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Braves 6, Tigers 5 (Gm 2): Atlanta outslugs Detroit to sweep doubleheader

A slugfest broke out at Comerica Park, but the Braves are hard to beat that way, or any way.

Atlanta Braves v Detroit Tigers - Game Two Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

The ball was jumping off bats all afternoon at Comerica Park, but in the end the Atlanta Braves hit four home runs to the Tigers’ three, and that was the difference. A shaky outing from Michael Lorenzen didn’t help matters as the Braves took game two to sweep Wednesday’s doubleheader.

Things didn’t get off to a very promising start. Michael Lorenzen walked Ronald Acuña Jr. to start the game and Matt Olson followed with a single that moved Acuña to third. Lorenzen got a little pop up into shallow right field off the bat of Austin Riley, and Zack Short hauled it in, but the angle he was running prevented a strong throw home and the speedy Acuña tagged and scored. A ground ball from Sean Murphy was converted into a 4-6-3 double play in a hurry, with a nice scoop from Torkelson to end the half inning.

The Tigers mustered a little threat of their own against lefty Dylan Dodd in the bottom of the first, but couldn’t cash in a run. Short was leading off and struck out, but Spencer Torkelson walked. After Andy Ibáñez flew out to left, Javier Báez singled to bring Matt Vierling to the dish. Vierling drilled a sharp one-hopper to the right side, but Ozzie Albies made a nice sliding pick and threw him out to turn the Tigers away.

Albies carried that momentum into the second inning, when he got a hanging changeup and smoked it into the stands in right field to make it 2-0 Braves. The Tigers got a leadoff walk from Jonathan Schoop in the second, but Miguel Cabrera struck out, Jake Rogers drilled a line drive to the shortstop Orlando Arcia, and Jake Marisnick flew out to end the inning.

Acuña greeted Lorenzen with one of the longest home runs Comerica Park has seen since the heyday of Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez in the lineup. He got a 1-1 sweeper that broke right over the heart of the plate and destroyed it 461 feet to center field.

Lorenzen settled in a bit, striking out Matt Olson and Sean Murphy as he retired the next three in order, but the damage was starting to pile up.

Andy Ibáñez got a run back for the Tigers in the bottom half. Dodd tried to sneak a 2-0 fastball at the top of the zone, but Ibáñez launched his fourth home run of the season 420 feet to left field. The ball was flying out today.

The Braves were right back at it in the fourth. Eddie Rosario reached on a tapper back to Lorenzen and Albies followed with a double to right. Orlando Arcia singled them both in to make it 5-1, and Lorenzen was lucky it didn’t get any worse as Michael Harris II and Acuña followed with hard line drives that found Jake Marisnick in center field.

The Tigers were still kicking however, and it’s not as though Dylan Dodd has any track record in the majors in this, his fifth appearance. Matt Vierling greeted him in the bottom of the fourth with a solo shot to left, his fifth home run of the season.

Jonathan Schoop followed with a single, and then Dodd walked Miguel Cabrera. Dodd hung a first pitch slider on the inner edge to Jake Rogers, and the Tigers backstop lifted it high and deep to left into the bullpen for a three-run shot, his ninth on the season. Just like that, it was a tie ballgame.

Jake Marisnick grounded out and Short popped out for the first two outs of the inning. Spencer Torkelson ripped a single to left, but Ibáñez flew out to center field to send it to the fifth inning.

Lorenzen got into some trouble in the top of the fifth as he walked Olson and Austin Riley followed with a single. Fortunately, Sean Murphy flew out to right, and Marcell Ozuna grounded into a 6-4-3 double play before any damage was done.

Veteran right-hander Collin McHugh took over from Dodd in the bottom of the fifth. With Carpenter, McKinstry, and Maton all on the bench, the pinch-hitting options for A.J. Hinch were plentiful as the Braves looked to have no lefties in the bullpen unless they mixed in starter Jared Shuster.

McKinstry was the first to get into the game, taking over from Jonathan Schoop with two outs in the fifth. He flew out to Acuña in right field, and we were on to the sixth with McKinstry in left field, and Ibáñez taking over for Schoop at third base.

Lorenzen hung a few breaking balls and changeups in this one and paid for them, but they tried to squeeze another inning out of him despite having a pretty fresh bullpen after Tuesday’s rain out. It didn’t go all that well. Eddie Rosario opened the sixth by golfing a changeup to right field for a solo shot. 6-5 Braves. That was the sixth home run in the game already. Lorenzen racked up the next three outs without much issue.

The Tigers went down in order in the bottom half, with Nick Maton hitting for Marisnick and then taking over at third base as Ibáñez moved back to left field, Vierling moved to center, and McKinstry to left. Jason Foley took over on the mound to start the seventh inning.

Foley walked Acuña to open the inning, which is rarely a bad idea. He whiffed Matt Olson with a sinker to strike him out as Acuña tried to steal second and was cut down by a fine throw from Jake Rogers to Báez. Austin Riley grounded out, and the top of the Tigers’ order, such as it is, was set to bat in the bottom of the seventh.

Kerry Carpenter pinch-hit for Short in the leadoff spot with McHugh still on the bump. The right-hander got strike one with a cutter and then threw nothing but sweepers, eventually getting him to fly out to left. McHugh painted the edges against Torkelson and struck him out, while Ibáñez grounded out to end the inning.

Jose Cisnero took over in the eighth. With one out, Marcell Ozuna singled to center and Rosario walked. Cisnero dialed it in and struck out Albies and Arcia to escape the jam. The Tigers now had six outs to work with as the Braves sent Joe Jimeñez to the mound. Báez and Vierling flew out, and McKinstry grounded out to send it to the ninth.

Chasen Shreve got the call and retired the Braves in order, striking out Olson for the third out. So it was last call for the Tigers, hunting for an improbable series victory.

Jimeñez stayed in after a quick eighth inning, and he punched out Cabrera on three fastballs. Rogers flew out to center field, and then the Braves pulled Jimeñez and inserted lefty A.J. Minter, who pitched in game one, to get Nick Maton. Hinch responded by pinch-hitting Eric Haase, but he struck out to end it.

The Tigers record stands at 27-39 as they head out for a weekend set with the division leading Minnesota Twins starting Thursday night.

Injury Report

The Tigers had a long list of injury news to report on Wednesday. First and foremost, Riley Greene won’t be travelling to Minnesota so that he can stay in Detroit and use the anti-gravity treadmill. Nothing further on his rehab timetable.

Second, Jackson Jobe, who has been sidelined three months with a lower back issue, threw live BP in Lakeland on Wednesday. With no further complications, he should be making rehab starts soon.

Top prospect Colt Keith has missed the last few games with the Erie SeaWolves due to arm fatigue, which is a bit ominous. Maybe he’s just sore from mashing baseballs all over the park. We’ll have to wait for an update there.

Shortstop prospect Ryan Kreidler had core muscle surgery and is going to miss significant time.

Relievers Trevor Rosenthal, Kervin Castro, and Aaron Haase are all having UCL reconstruction surgery, the second time for Rosenthal and Castro.

Tarik Skubal and Matt Manning will make rehab starts with the Toledo Mud Hens on Thursday and Friday.