The Tigers weren’t exactly outclassed on Tuesday, but when it came down to the pressure situations late in the game, the Cincinnati Reds were just the better team on this night. They scored a run in the 10th inning, and the Tigers did not, and that was the difference as they dropped the series opener 6-5 to the Reds.
With Joey Wentz’s struggles this year in mind, it was good to see the Tigers jump out to a lead for him in the opener with the Cincinnati Reds at Comerica Park. Unfortunately, it didn’t help the big lefty settle in and finally put together a solid outing.
Wentz surrendered a one out single to Nick Senzel in the first, but no more, and the Tigers quickly jumped all over lefty Brandon Williamson in the bottom half.
Andy Ibáñez continues to be a scrappy and useful utility piece for the Tigers and he got them on the board with a one out solo shot to left for his 11th homer on the year. Spencer Torkelson and Jake Rogers followed with singles, and Kerry Carpenter punched a hot grounder through the left side of the infield to plate Tork. Rogers went first to third on the play, and Carpenter was able to follow suit and take second base. Miguel Cabrera singled to right to score Rogers, and it was a quick 3-0 lead for the Tigers.
A Zack Short error at third base allowed Tyler Stephenson to reach first to open the second inning. He moved to second on a Joey Votto ground out, and Elly De La Cruz drew a walk. Harrison Bader flew out for the second out of the inning, but TJ Friedl singled in Stephenson, and a Jonathan India single brought in De La Cruz and Friedl to tie the game. After a mound visit from Chris Fetter, Wentz surrendered a double to Senzel, moving India to third, and it looked like the lefty might not get out of the inning. Fortunately Spencer Steer lined out to Parker Meadows in center to end the rally.
The Tigers almost returned fire in the bottom half as Matt Vierling doubled and Ibáñez drew a one-out walk. Unfortunately, Torkelson grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Wentz got the first two outs in the third, but walked Joey Votto and gave up a single to the blazing fast De La Cruz. Harrison Bader dumped a little blooper into shallow right field right between Ibáñez and Carpenter, and both runners scored to make it 5-3 Reds. Wentz walked Friedl and his night was over. It was another really bleak outing for Wentz. The Tigers don’t have a ton of options for the last spot in the rotation over the next few weeks, but his career as a starter is hanging by the faintest of threads.
Beau Brieske took over, and after walking India, he struck out Senzel to snuff the rally.
Things sped up a bit as the next nine outs from both sides came in order. Votto singled to lead off the fifth, and after De La Cruz struck out, Bader singled as well. Friedl grounded into a force of Votto at third as Javy Báez got the lead runner out of the way. Will Vest came on for Brieske and dusted India with a fastball to end the inning with no damage.
Vierling drew a walk to open the bottom of the fifth, and Ibáñez came through again, doubling to left to score Vierling from first on a good read. That ended Williamson’s night, as reliever Fernando Cruz took over. He got Torkelson and Rogers to ground out, but Kerry Carpenter went down a flicked a pretty good splitter to right for an RBI single to tie the game at 5-5.
Vest struck out the side in the sixth, with his fastball looking as explosive as we’ve seen since he returned from the injured list in mid-August. The Tigers went in order in the bottom half, and both teams went down in order in the seventh as Tyler Holton took over from Vest.
Jason Foley came on with two outs in the eighth to get India to ground out, while the Reds turned to Ian Gibaut in the bottom half.
Jake Rogers greeted Gibaut with a single up the middle. Carpenter struck out on a foul tip to leave things in Miguel Cabrera’s hands. The big man struck out as well, and I realized in that moment that he only has 18 games left in his major league career. Starting to feel real now, and while it’s time, it isn’t easy to take, either.
Zach McKinstry had taken over from Short at third base in the sixth inning, and so it was up to him, but he grounded out to third base to send this to the ninth inning all tied up.
Will Benson led off against Foley with a screaming line drive that Parker Meadows made a nice catch on as he went to the ground. Foley got all up in Steer’s kitchen with a sinker and he popped out to Ibáñez. Nick Martini flew out to Vierling in left, and it was time to walk this one off.
The Reds went with right-hander Alexis Diaz to try and send this to extra innings.
Báez led off, and in a 1-1 count nearly got hit in the head by a Diaz fastball. He got rung up for a swinging strike as the bat came around in the process of bailing out of the box, and he wasn’t thrilled about it. A foul tip on another fastball up and in sent him back to the dugout with some expletives flying. Can’t blame you, Javy. I don’t know what to do either. It just sucks to see a formerly talented hitter this lost.
Parker Meadows took a breaking ball off the right foot, and then easily stole second base without a throw. Suddenly the Tigers were in business. And then they weren’t, as Vierling popped out and the Reds managed to get Ibáñez to roll over a ground ball to third.
On to extra baseball.
Alex Lange took over with pinch-runner Noelvi Marte starting on second base. Lange immediately allowed a Tyler Stephenson single to right that scored Marte. Votto then reached on an error on Ibáñez, and this was not going well. De La Cruz grounded a ball just to the first base side of second base, and Báez snared it and fired to Torkelson, who turned it over back to Ibáñez at second. Stephenson took third on the play. Lange was able to punch out Jake Fraley to end the half inning, but the Reds had a 6-5 lead.
Old friend Buck Farmer took over on the mound, and Torkelson quickly flew out to center field, with Ibáñez tagging and taking third. Akil Baddoo pinch-hit for Rogers and slapped a grounder to India at second base. Ibáñez was going on contact, and India cut him down at the plate. Farmer blazed a fastball above the zone that Carpenter couldn’t hold up on for strike three, and the Reds won the day.
On this day in history
Since FrisbeePilot is unavailable, I’ll try to pinch-hit with a few interesting notes.
- On this day in history, track and field legend and notable Nazi irritator Jesse Owens was born in 1913 in Danville, Alabama. He would go on to win four gold medals at the infamous 1936 Munich Olympics.
- Music icon Johnny Cash passed away at age 71 on this day in 2003. Cash’s rich baritone and hard-nosed stories of hard men and women made him a legend, cemented by his classic live album, At Folsom Prison, recorded on January 13, 1968 and released in May of that year.
- Finally, on this day in 1940, four teenaged boys in Montignac, France, discovered the cave complex at Lascaux, containing the largest and most well preserved samples of prehistoric art ever discovered to that point.
- Finally, on this day in 1959, the Soviet Union launched Luna 2, the first probe to ever reach the Moon.