Tigers return to win column with 8-3 romp over Brewers, renew playoff chatter
Detroit — Let’s face it, a playoff chase might have been — and might be — a lot to ask of the Tigers.
But they remain on the outskirts of a wild-card spot and keep the conversation going.
A victory like Tuesday’s maintains hope.
Starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull was in control and Victor Reyes and Jeimer Candelario again ignited the offense as the Tigers defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 8-3.
With the victory, the Tigers (19-21) moved to within one game of the New York Yankees (21-21) for the final wild-card spot.
“It’s definitely close, we know we’re in the hunt for sure,” Turnbull said. “We’re only a game or two out, so we’re all playing as hard as we can. It’s September and we’re all hungry. We want to play in October.
“We’ve been dreaming about that for a while.”
Turnbull went six innings and allowed three hits and no runs, while walking three and striking out three. In what has been a mainly inconsistent season, Turnbull was definitely on the positive side of the ledger.
In both the first and third innings, Turnbull got into jams with two runners on and one out where he escaped trouble with double plays.
“Our starting pitcher got us into the second half of the game, which was real nice, and our offense strung together, in that one big inning a bunch of hits,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “It was a nice night. We kept adding on (runs) which is always a big thing.”
From there, it was relative smooth sailing, with the Brewers getting their only runs off reliever Jose Cisnero in the ninth inning. Bryan Garcia ended the ninth inning threat, getting Ben Gamel to pop out with the bases loaded.
One significant loss for the Tigers, though, came in the fourth when second baseman Jonathan Schoop left with a bruised right wrist after he was hit by an Adrian Houser pitch.
The Tigers announced Schoop was undergoing further evaluation.
But Gardenhire said after the game Schoop was fine — and that Schoop confirmed he’d be available to play Wednesday.
The Tigers broke it open in the fifth inning with a huge five-run, five-hit uprising.
Reyes made it 2-0 with a run-scoring single, then Candelario and Jorge Bonifacio broadened the lead, each contributing two-run singles.
The scorching Candelario extended the lead to 8-0 with a two-run home run to right field in the seventh.
On both of Candelario's run-scoring hits, the Brewers appeared to be pitching around Miguel Cabrera and preferring to take their chances pitching to Candelario.
But Candelario made them pay both times.
“It’s always fun to win,” Candelario said. “We’re coming to the ballpark with a great attitude, and working hard, and it’s paying off, it’s fun. You want to have fun in the game, no matter what.”
Incidentally, Cabrera's run on the Candelario home run was Cabrera's 1,000th run scored in a Tigers uniform, becoming only the 10th player in Tigers' history to reach the milestone.
After Tuesday’s game, the Tigers sent outfielder Christin Stewart to the alternate training site in Toledo and will make a corresponding move before Wednesday’s game.
On social media, speculation centered on the possibility of bringing up a prospect such as Daz Cameron or Riley Greene.
“We’re making a corresponding move, I think, that’ll be a fun thing for Tigers fans,” Gardenhire said. “We’ll have to wait and see.”
Stewart was hitting .171 with three home runs and nine RBIs in 33 games. He was 2-for-17 in his last seven games.
“He’s just not getting hits and we all think this guy can hit,” Gardenhire said. “He’ll get plenty of at-bats in Toledo right now.”