Eduardo Rodriguez put together a decent start and Spencer Torkelson hit his 26th and 27th home runs to power the Tigers on Thursday night. In the process, they avoided the dreaded sweep with contributions throughout the lineup.
The day started with confirmation of Matt Manning’s injury as he went on the 15-day injured list and will miss the rest of the season with another fracture to his right foot. Reliever Trey Wingenter, who we haven’t seen much of since early this season, was recalled from Toledo to bolster the bullpen in his place.
The Tigers jumped on starter Carlos Rodon with a right-handed heavy lineup right out of the gate. Matt Vierling led off by slashing a double to center field. A wild pitch moved Vierling to third, and Spencer Torkelson followed by driving a fly ball over the wall in right center field to make it 2-0 Tigers.
Eduardo Rodriguez cruised through the first, but then allowed a leadoff home run to Gleyber Torres in the bottom of the second inning. A pair of walks and a conference with Chris Fetter followed, and it was effective as Rodriguez quickly got a pair of ground balls with a double play turning the Yankees away before they could add on a run.
One of the rookies helped get that run right back as Andre Lipcius opened the third inning with a line drive single to right. Vierling lashed another double, to left this time, and Lipcius went first to home on the play. Vierling tagged and took third on a Torkelson fly out to deep center that nearly went out for his second dinger on the night. He was seeing Rodon very, very well. Andy Ibañez followed with a solid fly ball to center field deep enough for Vierling to tag and score. 4-1 Tigers.
Rodriguez walked DJ LeMahieu in the bottom half but Vierling hauled in an Aaron Judge missile in center field, and Rodriguez froze Jasson Dominguez for strike three to end the inning.
The Tigers started right up again as Kerry Carpenter beat out an infield single to open the fourth. Báez struck out while Carpenter stole second base. A Tyler Nevin double to left scored Carpenter and continued Rodon’s woes against the right-handed stack of hitters deployed by AJ Hinch. Vierling singled in Nevin with two outs in the inning, and that ended Rodon’s night to a chorus of boos in Yankee Stadium. 6-1 Tigers.
Randy Vasquez took over to face Spencer Torkelson, which is a tough place to start these days. Torkelson got ahead 1-0 and a fastball down the middle got absolutely torched to left for another two-run shot, Torkelson’s 27th long ball on the year. 8-1 Tigers.
Spencer Torkelson has posted his fifth multi-homer game of the season tonight at NYY.⁰— Tigers PR (@DetroitTigersPR) September 8, 2023
Torkelson now has 27 HRs on the season, which is tied with Willie Horton for the 3rd-most by a Tigers player in his age-23 season. #RepDetroit
Rodriguez finally ran into some trouble in the bottom half. He walked Torres to start but got Giancarlo Stanton on a little dribbler in front of the plate. Anthony Volpe singled through the right side of the infield to get Torres to third. E-Rod popped up Kyle Higashioka, but Everson Pereira doubled to left to plate both runs. 8-3 Tigers.
The Tigers went quietly in the fifth, with only the novelty of a Javier Báez walk to break up the speedy 1-2-3 in that inning.
Rodriguez allowed a LeMahieu leadoff single in the bottom of the fifth, but Judge flew out to center field, and Dominguez grounded into a 4-1 double play to end the inning.
Lipcius singled to open the sixth, and after Vierling struck out, Vasquez had to deal with Torkelson once again. Wisely, he stayed away from the strike zone, mostly with soft stuff, and just walked him on five pitches. Ibañez struck out, though a wild pitch then advanced both runners 90 feet, but Jake Rogers struck out as well.
Rodriguez spun a strong sixth inning, getting Torres to ground out and then punching Stanton and Volpe’s tickets for his third and fourth strikeouts, matching his walk total on a night where his command just wasn’t that sharp.
Miguel Cabrera had a quiet night, opening the seventh with a bliner to third base for an out. Carpenter singled the opposite way on a line, but Báez struck out to leave it up to Nevin, who grounded out to end the half inning.
Will Vest took over in the bottom half of the seventh, while Parker Meadows entered the game for Tyler Nevin, taking over in center field, while Vierling moved over to fill Nevin’s spot in left field.
Rodriguez finished with 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 4 K. Not his best, but plenty good enough in this one.
Vest froze Higashioka for strike three to open his night, and then got Pereira swinging through 97 mph heat at the top of the zone. Oswaldo Peraza did little better, falling behind and then grounding out to Lipcius at third to end the inning. Vest looked quite sharp.
In the top of the eighth, with Albert Abreu on the mound, Matt Vierling singled up the middle for his fourth hit of the game. Abreu tried to pick him off and drilled Vierling on the elbow instead. He took second base on the play. Torkelson got ahead 2-0, and then watched as Abreu said to hell with it and pumped three fastballs in to strike him out. However, the same tactic did not work with Andy Ibañez, who got a first pitch heater down the middle and lifted a fly ball just over the right center field wall for his 10th home run of the season. 10-3 Tigers.
Akil Baddoo took over from Vierling in left field. We’ll see how his elbow responds tomorrow, but he really took a direct shot on that pickoff throw. Miguel Diaz took the mound, and quickly retired LeMahieu and Judge on fly outs to Carpenter in right. Diaz walked Dominguez and then gave up a single to Torres, bringing Giancarlo to the dish. Diaz carved him up pretty easily, however, breaking off an 0-2 slider down and well out of the zone that Stanton waved at to end the inning.
Matt Krook took over for the Yankees in the top of the ninth and retired the Tigers 1-2-3. Trey Wingenter got the call in the bottom half with the big lead. He struck out Volpe to open the frame, but walked Higashioka. A line drive from Pereira went right to Lipcius at third for the second out, but a hot shot from Peraza ate Lipcius up a bit. He bobbled the ball and the throw was late. Finally, after a nine pitch battle, Bauers whiffed on a good slider and this one was in the books.
This was the Tigers first victory in Yankee Stadium since April of 2019. They now come home for three with the Chicago White Sox. It’ll be Mike Clevinger vs. Reese Olson on Friday at 6:40 p.m. ET. I like their chances in that one.