Kansas City, Missouri. – Tigers assistant coach Juan Neves threw his hat. It was certain.
“He shot,” said Michael Vollmer, who finished off the Tigers’ 2-1 win over the Kansas City Royals on Friday night. He said, ‘Turk Homer here,’ and threw his hat to confirm it. Everyone knows that, right? You throw your hat down to confirm your shot. You get one in the match. If he doesn’t hit it, you lose it.
“Juan understood it correctly.”
Have you ever had.
Rookie Spencer Turkelson, with Miguel Cabrera in second, and the Tigers fell 1-0 in the seventh inning, pounded a 0-1 sinker, packing them 432 feet above the Tigers’ barn and into a small section of benches in left field. The ball left his racket at an exit speed of 111.5 mph.
He turned to the tiger’s lair right after the call and shouted, “Come, baby!”
“I was really excited,” Turkelson said. “It was a really good feeling. And we needed it. That’s why I felt so good.”
Chest Points: Tiger 2, Royals 1
Royals novice Brad Keller had the Tigers’ offense in the fist of a vice, allowing only one single during the first six innings. At that point, Keeler was not allowed to run in 12 consecutive runs on his start.
Cabrera hit one double to the right center. This was the 2995th and 599th career hit of his career. He is looking to become the seventh player ever to produce 3,000 hits and 500 hits on home soil.
And for kicks only, when he reaches 600 doubles, he will join Albert Pujols and Hank Aaron as the only players to have collected at least 3000 hits, 500 house throws and 600 doubles.
“This was huge,” said Tigers star Tarik Scobal, who only allowed in unearned runs and netted seven times in 5.2 runs of action. “With Meiji in second, Keeler has to work off the field. Maybe that will leave the diver above the board for Turk. Who knows?”
By the third round, Torkelson had measured Keller well. He was the first to hit him again in fifth and hit the ball hard on the ground 5-3 outside his first time.
“He got me out of my first hit with that weight and it was kind of in the back of my head,” Turkelson said. “And I didn’t swing very well at the first slide on the last attack hit. He got in on me. I kind of thought he’d come back in.”
Keeler did and Turkelson crushed her.
“I just had a better plan than I had in that third round,” Turkelson said.
This was his second home of the week and his manager loved the sentiment.
“It was a huge emotional blow,” said AJ Hinch. “We’re in the final third of the game and the Royals have a stopping point. It’s hard to get. We play so many close matches against these guys, such a big swing puts a jolt in the dugout.”
I love that the players show emotions, especially Tork, who has endured a lot of tension in the past 10 days or so trying to get himself up. It was a great way to confirm his arrival.”
more: Tigers put Casey Miz on their 10-day casualty list with a right elbow sprain
Skubal is back at some point after an uncharacteristically negative start five days ago. He brought the fire straight out of the jump, the four-stroke hit him 97 mph in the first half, the slider, a pitch he had barely used five days earlier, nibbled at 89-90 mph, snuffed out the first 11 Royals hitters, crossed six who are they.
“I felt more in sync,” he said. “It felt like my last outing, my legs were no match for my upper body. I was in excruciating pain the next day which is not normal for me. Only my upper body was sore more than usual.
“It just means something wasn’t connected. My upper body was overcompensating for me.”
Salvador Perez tore one ground ball directly in front of Harold Castro with one exit in the fourth game to break Scobal’s streak and then Castro hit a ground ball from Andrew Benintende. Carlos Santana made the Tigers pay for it, and they clipped the RBI song to the right.
Skubal was on 90 pitches in sixth, and Hinch was without the closest Gregory Soto and set-up man Alex Lange (both had made three of the past four days).
“The men had to go up,” he said.
Initially it was right-handed Jacob Barnes, who knocked out Scobal in sixth, successfully hitting Santana with a second-place runner. Hench chose Barnes and his bad interrupter to force Santana to hit his left hand, the least productive side of the board.
“Yeah, I wanted to flip Santana over there, and make him left-handed,” Hinch said. “With the cutter and three guys on the right side of the field, we felt the ball was there if he executed and he did.”
After Homer Turkelson, Barnes made the seventh game clean, then passed the torch to the right hand Joe Jimenez. Jimenez, after a single, put the Royals’ top three hitters on the order, hitting Bobby Waite Jr. (swinging the fastball) and Perez (slithering, looking).
“His stuff is better, his pace is better, and his body is moving,” Hinch said. “Times he had playing with (Nicky) Lopez at the start, there was no free pass for second base. It was three outings in four days for Joe as well. We depend on him a little bit, but I know Joe wants it. He worked his tail off.”
Vollmer, who was also leading on back-to-back days, closed the order sending Benintende out to Austin Meadows on the left, and Santana to line up with Jonathan Scoop who jumped playing on a shallow field and hit Hunter Dozier with three straight slides.
“I felt really good today,” Vollmer said. “I only threw nine pitches (Thursday). It’s amazing how well you bounce compared to those high-pressure 20 pitches, I told Fet (shooting coach Chris Vetter). It all felt really good.
“But I put the ninth game on the coaching staff. They honestly played these guys in the right positions. It was a good win.”