Detroit Tigers utility Harold Castro beat Monday̵
Detroit Free Press
Rule 5 draft pick Akil Baddoo – in just his third MLB game – delivered a walk-off single on Tuesday in the 10th inning, giving Detroit Tigers a 4-3 victory over Minnesota Gemini.
With Harold Castro at third base, Baddoo drove a 2-1 shooter to the right field against Twins right-hander Hansel Robles. The Tigers improved to 3-2 with the win.
It has been an incredible three days for Baddoo, who met on the first pitch of his MLB debut, broke a grand slam in his second game and has now delivered a walk-off hit.
Baddoo came in as a pinch-runner at the bottom of the eighth inning.
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Jeimer Candelario gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead at the bottom of the fifth with a double. Robbie Grossman made it a two-run margin with a two-out single. But solo homers from Nelson Cruz (against Michael Fulmer) in the seventh and Byron Buxton (against Jose Cisnero) in the eighth equalized game.
Miguel Cabrera grounded in a 5-4-3 double play with one out in the ninth inning to send the game to extra innings.
Candelario prevented the Tigers from falling backwards in the top of the 10th when he fielded a tough grounder from Buxton and threw Jorge Polanco out on the home field. Left-hander Gregory Soto threw unsuccessful ninth and 10th innings and recorded two strikes.
The tigers meet the twins at 13 Wednesday in the third of three games. Left-hander Matthew Boyd starts, opposite the twins Kenta Maeda.
Casey Mize’s debut in 2021
In the fourth inning, right-hander Casey Mize fought to maintain the command he showed earlier in the game. He gave up a lead-off double to Max Kepler on a first-pitch slider. Willians Astudillo scored him on a first pitch sinker to a 1-0 lead.
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In addition to the Kepler and Astudillo bats, Mize took the remaining five hits in the fourth inning to three-ball counts. In the first, second and third inning combined, only one dough – Jake Cave’s second-inning single – went to a three-ball count.
Mize went the bases filled with two outs in the fourth, but Luis Arraez flew out in a nine-pitch at-bat. (JaCoby Jones got a leaping catch against the left-center wall.) After trailing 3-1 in the count, Mize forced Arraez to take four quick balls away. Then he got him out with his fifth fastball in a row.
Mize did not return for the fifth inning. He finished with a run of five hits and twice, with four strikes. In the first frame, he hit three of the four butchers he faced: Arraez (shooter, swinging), Polanco (shooter, appearance), Kepler (fastball, swinging). Cruz switched between Polanco and Kepler at-bats.
Over Mize’s 82 spots (50 strikes), he got 10 called strikes and five swings and misses – two each with his four-seater and slider and one with his splitter.
Mize’s fastball averaged 96 km / h and peaked at 97.9 km / h. Last season, his fastball averaged 93.7 mph.
Jonathan Schoop is smart
Right-handed reliever Bryan Garcia put himself in a tough situation when he made a mistake to open the fifth inning. Cabrera made a good stop in the hole near first base, so Garcia jumped over to cover the base.
Although Garcia won the race against Polanco, his foot completely missed first base. Polanco stole second base and advanced to third as Cruz flew out – leaving Garcia with an out and a runner crawling towards the home plate.
Manager AJ Hinch called in his infield. Kepler hit a burst bat on second baseman Jonathan Schoop; Polanco shot home. He immediately threw to catcher Grayson Greiner, who caught the ball, turned his body to protect the plate and absorbed Polanco’s slide to second out.
[ Why Tigers’ Grayson Greiner, not Wilson Ramos, is catching Tarik Skubal, Casey Mize ]
The next dough, Rooker, struck out in a 3-2 count to finish the frame without damaging the scoreboard.
Niko Goodrum, Robbie Grossman perform
Niko Goodrum needed a strong performance on Tuesday after being 1-for-7 with a walk and four strikes in his first two games.
Meanwhile, Grossman was still looking for his first hit in his fifth game. He was 0-for-8 with eight walks – leading the big ones – and two strikes.
On Tuesday, Goodrum and Grossman both got what they wanted. In the fourth inning, Grossman shaved a game-binding double. An inning later, he extended the Tigers’ lead to 3-1 with a two-out single to the right field.
[ Tigers manager AJ Hinch: Harold Castro delivered ‘cleanest inning we had’ ]
Because Goodrum is a switch-hitter, Hinch made him lead against left-handed JA Happ from the right side of the plate. Goodrum’s career stroke cut is much better as a right – handed hitter (.323) than a left – handed hitter (.205).
Goodrum went 3-for-5 with a double and did not knock out.
Evan Petzold is a sports reporter for the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.