In the fourth inning, José Ramírez was called out on strikes, penalized for being in the batter’s box but not being “engaged” with the pitcher with eight seconds left on the pitch clock. Ramírez clearly was not pleased as he returned to the dugout, perhaps questioning how he was supposed to engage Tigers starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull when he wasn’t even on the rubber at the time.
But revenge is a dish best served in the right field seats at Comerica Park.
In Ramírez’s very next at-bat in the sixth inning, Turnbull tried to get away with a 91 mph four-seam fastball in the middle of the strike zone. Ramírez deposited it into the seats in right field for a three-run homer, breaking up a scoreless tie and reminding the pitch clock who is boss.
The Cleveland Guardians needed all three of those precious runs, escaping Detroit with a narrow 3-2 win to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Tigers.
Until Ramírez broke the game again, Cleveland seemed to be sleepwalking at the plate. They only managed five hits all afternoon, only two of which came from the top of the order. A Guardians baserunner only reached second base twice in the entire game.
Starting pitcher Cal Quantrill made a gutsy effort to keep his team in the game. He pitched six scoreless innings in his best start of the season, only allowing four hits and one walk. Unfortunately, Quantrill took a line drive off his right foot to end the sixth inning. Though he managed to throw from his knees to get the out at first base, he limped to the dugout. Quantrill seemed unfazed by it in his postgame media availability, but that may be something to watch.
Once he left the game, the Tigers started chipping away at the Guardians’ 3-0 lead. First, Spencer Torkelson homered off Trevor Stephan in the seventh inning, before Zach McKinstry contributed his own solo shot off James Karinchak in the eighth. Clinging to yet another one-run lead, Emmanuel Clase allowed back-to-back singles to start the ninth inning. But he managed to escape, thanks in part to a sliding catch in right field by Will Brennan for the second out.