TORONTO — The Detroit Tigers salvaged one game.
Right-hander Spencer Turnbull pitched completed five innings of one-run ball. Newcomer Tyler Nevin provided a low-key spark on offense, while Zach McKinstry stayed hot against Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Chris Bassitt. And finally, four relievers protected a slim lead by throwing four scoreless innings.
The Tigers beat the Blue Jays, 3-1, in Thursday’s series finale at Rogers Centre to snap a six-game losing streak. Shortstop Javier Báez was removed from the game by manager A.J. Hinch after forgetting how many outs there were in the second inning.
The Tigers (2-9) scored the go-ahead run in the fifth inning. They stranded the bases loaded with no outs in the seventh but tacked on an insurance run in the eighth. Right-handed reliever Alex Lange worked the ninth inning and earned his first save of the season.
Akil Baddoo opened the fifth inning with a five-pitch walk and scored on McKinstry’s double to the gap in right-center field. Entering Thursday, McKinstry was 2-for-8 with two home runs in his career against Bassitt. In the fifth, he put the Tigers in front, 2-1, by drilling a third-pitch slider with a season-high 104.2 mph exit velocity.
McKinstry went 1-for-2 with one walk.
Bassitt allowed two runs on four hits and three walks with seven strikeouts in six innings, throwing 67 of 107 pitches for strikes. He generated 10 whiffs and mixed seven different pitches.
The Tigers scored their first run in the third inning on hits from Jake Rogers and Nick Maton. Rogers delivered a one-out single, and Maton produced a double to put two runners in scoring position.
Both hits occurred on the first pitch.
Nevin, promoted Wednesday from Triple-A Toledo, worked deeper into the count before hitting a fly ball to right-center field. The ball traveled far enough in the outfield for Rogers to score and the Tigers to take a 1-0 lead on the sacrifice fly.
Return of the slider
The Tigers wouldn’t have been in a position to win if it weren’t for Turnbull’s success in his third start of the season. He allowed one run on six hits and one walk with six strikeouts across five innings.
Turnbull threw 64 of 88 pitches for strikes.
The Blue Jays scored their only run in the third inning on Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s RBI single to center field.
He worked around two baserunners — Bo Bichette (single) and Guerrero (walk) — in the first inning before settling in. Even then, he dealt with pressure on the bases for almost his entire outing.
But Turnbull refused to break.
He showed that by completing the fifth inning following back-to-back singles from George Springer and Bichette. The Blue Jays seemed ready to strike, but the next three batters were dispatched: Guerrero popped out in foul territory, Daulton Varsho grounded out and Alejandro Kirk struck out.
Turnbull, who needed to bounce back after two rough starts to begin his first season back from Tommy John surgery, generated 11 whiffs on four sliders, four four-seam fastballs, two sinkers and one curveball. His slider was the best it’s been in the regular season.
Once the relievers took over, the Tigers loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh inning. The next three batters failed to drive in any runs against Adam Cimber and Tim Mayza, as Nevin grounded into a force out, Riley Greene grounded into a force out and pinch-hitter Matt Vierling flied out.
Greene, who went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts, hit the ball directly in front of home plate.
But the Tigers were saved by their bullpen, which has been inconsistent so far this season. An eighth-inning double from Rogers off righty Anthony Bass extended the Tigers’ lead to 3-1.
Left-hander Chasen Shreve, right-hander Jason Foley and righty José Cisnero fired scoreless innings in the sixth, seventh and eighth. Lange pitched a scoreless ninth for the second save of his career.
Lange retired Whit Merrifield, Santiago Espinal and Cavan Biggio.
Next up: Giants
Matchup: Tigers (3-9) vs. San Francisco (5-7), series opener.
First pitch: 6:40 p.m. Friday; Comerica Park, Detroit.
TV/radio: Apple TV+; WXYT-FM (97.1).
Probable pitchers: Tigers — LHP Joey Wentz (0-2, 10.29 ERA); Giants — LHP Sean Manaea (0-0, 4.50).
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers beat Toronto Blue Jays, 3-1, to snap losing streak
Source: Yahoo Sports