Things didn’t start off real well, but the good guys managed to avoid losing a series to the Kansas City Royals by finally breaking out with some add on runs to give their pitching staff a margin to work with. Matt Boyd threw a good game, and clutch hits from Javier Báez, Zack Short, and Eric Haase helped power the Tigers to a 9-4 victory on Wednesday afternoon.
After a quick first inning, Boyd found himself in trouble in the second inning. Maikel Garcia led off with an infield single, and then with one out, Samad Taylor singled to left on a ball Nick Maton got glove on but couldn’t knock down.
Freddy Fermin ripped a fly ball up the left center field gap, and Andy Ibáñez got glove on it but couldn’t make the catch against the wall. Fermin cruised into second with a two-run double and it was 2-0 Royals. Boyd dialed it in right about then, striking out Dairon Blanco and Nick Pratto to escape any further unpleasantness.
The Tigers got right to work regaining control of the game in the bottom half.
Nick Maton drew a walk, and Ibáñez followed with an infield single to shortstop. Both runners advanced on a Matt Vierling groundout, and Eric Haase came up with the big knock, drilling a double to center to plate both runs. Zack Short followed with a line drive single to left, scoring Haase, and it was 3-2 Tigers.
From that point on, Matt Boyd was pretty good. He struck out two in the third, escaped a two-out jam in the fourth by striking out Fermin, and didn’t have much trouble otherwise. He finished with 6 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 7 SO.
Meanwhile, the Tigers kept building their lead. Kerry Carpenter hammered an opposite field double with one out in the bottom of the third, and Báez singled to left to score him, collecting his 1000th major league hit in the process. 4-2 Tigers. In the fifth, Short led off with a solo home run to left as the Tigers broke loose against Brady Singer. 5-2 Tigers.
Wouldn't hitting a home run make it Zack Far? pic.twitter.com/A4lWcUzja8— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) June 21, 2023
The Tigers went quietly in the sixth and seventh. Will Vest tossed a snappy seventh inning, and Jason Foley had a little more trouble, allowing a run on two hits in the eighth. However, that 5-3 lead wasn’t good enough, and the Tigers knew it.
In the bottom of the eighth, with Jackson Kowar taking over for KC, Spencer Torkelson reached on an little bloop into shallow right field that saw right fielder Matt Beatty and second baseman Samad Taylor collide. The ball dropped, and Torkelson was on third base by the time the Royals could collect the ball and begin to assess the damage. Beatty ultimately left the game with Drew Waters taking over in center field and Dairon Blanco moving from center to right field.
Once the dust cleared, Carpenter struck out, but Báez laced a single to left to score Torkelson. Maton followed with a single, and Jake Marisnick was hit by a pitch, loading the bases with one out. A ground out from Vierling scored Báez after a review. Haase followed with a ground ball single to Witt Jr. at shortstop, scoring Maton, and then Short came up big again with a line drive single to score Vierling. 9-3 Tigers. Yes, yes that will do nicely.
The big inning allowed A.J. Hinch to rest Alex Lange, and Brendan White took over in the ninth. He carved up Edward Olivares for the first out, and then struck out Samad Taylor after a pitch that hit his hand was ruled a strike because he offered at it. Rough game for Taylor. Fermin doubled on another ball that kicked off Maton’s glove, and Blanco promptly doubled him home to make it 9-4 Tigers. White bounced back, staying away from Nick Pratto and eventually freezing him with a slider down to end the game.
Beating the Royals was a must if the Tigers want to stay in the conversation, so it was good to see them pile up some runs and save their pitching staff some stress. They’ll be off on Thursday, before welcoming in the Minnesota Twins on Friday night.
Tarik Skubal update
Left-hander Tarik Skubal made another rehab start for the Toledo Mud Hens on Wednesday afternoon. His command wasn’t great, and he exited with two outs in the third after allowing a two-run home run. Skubal threw 52 pitches, allowing two hits and a walk, striking out four along the way. His velocity was good, hitting 97 mph repeatedly. The trainer did come out to take a look at something with his hand in the second inning, but he stayed in to finish his outing.
Presumably, Skubal will make one more rehab start with the Mud Hens, likely next Wednesday as the Hens are off on Monday and Tuesday. That would put him on track to return against the Oakland A’s on July 4th. We’ll see how it plays out.
The Hens won that game 5-4, as Justyn-Henry Malloy mashed a three-run shot, his 11th on the year, in the eighth inning to tie the game. A sac fly from Corey Joyce to score Michael Papierski walked this one off for the Hens.
Here’s Tarik Skubal’s full outing from today, including his brief visit from the trainer. pic.twitter.com/23NDvSuATa— Tigers ML Report (@tigersMLreport) June 21, 2023