The last time the Detroit Tigers won at Yankee Stadium in New York, first baseman Spencer Torkelson was a 19-year-old bashing home runs at Arizona State en route to becoming the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft.
On Thursday night, Torkelson, now 24, launched two homers — his 26th and 27th of the season — and Detroit beat New York, 10-3, for the franchise’s first road win in nine tries vs. the Yankees, with their last win in the Bronx coming April 3, 2019.
Center fielder Matt Vierling backed Torkelson’s effort with a 4-for-5 performance featuring two doubles, two RBIs and three runs scored from the leadoff spot (for the first time since Aug. 25), and left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez worked six innings, giving up three runs for his 11th win on the season — the most by a Tiger since Michael Fulmer (11) and Justin Verlander (16) did it in 2016.
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The win was just the seventh for the Tigers (64-76) against an American League East team in 32 games this season. They’re 57-51 against all other divisions, including 28-15 against the AL Central. The Tigers return to Central play beginning Friday with a three-game visit from the fourth-place Chicago White Sox, beginning at 6:40 p.m. at Comerica Park.
Tork bomb times two
Torkelson, who entered Thursday slugging .492 off left-handers and .508 on the road, demonstrated both numbers with one out in the first inning, launching southpaw Carlos Rodón’s sixth-pitch fastball 354 feet the opposite way over the right-field wall. The 99.4 mph blast scored Vierling, who hustled to second on a line drive to center on the fourth pitch of the game, for a quick 2-0 lead.
The second-year slugger went deep again in the fourth inning, greeting right-hander Randy Vásquez with a 109.4 mph shot down the left-field line just two pitches into his stint relieving Rodón. The shot again scored Vierling, whose earlier RBI single made it 6-1 and chased the veteran Rodón after 73 pitches, charged with seven runs allowed on eight hits and no walks in just 3⅔ innings.
The homers were Torkelson’s 18th and 19th on the road and brought him to 15 since the All-Star Break. He needs three more in the Tigers’ final 22 games to become the franchise’s first hitter with 30 overall in his age-23 season since Matt Nokes hit 32 in 1987.
In the second inning, Gleyber Torres got a run back for the Yankees, sending Rodriguez’s first pitch, a 91 mph four-seam fastball, into the right-field stands. The shot landed 363 feet from home for his 25th homer of the season and fourth against the Tigers (in seven games).
The Yanks threatened to tie it as the next two batters reached on walks — Aaron Judge on a pitch-clock violation and Anthony Volpe on a high-and-away four-seamer — but a pair of grounders to short got Rodriguez out of the mini-jam. On the first, Javier Báez ranged to his right, then threw across his body to get Volpe at second, though second baseman Andy Ibáñez was unable to turn the low throw into a double play on batter Kyle Higashioka. No matter: Rookie Everson Pereira, a .143 hitter, sent another grounder to Báez, who gloved it while sprinting toward second and in one motion flipped it to Ibáñez, who fired to first to end the inning.
The Tigers extended their lead in the third as rookie Andre Lipcius singled to start the inning and Vierling followed with a second-pitch line-drive double off Rodon’s four-seamer that traveled nearly to the warning track in the left-center gap to bring him home. After Torkelson nearly cleared the fence in left-center — his 105.6 mph flyout went 401 feet to the track with a 105.6 mph exit velocity — to advance Vierling to third, Vierling scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Ibáñez, making it 4-1. Jake Rogers continued the Tigers’ attack with a two-out single, but Miguel Cabrera grounded out to short to end the inning.
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Staked to a seven-run lead, Rodriguez faltered in the fourth, giving up a walk and a single sandwiched around a groundout by Giancarlo Stanton to put runners on the corners. Rodriguez appeared set to wriggle out of the inning again after getting Higashioka to pop up to short, but Pereira, who hit into a double play in the second, launched the first pitch of the at-bat, a 92 mph four-seam fastball, on a line into left to score both runners and make it 8-3. But that was it for the Yankees, as Oswald Peraza lined out to left.
The Yankees opened the fifth with a runner on first as DJ LeMahieu (Birmingham Brother Rice) reached on a slow roller to third. But Rodriguez got Judge to fly out, then picked up his second double play of the night on rookie Jasson Dominguez’s double play to second base. Rodriguez pitched a perfect sixth inning to finish with four hits, four walks and three strikeouts in 89 pitches (53 strikes). The quality start (at least six innings, three or fewer earned runs) was his 12th in 22 starts this season.
10 for 10
Ibáñez capped the Tigers’ scoring with a two-run homer in the eighth inning. The second baseman lifted the first pitch of his at-bat, a 98 mph sinker from right-hander Albert Abreu, 370 feet to right-center, scoring Vierling (who had reached on a one-out single). The homer, which just reached the first row of seats in Yankee Stadium’s short porch, was Ibáñez’s 10th this season, two more than he had in 2021-22 combined with the Texas Rangers. Ibáñez is the fifth Tiger with double-digit homers in 2023, joining Torkelson, Rogers (16), Kerry Carpenter (20) and Riley Greene (11). The five double-digit seasons is the most for the Tigers since the 2021 squad had six.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers blast 3 HRs in 10-3 win over New York Yankees
Source: Yahoo Sports