Poor pitching dooms Detroit Tigers in 9-6 loss in Game 2 of doubleheader at Mariners

SEATTLE — The end of the 2022 season is less than 24 hours away.

Ahead of Wednesday's finale, the Detroit Tigers lost both games of Tuesday's doubleheader to the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park. They were dropped 7-6 in the 10th inning in Game 1, as closer Gregory Soto was outdueled on the mound by a backup catcher in extras, then 9-6 in nine innings in Game 2.

"Getting through these games, I mean, we saw a position player in a tie game," manager A.J. Hinch said. "We saw really unscripted games, or I should say scripted games, where we weren't even really managing them competitively, but just how many arms can get through the game on both sides."

Tigers manager A.J. Hinch takes pitcher Elvin Rodriguez out of the game in the fifth inning of the second game of the doubleheader on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Seattle.
Tigers manager A.J. Hinch takes pitcher Elvin Rodriguez out of the game in the fifth inning of the second game of the doubleheader on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Seattle.

Rookie Spencer Torkelson, who homered in Game 1, added another home run in Game 2 for his eighth long ball of the season. The 23-year-old became the first Tiger to homer in both games of a doubleheader since Jeimer Candelario in September 2020.

"I saw the ball well today," Torkelson said. "Obviously we didn't get the wins we wanted, but I felt good at the plate. It's definitely something to build off of and take into the last game tomorrow."

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The Tigers (66-95) scored six runs on eight hits and four walks in Game 2, but they were doomed by their pitching staff. Right-handed reliever Will Vest, making his second start in the past week, threw 28 pitches and failed to escape the first inning.

Vest drilled a batter with the bases loaded.

"It's an unfamiliar role for him, and he got himself in trouble," Hinch said. "He got going a little bit too fast and lost every bit of his command."

Tigers pitcher Will Vest throws to a Mariners batter during the first inning of the second game of the doubleheader on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Seattle.
Tigers pitcher Will Vest throws to a Mariners batter during the first inning of the second game of the doubleheader on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Seattle.

Right-hander Elvin Rodriguez, a traditional starter, took over and avoided further damage in the first inning, but he allowed six runs on seven hits and two walks with five strikeouts over 3⅔ innings, throwing 94 pitches. Rodriguez gave up mammoth home runs to Abraham Toro in the fourth and Cal Raleigh in the fifth.

Rodriguez was chased from his seventh big-league outing with one out in the fifth. He threw 49 four-seam fastballs (52%), 19 sliders (20%), 14 changeups (15%) and 12 curveballs (13%), generating just nine swings and misses and 11 called strikes.

"Elvin was going to pitch the second inning," Hinch said. "The second inning came a little faster in the first. I thought he did a nice job of landing his breaking ball to get out of the bases loaded jam, and then he went on to his outing."

In the sixth, righty reliever Garrett Hill plunked Dylan Moore with the bases loaded. He gave up two runs over 1⅔ innings. Left-hander Daniel Norris pitched perfect seventh and eighth innings, striking out four batters.

"Landing his secondary pitches are huge for him," Hinch said. "He was one of the first pitchers today that came in the game that could land his breaking ball. ... When Daniel does that, it just sets up for his fastball. HIs fastball plays up."

Clemens takes flight

Trailing 1-0 after the first inning, the Tigers tied the game in the third inning on Candelario's sacrifice fly. That didn't last long, as the Mariners regained the lead in the bottom of the third on Dylan Moore's RBI single.

Mariners left-hander Justus Sheffield entered the fifth inning having allowed one run, but he gave up a four-spot. The Tigers rattled off three straight one-out singles: Torkelson, Candelario and Jonathan Schoop.

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Rookie Kody Clemens, a left-handed hitter, drove all of them in with the first grand slam of his MLB career. The big fly to right-center field, which traveled a game-high 411 feet, put the Tigers in front, 5-4.

"He threw me a couple sinkers early," Clemens said, "and then he threw me a slider up that I fouled off and saw well. He threw another one that was more middle, and I just put a good swing on it."

Clemens has five home runs in 54 games this season. Before the fifth inning ended, rookie Brendon Davis collected his first MLB hit in the second game of his career. Sheffield gave up five runs on seven hits and four walks with four strikeouts across five innings.

The Tigers fell behind again, a product of Rodriguez's disastrous fifth, but Torkelson chipped away at the deficit in the sixth. He turned on an inside slider — the seventh pitch of the at-bat and third pitch in the same location — and sent the ball 409 feet to left field for a solo home run.

"This game rewards you for hard contact," Torkelson said. "Sometimes, you're going to hit it right at somebody. But as long as you keep hitting it hard, it's going to find a hole eventually. That's what we're kind of seeing."

Just like that, the Tigers trailed, 7-6.

Torkelson finished 3-for-5 in Game 2.

"It's nice to see some hard work pay off," Hinch said. "He's been grinding a little bit. I know he's got some small goals he wanted to accomplish this month. He's starting to zero in on those and getting rewarded for some good swings."

Tigers center fielder Akil Baddoo fails to catch an RBI-single against the Mariners during the third inning of the second game of the doubleheader on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Seattle.
Tigers center fielder Akil Baddoo fails to catch an RBI-single against the Mariners during the third inning of the second game of the doubleheader on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Seattle.

The Mariners separated the gap in the sixth against Hill, scoring one run on a hit-by-pitch and another on Adam Frazier's sacrifice fly.

Those runs pushed the margin to 9-6.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: MLB: Detroit Tigers lose Game 2 of DH in Seattle, 9-6, get swept