Rookies power Tigers past Angels to halt four-game losing skid
Three days after picking up his first hit in the major leagues, Ryan Kreidler ripped a four-seam fastball 408 feet to center field in the ninth for his first home run in Major League Baseball, and the go-ahead run in the Tigers 5-4 win against the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night.
“That’s all you want,” Kreidler told Bally Sports Detroit’s Trevor Thompson. “Hope to do that many more times.”
With temperatures as high as 97 degrees at Angel Stadium, Kreidler wasn’t the only one taking advantage of flighty conditions. Fellow rookies Spencer Torkelson and Kerry Carpenter hit homers of their own in a slugfest that saw Los Angeles hit three home runs and the Tigers four, their most in a game this season since a 12-4 win over the San Diego Padres on July 25.
“These are unfamiliar situations for them (Torkelson, Carpenter and Kreidler) but they’ve banded together and today was a good example of why we like these guys,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch told Bally Sports Detroit.
Catcher Eric Haase accounted for the fourth, a solo blast in the sixth, in his career-best 5-for-5 day at the plate with two singles and two doubles in tow to help Detroit snap a four-game losing streak.
After Tigers starter Drew Hutchison and Angels starter Patrick Sandoval worked their way in and out of jams throughout the first three innings, Torkelson opened the scoring in the top of the fourth, smashing his fifth home run of the season 433 feet dead center to give Detroit the 1-0 lead.
One that wouldn’t last long. With Taylor Ward reaching on a single to open the bottom of the fourth, Matt Thaiss hammered a two-out home run to put the Angels up by a run before Mike Trout ripped his third solo home run of the series to make it 3-1 in the fifth.
Looking to scrape together another comeback, Haase smacked a solo home run in the sixth to draw Detroit closer. Then, Willi Castro drove in Carpenter from second with a single to right field to knot the game at three runs apiece.
Ever quick to answer, Los Angeles pulled ahead 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh after Shohei Ohtani shook off his three strikeout day and uppercutted a fastball 401 feet to left-center off reliever Andrew Chafin before
The Tigers’ rebuttal came off the bat off Carpenter, sending Jose Quijada’s first pitch of the ninth over the corner of the left field wall to tie the game 4-4. Kreidler picked up where his fellow rookie left off with another
Faced with one of his toughest save situations all year, Tigers closer Gregory Soto struck out Angels superstars Trout and Ohtani before giving up a base hit to Luis Rengifo and walking Ward.
Soto recovered to strike out Matt Duffy and slam the door on the Angels for a 5-4 win to avoid the series sweep.
“It’s obviously been a very frustrating year, Haase told Bally Sports Detroit. “But these games still matter. We’re playing for each other, playing for our teammates and playing for the future.”
Sean Reider is a freelance writer.