Detroit Tigers left-hander Tarik Skubal recorded his first victory of the season in his latest start.
Skubal will look to post back-to-back wins for the first time in his career when he faces the visiting Cleveland Indians in the second game of a four-game series on Tuesday.
Last Wednesday, he held the Seattle Mariners to two runs on four hits and struck out a career-high nine in five innings.
Skubal (1-6, 5.45 ERA) allowed a two-run homer in the first inning, then settled in.
“I loved how he didn’t let anything get to him,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “He was a little frustrated with himself after the walk and homer in the first, but he never carried it to the next at-bat. He finished his outing very, very strong.”
What made the outing even more special was that Skubal had 50 friends and ex-college teammates in the stands. He attended Seattle University.
“This is a start that I’ll remember because I spent a lot of time here and went through a lot here,” he said afterward. “This place will always have kind of a special place in my heart.”
Skubal is 0-1 with a 6.94 ERA in three career outings against the Indians.
The Tigers have yet to solve the Indians starter who will oppose Skubal.
Aaron Civale (6-1, 3.30 ERA) recorded his first two wins this season over the Tigers. He held them to three runs on two hits in seven innings on April 4, then gave up just one run on three hits in 7 2/3 dominant innings six days later.
He is 5-0 with a 2.40 ERA in six career outings against Detroit.
In his latest start, he bounced back from his first loss of the season by limiting the Los Angeles Angels to two runs on four hits in seven innings on Wednesday.
Civale will have to contend Tuesday with Eddie Rosario, one of the batters Cleveland will be leaning on more heavily with power hitter Franmil Reyes out six to seven weeks due to a strained oblique.
Rosario had a key two-run single in Cleveland’s 6-5, series-opener victory on Monday night. Rosario had two hits to lift his average to .219.
“Eddie is a career .277 hitter,” manager Terry Francona said. “He’s significantly below that right now.”
Rosario has driven in 24 runs, but his power numbers are down. He has three homers in 43 games after blasting 13 in 57 games for Minnesota last season and a career-high 32 in 137 games in 2019.
“As long as he stays healthy, he’ll get as hot as he got cold,” Francona said. “I firmly believe that.”
Owen Miller, who was elevated from Triple-A Columbus to replace Reyes on the roster, got his first major league hit and scored two runs Monday.
“He’s a little bit of a throwback,” Francona said. “He uses the whole field. He stays inside the ball. He just has a knack for knowing how to hit.”
The first game of the series delivered plenty of drama. Detroit left the bases loaded in the ninth when Eric Haase’s line drive to right was snared on a diving catch by Jordan Luplow.
“I thought it was down,” Hinch said after his club lost its third straight.
–Field Level Media