Tigers' Beau Brieske dazzles for first win; Victor Reyes returns with a bang

Richard Silva
The Detroit News

Detroit — Tigers rookie starter Beau Brieske held a 4.93 ERA and 0-5 record through the first eight starts of his major-league career, not exactly the warmest welcome into Major League Baseball.

But the young right-hander might just have turned a corner Saturday afternoon, tossing 5⅔ scoreless innings as the Tigers beat the Blue Jays, 3-1, before a crowd of 30,738 — the third-largest at Comerica Park this season behind Opening Day (43,480) and Miguel Cabrera's 3,000th-hit game (37,566).

“(Brieske) pitched extremely well today against a really, really hard lineup,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said. “We played some good defense behind him, as well.

"Beau did a tremendous job today and I’m happy he got that first win."

Tigers starting pitcher Beau Brieske throws during the first inning.

The crowd was bulked up by a large contingent of Blue Jays fans, who were loud early but quieter as the day went along, with Brieske piling up zeroes. He worked around seven hits but didn't walk anybody, and left to a nice ovation in the sixth inning.

The Blue Jays did get ahold of a few of Brieske’s pitches, hitting a couple of shots to the warning track that had Tigers fans holding their breath, but none were able to quite make it to the outfield seats.

BOX SCORE: Tigers 3, Blue Jays 1

He worked around a jam in the third, which started on an error by shortstop Javy Báez. After an out, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. singled to left but left fielder Willie Castro threw out Teoscar Hernandez trying to go first to third.

Brieske showed the pitch selection that had him standing out in the minors, promoted to Detroit after just two starts at Triple A.

“(My game plan was) really just to match the aggressiveness,” Brieske said. “They were very aggressive early in the count and they didn’t really miss on any mistakes last night (in Friday's 10-1 Toronto win), so my plan was just going in there and be on the attack and put the pressure on them.

“You can’t really be hesitant against a lineup (like Toronto’s). I just wanted to come out and attack, mix pitches, change speeds, get them off balance a little bit.

"Try to get weak contact, try to get as many quality pitches as you can.”

Andrew Chafin, Jason Foley, Michael Fulmer and Gregory Soto (1-5) combined to finish it, falling just shy of a seventh shutout on the season — which would've matched the Tigers' total from all of 2021.

Soto allowed two singles — including one to a top MLB prospect, Gabriel Moreno, making his major-league debut, much to the delight of the thousands of Blue Jays fans in the crowd — and a walk, but got Bo Bichette to fly out sharply to deep right field with the potential tying run on first base.

More: Tigers add some organizational pitching depth with a trade, free-agent signing

"We've won when we've pitched these guys, for the most part," Hinch said of his relievers. "This is a really good bullpen, there's a lot of guys throwing the ball well. ... Go down the list and each of them have had a stretch of dominance, they've also had to recover from a few things.

"But it's nice to have a strong bullpen and know that if we get the lead, we've got a path to a win."

The Tigers jumped on the scoreboard early, with an RBI single from Harold Castro against Blue Jays starter Kevin Gausman (5-5), scoring recently activated Victor Reyes (left quad), who had three hits. He had an RBI single in the seventh inning. Eric Haase had an RBI double in the fourth inning, one of his two extra-base hits on the day — his first two-extra-base-hit game since July 2021.

Javier Báez also reached base four times, including with three walks — half of his season total entering the game. He had three walks in his previous 34 games.

"I was pretty mad about that," Gausman said of the two walks he allowed to Báez, who had one walk in his previous 28 games.

The Tigers and Blue Jays wrap up the three-game series at 1:40 p.m. Sunday.

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Twitter: @Rich_Silva18