Cleveland — Detroit Tigers left-hander Joey Wentz, who is still considered a rookie despite pitching last season, hit a 96 mph fastball in the fifth inning to win an 11-pitch battle for his third straight strikeout. With painted inside corner.
The 25-year-old returned for the sixth and walked back-to-back batters, but retired a pair of power hitters to complete his seventh start. Wentz allowed two runs over 5⅔ innings, and the Tigers won 6–2 against the Cleveland Guardians in the opener of the three-game series on Monday at progressive Field.
Eight starting position players had 13 hits for the Tigers (16–18), winners of 14 of their last 23 games. Javier Báez ended his career-best streak of 29 plate appearances without a strikeout by striking out in the sixth inning.
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In the sixth inning, Wentz – who had retired 13 of the last 14 batters – walked Steven Cowan and Amed Rosario. Those errors put two runners on base for Jose Ramirez, one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball, with no outs in a 5-2 game.
One swing could have tied the game.
But Wentz beat out Ramirez.
He then defeated Josh Bell.
Right-handed reliever Will West replaced Wentz, and the Guardians countered with left-handed pinch-hitter Josh Naylor. West homered to trap the runners and put the Tigers ahead by three runs.
West put runners on the corner in the seventh inning and gave a back seat to right reliever Jason Foley. Miles Straw flew out to right field, and Steven Cowan lined up at shortstop.
The matchup between Foley and Kwan lasted 10 pitches.
Left-hander Chasen Shreve, who threw 26 pitches, held the Guardians scoring through two outs in the eighth and ninth. The Tigers, ahead by four runs, turned to righty Alex Lang – the actual closer – for the last out with a runner on second base in a non-save situation.
Lang walked Strawn on four pitches.
Quan flew out to end the game.
death by 13 cuts
The Tigers chased right-hander Tanner Beebee in his fourth start, scoring three runs in the third inning and one run in the fourth inning.
BB was lifted after Riley Green drilled his two-strike curveball with a one-out double to right-center field for a double to right-center field. The inning started with a walk by Andy Ibanez and a single by Eric Haase.
Green's third double in four games put the Tigers up 4–1.
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Four singles, a double and a walk provided a three-run third inning that began with three straight singles from Ibáñez, Haase and Zack McKinstry. McKinstry, Báez (single) and Nick Maton (double) scored for a 3–1 lead.
Spencer Torkelson drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases with one out, but BB retired Akil Baddoo (popout) and Miguel Cabrera (groundout).
Beebee gave up four runs on seven hits and four walks with two strikeouts in 3⅔ innings. In the sixth, Ibáñez cut the Tigers' lead to 5–2 when he turned in a first-pitch fastball from right reliever Eli Morgan for a solo home run.
It was Ibáñez's first homer with the Tigers.
Eric Haase (three hits) and Andy Ibanez (two hits) extended their hitting streaks to seven games and six games, respectively.
An RBI single by Greene cut the lead to 6–2 in the eighth inning.
wentz not left out
Wentz allowed two runs on three hits and three walks with five strikeouts in 5⅔ innings, throwing 56 of 92 pitches for strikes. He worked the count forward to put the Guardians in uncomfortable positions.
In the fifth inning, he struck out three consecutive batters.
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Wentz struck out Mike Zunino (swinging, 94.3 mph fastball), Gabriel Arias (swinging, 86.3 mph fastball) and Stroh (strike, 96 mph fastball). The fastball to Straw concluded an 11-pitch at-bat and fifth inning.
The Guardians scored their two runs in the first and fourth innings. Ramirez scored both runs, the first in a negative way and the second in a positive way. He grounded into a double play as a run in the first inning, then blasted Wentz's 2–0 fastball into left-center field for a solo home run in the fourth inning.
The homer cut the Tigers' lead to 4–2.
Wentz threw 45 fastballs (49%), 26 cutters (28%), 13 changeups (14%) and eight curveballs (9%). He threw seven swings and misses with three fastballs, three cutters, and one curveball.
Contact Evan Petzold at [email protected] or follow him on twitter @EvanPetzold,
This article was originally published on the Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers Top Cleveland Guardians, 6-2, Thanks To Joe Wentz