Former Tiger John Hicks exacts a little payback, sparking a Rangers romp

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Arlington, Texas – The Tigers didn’t play an especially clean baseball game here Tuesday and they were justifiably whipped by the Texas Rangers, 10-5 at Globe Life Field.

"We didn't play well enough to win and they took advantage of it," manager AJ Hinch said. "So credit to them."

The Rangers broke a 5-5 tie in the bottom of the seventh, two runs scoring on a fielding error in left field by Eric Haase on a ball hit by former Tiger John Hicks.

"Old Hicksy," Tigers catcher Jake Rogers said. "I told him to take it easy on me and he didn't."

Que the theme from Twilight Zone.

Haase hit a three-run, pinch-hit home run in the top of the seventh that erased a 5-2 deficit. It was the first pinch-hit home run by a Tiger since Sept. 28, 2019. Guess who hit it. Yep, Hicks, who was pinch-hitting for Rogers in that game. It was Hicks' last hit as a Tiger.

Earlier in the game Tuesday, Hicks hit a two-run home run off starter Jose Urena. It was his fourth home run in four games since joining the Rangers. No other player in Texas franchise history has ever done that.

Catcher Jake Rogers was transferred to the 60-day injured list to clear a roster spot for Garneau. The earliest he could return is Sept. 17.

"I don't know what to say," Rangers manager Chris Woodward said when asked about Hicks. "They guy has been a spark ever since we called him up. Four homers in four games, but that single with two strikes was the big hit of the day."

Rogers had his moments, too. The Dallas-area native playing in front of a throng of family and friends blasted a 426-foot home run off the batter’s eye in dead center leading off the sixth inning that cut the Rangers lead to 5-2.

"It was pretty cool for my family to see that," said Rogers, who also tripled in the seventh and threw out the seventh base runner (out of 11) trying to steal a base against him. "I don't know if any of my family had seen me hit a homer in person. So that was pretty cool."

But six-degrees of John Hicks aside, the Tigers defense in the bottom of the seventh betrayed relievers Daniel Norris and Joe Jimenez.

With one out, Adolis Garcia rolled a shift-busting single through the vacated right side of the infield. Joey Gallo hit a 96-mph one hopper that skipped under third baseman Jeimer Candelario’s glove. It was a tough play. Candelario was the only fielder on the left side of the infield and playing half-way in at a normal shortstop spot.

But, if he catches the short-hop, the Tigers turn an inning-ending double-play.

Detroit Tigers' Robbie Grossman, left, and third base coach George Lombard, right, celebrate a solo home run by Grossman in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas, Tuesday, July 6, 2021.

"There were a couple of missed plays today," Hinch said. "We made a few mistakes on the mound and a few mistakes they haven't scored an error yet that they probably should've. 

"They just capitalized on everything and swung the bat better at the end." 

Hicks drilled a 2-2 slider from Jimenez to left field and the ball got under Haase’s glove. Two runs scored. David Dahl, who had three hits, doubled in the third run of the inning.

The Rangers, for the second straight night, unloaded on Bryan Garcia, who was optioned to Triple-A Toledo after the game. Garcia gave up two long home runs in the ninth inning Monday (Jonah Heim and Gallo) and two more in the eighth Tuesday (Brock Holt and Garcia).  

It was another rough start for Urena, too. He was sharp for three innings, but for the fifth straight outing, didn't survive the fifth.

"He was good early," Hinch said. "His conviction over the plate was pretty good. And even in the fourth, we make a play behind him and stop that inning at two runs instead of four, maybe we think a little differently about his outing."

Texas Rangers' John Hicks celebrates his two-run home run as he approaches the plate in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Arlington, Texas, Tuesday, July 6, 2021.

Urena, with his sinker velocity hitting 95 mph again and his slider getting chases and ugly swings, breezed through the first three innings on just a hit and a walk.

He hit Garcia to start the inning. Rogers deleted that, throwing him out trying to steal second. But he walked Joey Gallo and hung a slider to Hicks. Hicks knocked it off the foul pole in left field.

Urena gave up a two-run double to Isiah Kiner-Falefa before getting out of the fourth. It was a ball that Candelario tried to backhand and he whiffed on it. 

Hinch tried to get one more inning out of him, but Urena was done after allowing a two-out, RBI double to Dahl.

In his last five starts now, Urena has been tagged with 30 runs in 17.2 innings.

The Tigers managed just one hit in five innings off Rangers starter Dane Dunning. It was a loud one, though.

Robbie Grossman came into the game carrying a 6-for-51 skid over his last 15 games, with just one home run in that span. So, as you can imagine, he about flew around the bases after he whacked a change-up 413 feet into the Texas bullpen in right-center.

It was his 11th of the year.