Detroit Tigers manager AJ Hinch speaks on Thursday, June 1
Detroit Free Press
That Detroit Tigers needed a starting pitcher but were out of options.
So they implemented a pitching-only pitching plan.
Due to Spencer Turnbull’s injury, manager AJ Hinch stood on his relievers from start to finish in Thursday’s league final. And the bullpen helped the Tigers to a convincing 8-3 win over the Seattle Mariners at Comerica Park.
The Tigers (26-36) took two of three games from the Mariners.
“You need a lot of guys to have good days out of the ‘pen and throw the ball well,'” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said. “We kept tackling a couple of runs, which made it possible to breathe a little. A lot of arms on a Tuesday, but the guys went up to look good. “
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The Tigers used six relievers, starting with Tyler Alexander’s 2⅔ innings of one-ball. Hinch then received 1⅓ innings from Bryan Garcia, two innings from Jason Foley, one inning from Joe Jimenez, one inning from Alex Lange and a perfect ninth inning from Gregory Soto.
When Alexander left, Garcia and Foley allowed runs in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively. Mitch Haniger drilled his second home run of the game – and 16th this season – to the left field in the fifth.
But Robbie Grossman padded the lead in the sixth inning. Facing Mariners reliever Anthony Misiewicz, who attended Anchor Bay High School, attacked Grossman a basket with two strikes and pulled a two-run homer to the left for a 7-3 lead.
Catcher Jake Rogers tripled to center to score Daz Cameron for an 8-3 edge in the seventh. Rogers finished 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs.
“He plays with confidence,” Hinch said. “He is very comfortable in his own skin and you can see that the heart rate is slow. He gives us a lot of stability when he contributes on both sides of the ball. I am very happy with him … He has been very productive and a big part of why we’ve stabilized things behind the plate. “
Named from Triple-A Toledo to replace an injured Derek Hill, Cameron made his season debut and finished 0-for-3 right away.
Jimenez, Lange and Soto kept the Mariners from scoring.
Another Rogers HR
The Mariners first struck at the seventh pitch Alexander threw, a 90 mph cutter for Haniger. He hit his first of two home runs to the left field. And on the ninth pitch thrown by Mariners starter Justus Sheffield, Jonathan Schoop equalized the result with his 10th home run.
Miguel Cabrera doubled – his 2,900. career hit – and Isaac Paredes, robbed of a walk-off homer in Wednesday’s extra inning loss, pushed the Tigers’ lead to 2-1 with a single left field.
In the second inning, Rogers launched his second home run in as many days in full count. Sheffield threw him a four-nail fastball, two sinks, two conversions and two shooters. He unloaded on a slider for a 413-foot explosion to the left field.
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The Tigers took advantage of the Marines’ mistake in the fourth inning. Mistakes from third baseman Kyle Seager and second baseman Donovan Walton put runners on third and first.
Willi Castro stuck a flying ball in the center to go ahead with two runs. Grossman flipped a single in the middle to score Rogers for a 5-2 lead. Sheffield’s pitch was 87 after the fourth and he did not return.
Alexander faced his biggest test in the second half.
Alexander allowed a four-pitch walk and single with one out to put runners on the corners. The smart left-hander filled the strike zone and fought deep into bats with Taylor Trammell and Donovan Walton.
Both players knocked out.
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Trammell swung and missed Alexander’s fastball, the ninth and final pitch of their match. Walton was called out on strike when he saw Alexander’s cutter – the seventh pitch he saw – strand the runners.
Alexander recorded the first two outs in the third inning. He was removed after a single from Seager. Garcia finished inning at a pitch. Alexander, who started his second place for a bullpen-only game this month, conceded a run of three hits and a walk of two strikes.
He threw 35 out of 56 places for strikes.
Evan Petzold is a sports reporter for the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more about the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.