home run to center to cut the Tiger's lead to 2-1.

The Tigers again managed to get a runner on in the fifth inning when Eric Haase lead off with a single, but again, the Tigers were set down in order after that. The Nationals strung together some good at-bats against Faedo and took the lead in the bottom of the inning. After a one-out single, CJ Abrams doubled to put two in scoring position with one out. Faedo got Alex Call to ground out to third and was almost out of the jam but Lane Thomas singled on a ball just under the glove of Báez to score two and give the Nationals a 3-2 lead. Faedo got Dominic Smith to fly out to end the inning but that would be his last batter of the day.

The final line for Faedo wasn’t a disaster but it wasn’t a gem either. He kept his fastball down in the zone early and it was decently effective there, but he left too many elevated in the zone as the outing progressed and got hurt on it up there.

Meanwhile, the Tigers continued to put a runner on each inning, this time a one-out Torkelson single, but again, Corbin set them down quietly afterward, in what would be his final inning of work. His final line: 74 pitches, 6 innings, 6 hits, 2 earned runs, no walks, three strikeouts. Tyler Holton came on in relief and he got the first two outs in order but Corey Dickerson hit a ground-rule double, and then scored on a single from Keibert Ruiz, who was thrown out attempting to take second, to push the Nationals lead to 4-2.

Carl Edwards Jr took over in the top of the seventh and issued a leadoff walk to Miguel Cabrera. Sensing a rally, AJ Hinch lifted him for Akil Baddoo, who advanced to second on a passed ball. But, you can probably guess what happened from there. Haase struck out, Zach McKinstry pinch hit for Rogers and flew out to the warning track, and Vierling grounded out to end the inning. Holton set down the Nationals on six pitches to send it to the eighth inning.

Hunter Harvey came in throwing triple digits, but Baez worked him and fought off some good pitches but he was called out on a plainly bad call on a fastball well inside. Greene and Torkelson grounded out to end the inning quietly. Will Vest came on in the bottom of the inning and Thomas got a leadoff double, and then Candelario drove him in on a two-out double to push the score to 5-2. The Tigers went down in order in the top of the ninth to end the game.

The Tigers will look to take the rubber game of the series tomorrow afternoon, as they send Joey Wentz to the mound to face Josiah Gray in a matchup of young starters trying to find their way. Hopefully the Tigers have a little more magic to offer and can take the series on Sunday.