Saturday, December 4 2021

The throw from Detroit Tigers left fielder Akil Baddoo looked perfect.

But the ball was late.

Toronto Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. — the free extra-inning runner on second base to open the 10th inning — slid into home just before Baddoo’s rocket connected with catcher Eric Haase, who turned to apply the tag. Guerrero had been running on Corey Dickerson‘s single.

The Tigers then failed to score in the bottom of the 10th, taking a 3-2 loss Saturday at Comerica Park. Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano pitched the ninth and 10th frames without giving up a run.

Toronto Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr. beats the throw to Detroit Tigers catcher Eric Haase to score from second on a single by teammate Corey Dickerson during the 10th inning Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021, in Detroit.Toronto Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr. beats the throw to Detroit Tigers catcher Eric Haase to score from second on a single by teammate Corey Dickerson during the 10th inning Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021, in Detroit.

Toronto Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. beats the throw to Detroit Tigers catcher Eric Haase to score from second on a single by teammate Corey Dickerson during the 10th inning Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021, in Detroit.

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The Tigers (62-68) are 53-44 since May 8 and 22-17 since the All-Star break.

In the top of the ninth, left-hander Gregory Soto retired Marcus Semien, Bo Bichette and Guerrero Jr. to work around a leadoff single.

Kyle Funkhouser allowed the RBI single to Dickerson in the top of the 10th.

After Blue Jays starter Alek Manoah held the Tigers to one hit through six innings, Jonathan Schoop and Robbie Grossman rattled off consecutive singles in the seventh to set up Jeimer Candelario’s one-out RBI single to center to chase Toronto’s 23-year-old rookie at 103 pitches.

Righty reliever Trevor Richards entered as the replacement.

The next batter, Haase, knotted the score at 2-2 by beating out an attempted double play. He hit a chopper to Bichette, who backed up at shortstop to play the ball on a hop. Despite a clean turn to Semien at second base, Bichette’s adjustment gave Haase the extra step he needed.

He beat the relay from Semien, allowing Grossman to score.

Manoah allowed two runs on four hits over 6⅓ innings, without giving up a walk and striking out eight batters. All four of the right-hander’s pitches were at their best, especially the two-seam fastball, four-seam fastball and slider.

Jays strike first

Left-hander Tyler Alexander recorded one of the best performances of his career Aug. 20 at Rogers Center in Toronto, keeping the Blue Jays to one run across seven innings in a 4-1 win. He entered out of the bullpen Saturday, and in his second inning of work, the Blue Jays opened the scoring.

Alejandro Kirk blasted a solo home run to left field with two outs in the sixth inning, tagging Alexander’s cutter for a 1-0 lead. Dickerson (walk) and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (single) applied additional pressure before the Blue Jays called on All-Star Teoscar Hernandez as a pinch-hitter.

Pitching coach Chris Fetter used a mound visit to help Alexander prepare for Hernandez, who flied out to right field on the third pitch he saw to conclude the sixth. A second run was charged to Alexander in the seventh. Rookie reliever Jason Foley took over for Alexander, but he inherited a runner on first base and two outs.

Bichette delivered an RBI single to put Toronto ahead 2-0. (Foley completed the seventh without further damage.)

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Jose Urena (62) throws during the first inning Aug. 28, 2021 against the Toronto Blue Jays at Comerica Park.Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Jose Urena (62) throws during the first inning Aug. 28, 2021 against the Toronto Blue Jays at Comerica Park.

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Jose Urena (62) throws during the first inning Aug. 28, 2021 against the Toronto Blue Jays at Comerica Park.

Urena’s scoreless start

Making his return from the injured list, right-hander Jose Urena started and pitched three scoreless innings. He allowed just three hits — without conceding a walk — and struck out two batters, throwing 22 of 49 pitches for strikes.

Urena, coming back from a right groin strain, is healthy again, but he isn’t guaranteed a spot in the starting rotation. When the Tigers play the Reds in Cincinnati next weekend, the Tigers plan to start Alexander before bringing Urena out of the bullpen.

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In the first inning, Urena struck out Guerrero swinging at a changeup. Haase received the pitch and executed a double play by throwing out Bichette trying to steal third base. The arms of Urena and Haase ended the inning.

Urena showed his health in the second inning, dashing off the mound to retrieve a bouncer from Santiago Espinal. He bare-handed the ball and tossed a bullet to Schoop at first base for the third out.

Instead of throwing an abundance of two-seam fastballs, Urena tossed 18 four-seamers and 11 two-seamers, along with a healthy mix of sliders (11) and changeups (9). To get through his first two innings, he used more four-seamers/changeups than two-seamers/sliders.

Detroit Tigers' Jeimer Candelario connects for a RBI single during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021, in Detroit.Detroit Tigers' Jeimer Candelario connects for a RBI single during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021, in Detroit.

Detroit Tigers’ Jeimer Candelario connects for a RBI single during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021, in Detroit.

Two sides of Lange

Upon replacing Urena, righty reliever Alex Lange showcased why the Tigers expect him to become a dominant member of the bullpen in the future. But he also displayed how much improvement he needs to get there.

The 25-year-old rookie struck out Guerrero and Breyvic Valera with his advanced curveball in 3-2 counts to start and conclude the fourth inning. He also maxed out at 98.3 mph with his four-seam fastball and tossed in six changeups.

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Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Alex Lange (57) fist bumps catcher Eric Haase (13) during the fourth inning Aug. 28, 2021 against the Toronto Blue Jays at Comerica Park.Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Alex Lange (57) fist bumps catcher Eric Haase (13) during the fourth inning Aug. 28, 2021 against the Toronto Blue Jays at Comerica Park.

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Alex Lange (57) fist bumps catcher Eric Haase (13) during the fourth inning Aug. 28, 2021 against the Toronto Blue Jays at Comerica Park.

But Lange needed 24 pitches (13 strikes) to complete the fourth, a product of inconsistent command. He threw eight pitches to record the first two outs but allowed a single and a five-pitch walk to put himself in a jam.

Lange escaped by striking out Valera.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers’ comeback spoiled in 3-2 loss to Toronto Blue Jays

Source: Yahoo Sports

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