Spencer Torkelson says RIley Greene’s promotion to the major leagues could be the spark Detroit Need tigers.
It’s only one game, and the Tigers still have their issues – but so far so good on that theory.
Greene got his first major league hit on his first at bat on a bloop single to the left in the first inning. The blow lifted the crowd from Comerica Park, where it remained frequently on Saturday afternoon.
It was the fourth hit of the inning — an offensive explosion by this year’s standards — after Robbie Grossman’s first homer of the season and Javier Báez’s first long ball since May 22.
The Tigers set a season high for runs, with three home runs after entering Saturday with just two all month; all nine starters recorded a hit in the fourth inning as bats propelled the Tigers to a 14-7 victory over the Texas Rangers.
It ended a six-game losing streak and improved their record to 25-40.
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“Our team needed it, our staff needed it, our fans needed it,” manager AJ Hinch said. “I mean we had to have a good game and we did, so it was exciting.”
Greene finished 2 for 3 with two walks and two runs scored.
On his second at bat, Greene hit a 90 mph line left on a 1-1 fastball, but it was straight to Zach Reks for an out.
The rookie worked a walk in the fifth after falling 0-2 and walked again in the sixth, this time on five pitches, to reach base for the third time.
“Walks are a lot to me,” Greene said. “Being able to be on base as many times as possible, being able to spit on those pitches in the dirt, that means I feel good about myself and see the ball.
“So yeah, walks are a big part of what I try to do.”
His last at bat came in the eighth, when he fell 0-2 down for the second time.
In another left-on-left clash, Greene stayed in the field and singled the other way for his second hit and fourth time on base.
Greene said he had a lot to process over the past 24 hours.
He only had the chance to exchange a few quick words with his family after the match before entering the clubhouse, but he’s looking forward to sitting down with them at dinner and soaking it all up.
“When I ran to center field I was a little nervous, but I just tried to breathe,” Greene said. “Once I got my first shot, I was all good after that. I guarantee my mother was emotional.”
The bats go boom
Detroit had scored just one run in its last 35 innings and hadn’t scored on a hit since Monday — their two runs generated since have come on sacrifice flies. In all, in the previous seven games, the Tigers had scored just 10 points.
Adolis Garcia’s solo home run against Rony García early in the first presented a grim prospect: the Tigers entered Saturday 7-32 giving up the first inning.
Grossman’s long ball in Game 1 quickly tied things up. This was followed by a two-out double from Eric Haase and a 386-foot Báez explosion, hit at 105.8 mph, which made it 3-1.
“Well, you know, good contact,” Báez said. “We had a good approach (today)… I’m just working on my timing and seeing the ball right now.”
Detroit hasn’t looked back. After Jonathan Schoop and Kody Clemens led the second with back-to-back singles, Willi Castro went on a double play to make it 4-1.
In the fourth, the Tigers finally found a long-awaited clutch shot. After Torkelson started with a 400-foot double to left center — his second extra hit of June — back-to-back strikeouts suggested he was close to being blocked.
Instead, Castro singled to make it 5-1, followed by a Grossman single to the left. Cabrera then laced a two-run single into the box to tackle Castro and make it 6-1, ending the day for Rangers starter Taylor Hearn.
The Texas bullpen fared no better.
On his third pitch, Jesus Tinoco was met by Haase, who lit a sinker for a three-point laser to the left field seats at 109.8 mph, making it 9-1.
“I think he swung the bat pretty well the other day, he had a good live BP session against Michael (Pineda), he comes out, I put him in the four holes and he has good swings,” Hinch said. “I mean, sure, it’s in there. You don’t hit 20 home runs without it being in there.
“He just needs to get more batsmen. I’ve been saying that for three or four weeks now, and he’s going to do it, I’m committed to it, he’ll do DH tomorrow.”
After Clemens’ sacrificial fly — his first career RBI — scored Greene, every Tigers starter had either scored a run or driven in a run.
A triple from Castro wide from the center right made it 11-1 to finish the fifth.
The Tigers weren’t done. Cabrera led the sixth with a brace – the 604th of his career and 421st with the Tigers, which moved him past Cal Ripken Jr. to 16th on the MLB roster and broke the tie with Lou Whitaker for fifth in Tigers history – then advanced to third on a Haase single, his third win of the game.
He scored on a wild pitch to make it 12-4.
With two outs, Schoop picked the middle to tackle Haase, and a base rule double from Clemens on the left scored Greene. The 14th inning was the most scored for the Tigers this year, surpassing their 13 on April 23 – in the game in which Cabrera won shot No. 3000.
Eight Tigers had multiple hits in the game, the most in a game for the franchise since September 2011. That included Torkelson, who was 4 for 44 this month and hadn’t had a multi-hit game since 30 may.
“(Riley) already healed him, didn’t you see Tork today?” Hinch joked. “I said to him on the steps, I said, ‘Riley, thanks for coming, you fixed Tork. Make sure you stay close to each other on the road trip. Hang out with each other . “
Grossman had his first three-hit day since April 28.
Garcia makes a quality start
García earned his first victory of the season, although a struggle in the sixth left him with three earned runs allowed.
After clearing García’s outburst in the first, he went into cruise control. García didn’t allow another runner until the sixth, striking out 13 straight and 15 of the game’s first 16, with five strikeouts.
He got in trouble in sixth grade. After giving up a brace to Leody Tavares, a line drive from Zach Reks hit Báez’s glove and spilled into center field. Garcia pushed Marcus Semien to strike in a 6-4-3 double play, but Rangers’ second run scored.
Corey Seager followed with a 414-foot home run in the right center seats and Garcia scored on a “Little League home run” – a triple to left center and a run scored on a throwing error from Báez trying to catch it at third .
In the end, it was Garcia’s first quality start of the year, allowing three earned runs (four in all) in six innings on five hits, no walks and five strikeouts.
“I extended it further than that whole stretch because of how the score was and to save balls in the bullpen,” Hiinch said. “I feel for him, he got a little upset at the end, but he was pretty good.
“I’m so proud of our pitching team…you know giving up something early so you can relocate is a maturing process, and I think I saw that again today.”
Garcia threw 92 pitches, 60 strikes and generated nine swings and misses (five on his fastball and four on his curveball).
Andrew Chafin bounced back from a tough Monday appearance by knocking out Nathaniel Lowe, Sam Huff and Brad Miller in order – slider swing, fastball search, slider swing, respectively – on 15 pitches in the seventh.
Will Vest cleaned up the eighth inning, working around a Charlie Culberson two-out single and finishing with a Seager strikeout on an elevated fastball.
Jason Foley was roughed up in the ninth, allowing three runs as the first five batters reached, sandwiched around a visit to the mound by pitching coach Chris Fetter.
Foley finally ended things with a double play and a groundout at second to end the game.
Contact Tony Garcia at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @realtonygarcia.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers rout Texas Rangers, 14-7, as Riley Greene goes 2-for-3