'That one was a grind': Reyes delivers walk-off winner to beat Padres

Nolan Bianchi
The Detroit News

Detroit — The Detroit Tigers flipped the script.

Less than 24 hours after falling short in a comeback attempt against the San Diego Padres, Detroit rallied from a one-run deficit in the ninth on Wednesday at Comerica Park to steal a 4-3 victory over San Diego on a walk-off double from Victor Reyes.

In the ninth inning, Jeimer Candelario roped a leadoff double to left center — his eighth hit of the series. Akil Baddoo came in to pinch-run and advanced to third on Jonathan Schoop's soft ground ball that died on the grass for an infield hit, opening the door for Reyes' clutch hit to win the game.

Detroit Tigers' Victor Reyes, center, celebrates his two-run double and win, 4-3, against the San Diego Padres in the ninth inning in Detroit, Wednesday, July 27, 2022.

"The finish at the end, I think that, again, this is a little more characteristic of ... last year's team and what we expect our guys to play, the 27 outs," Tigers manager AJ Hinch said. "Victor really fought hard. He had a couple of good pitches to hit, and then when the ball was off the bat, we kinda all hold our breath, and then it hits the wall, and watching Schoop run is good."

Candelario went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI and Tarik Skubal went six innings, allowing three hits, two runs (none earned), with three walks and two strikeouts. The Tigers (40-59), though, nearly let untimely miscues in two straight games steal the life from a home series that started with a rousing 12-4 victory on Monday.

After closing the first half of his season batting .191/.259/.311, Candelario's homestand was a sight for sore eyes.

"He's put some really good swings on the ball," Hinch said. "He worked all through the break, trying to find the rhythm, find his timing, find his production, and somewhere between Cleveland and Florida and here, he found it."

After Candelario cashed in his second RBI single of the game to tie things up in the sixth, a throwing error from Eric Haase on a dropped third strike put the leadoff runner and eventual go-ahead run on in the seventh.

BOX SCORE: Tigers 4, Padres 3

Skubal bounced back from a rough fourth inning that included an error by Harold Castro on a dropped pop-up in foul territory with a runner on, allowing Manny Machado to battle back and reach base. A wild pitch advanced both runners into scoring position, making way for a sacrifice fly and two-out single to give the Padres a 2-1 lead.

"That one was a grind," Skubal said. "It's a good test to have you kind of see what you're made of. I'm glad I wasn't taken out of the game in that situation. I was able to go back out, eat some more innings. That's exactly where the focus went to after that inning."

All of the Padres' runs on Wednesday were unearned; the two scored on Skubal tied him for the team lead in unearned runs (seven) with Eduardo Rodriguez. Still, Skubal focused on his walk of Machado more than the dropped ball that preceded it.

"I'm more frustrated with the walk than I am the dropped ball. No one's trying to make errors, no one's trying to drop the ball," Skubal said. "At that point, it's nothing you can do or say to get him out except to execute pitches, and I didn't do that, so that's what I'm more frustrated with."

Skubal, whose name has circulated in trade rumors over the last few days, said that he had "some other motivation, too," when asked about the importance of going back out there and eating up innings.

When asked to elaborate, Skubal said, "I'll keep it to myself," before going on to add that he "would like to give a shout out to our fans this homestand. They were f------ phenomenal.

"It was a good environment. They were just there every day. Every game, they just continued to show up. ... I thought it was a fun environment to play in. It was fun. That's kind of where the shout-out comes from."

Opposite Skubal, Padres starter Yu Darvish was equally strong. He went seven innings and gave up six hits, two runs (both earned) and a walk, to go with 11 strikeouts, which he's achieved just twice for the Padres (55-45) this season.

Despite that, the Tigers took a lead in the first inning.

The Tigers' Jeimer Candelario hits an RBI single in the first inning Wednesday in Detroit.

Javier Báez attempted a steal on an 0-2 pitch to Harold Castro that was hit right at first baseman Luke Voit, who took the fielder's choice at first. After keeping the Tigers' inning alive, Báez then stole third with Miguel Cabrera at the plate and scored on an RBI single by Candelario for the early lead.

Coming on in relief for Skubal, Joe Jimenez struck out his first batter but a dropped third strike led to a throwing error from Haase that put the leadoff runner on. After a single from Trent Grisham, Jurickson Profar ripped an 0-2 slider into left that scored Kim and again give the Padres a lead; that marked the end of Jimenez's day.

Right-hander Michael Fulmer, who picked up the win for Detroit and has also had his name circulating in trade rumors, said that he took a moment to soak it all in after getting the final out in the top of the ninth.

"You never know, with everything going on," Fulmer said. "But if that was the last appearance at home, then I'm very appreciative, and if it's not, then I'll see everybody next week."


Twitter: @nolanbianchi