DETROIT – The Tigers’ nine-game losing streak included a four-game deficit in their opponents’ final game. They haven’t won when trailing by three in the ninth inning since Rajay Davis’ grand slam against the A’s on June 30, 2014. They haven’t won a game of any kind since the end of May, when they were a game in the AL Central.
All the Tigers had to do Monday night is take down the Braves who won seven out of eight and came to town sharing the best record in the National League. Having not picked up a Charlie Morton award since 2017, Detroit has had to contend with a full-blown veteran, and arguably the club’s best reliever last year, Joe Jimenez. And with your family’s rotation due to injuries, the Tigers also had to piece together a starting spot.
“I think it goes back to how we felt like 10 games ago: We never really got out of it,” Spencer Turkelson said almost matter-of-factly after Monday’s 6-5 10th win.
Perhaps the Tigers deserved some good fortune after the past two weeks, from Riley Greene’s leg injury to Alex Lang’s back-to-back losses on a ninth-inning run for the Diamonds on Sunday. Or maybe Detroit should have kept faith in their approach through one of their toughest offensive stretches.
As the Tigers celebrated on the field Monday, after ralliing from a four-run home run with four outs to go with the help of Torkelson’s tape measure home run and single out to deep center, it was clear how much the losing streak took. taken, and what a relief it was to finish it.
“It’s huge,” said Turkelson, whose 440-foot drive off the brick wall in left-center field provided the jolt Detroit needed in the ninth. “It wasn’t fun. We were kind of going through it a little bit, but I think every team does. It’s a 162 game. She can’t be the full 162, so she’s fighting to get out of it and trying to get through the heights as long as she can.”
It was obvious how much that meant to manager AJ Hinch in the way he ran Sunday, going all out to try to finish Arizona off, knowing how much of a challenge Atlanta would bring. Just when things were looking bleak, and a 10-game losing streak was seen for the first time since 2019, Detroit had its best rebound in nine years.
“I think my heart could have used it to be a little easier than that,” Hinch said. “But that was a really fun win, a team win. And that club needed it.”
Torkelson, whose promising May fumbled amid a 5-for-33 start in June, missed RBI opportunities early in the game. He flew out against Morton with two out and one out in the third, grounded out against Morton with a runner on second to end the fifth inning and then hit with a runner in the seventh against AJ Minter. He rallied after a leadoff single in the ninth against Raisel Iglesias looking for damage, only to refocus.
“Honestly, that first-pitch change-up he threw at me kind of surprised me,” Turkelson said. “It was a really good pitch. And so I kind of lowered the approach and said, ‘Don’t try to do too much. Take a base hit here. And I sure’ve got good ground to hit on. That’s what happens when you have an easy approach, I guess'” .
Kerry Carpenter’s single ran the tie-in. Nick Mattoon broke up what could have been a double play at the end of the game, extending the rally for a pair of singles from Matt Fairling and Zach Short to tie it up.
Andy Ibanez, who opened a seventh-inning homer on Detroit’s field goal, hit after Shorts, but then knocked Shaun Murphy at the plate in the top of the tenth. All Turkelson needed in the bottom half was a fly ball to lead Ibañez, the runner at second base, home without a single. Torkelson had to get rid of his former teammate Jimenez.
“He’s a great pitcher. He was traded for a reason,” said Turkelson. “He’s really good at what he does. I was really trying not to do too much. Knowledgable and knowledgeable about his stuff, he loved his fastball so I was in for it. “
When Torkelson lifted the ball into center field, he lifted the weight of the losing streak with it.
“The character of this team is good,” said Hinch. “I know the last 10 or 12 days haven’t been great, but we’re going to play until the end. That was a feature of this team. I came out huge today.”
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