Detroit Tigers, Andrew Chafin strike out the side in 8th, still lose 8-4 to Cleveland

Detroit Tigers, Andrew Chafin strike out the side in 8th, still lose 8-4 to Cleveland

CLEVE-LAND — Detroit Tigers left-handed reliever Andrew Chafin screamed at catcher Eric Haase with two outs in the eighth inning.

“The ball,” Chafin yelled. “Go get it.”

Haase flipped off his mask and scanned the dirt around home plate. He didn’t know where the ball went until Chafin pointed to the backstop — the two-strike slider had bounced off home plate, under the swing of Cleveland hitter Luke Maile, and skittered off to Haase’s right — but it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. The ball had skipped too far away, and Maile was already well on his way to first base on the third strikeout of the eighth inning.

the Cleveland Guardians struck out three times in a row to begin the eighth, but Chafin’s wild pitch allowed them to extend the inning, score six runs and secure an 8-4 win over the Tigers in Wednesday’s series finale at Progressive Field.

The Tigers (45-75) and Guardians split the four-game series.

Cleveland Guardians second baseman Andres Gimenez (0) scores on a passed ball beside Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Jose Cisnero (67) in the sixth inning at Progressive Field.

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Chafin, protecting a 4-2 advantage, struck out three straight batters: Owen Miller (fourth-pitch slider), Andres Gimenez (eighth-pitch sinker) and Maile (fifth-pitch slider). After Maile reached, Myles Straw ripped a single to center field to bring the go-ahead run to the plate in Steven Kwan.

Kwan hit a fly ball that dropped fair just inside the right-field line and bounced over the side wall for an RBI ground-rule double, cutting Cleveland’s deficit to 4-3. Had the ball stayed in play, Straw would have scored to tie the game, but he couldn’t advance past third base.

The Tigers turned to right-handed reliever Alex Lange to face Amed Rosario with two runners in scoring position and, still, two outs. Rosario evened the score, 4-4, with an RBI single on a weak grounder to third baseman Willi Castro.

Castro charged and fired the ball to first baseman Kody Clemens, but the throw was too late. Jose Ramirez then followed with a two-run double for a 6-4 lead. Oscar Gonzalez added a double off the left-field wall over Akil Baddoo’s head, and Miller completed the rally with a single to center to score the Guardians’ sixth run — all with two outs.

An imperfect start

Guardians right-hander Cal Quantrill retired the first nine batters he faced.

The momentum flipped in the fourth, as a rare walk from slumping leadoff hitter Riley Greene, a 21-year-old rookie, set in motion a two-run inning.

After Greene drew a seven-pitch walk, Quantrill walked Victor Reyes on five pitches and gave up a single to Javier Báez on an inside third-pitch sinker. The three plate appearances loaded the bases with nobody out.

Rookie Kerry Carpenter produced a one-out sacrifice fly to tie the game, 1-1, and Eric Haase attacked Quantrill’s sinker with two outs for an RBI single and a 2-1 advantage. Jonathan Schoop grounded out to strand runners on the corners.

But the Tigers weren’t done with Quantrill. The Tigers, limited to five hits and four walks, tackled on additional runs in the fifth and sixth innings.

In the fifth, Akil Baddoo singled with one out and swiped second base. His third stolen base this season was critical, as Victor Reyes grabbed Quantrill’s cutter below the strike zone for a two-out RBI single to left field.

Entering the bottom of the fifth, the Tigers removed first baseman Harold Castro from the game with left thumb soreness. Willi Castro entered as the third baseman, batting fourth, while Kody Clemens shifted from third base to first base.

The Tigers increased their lead to 4-1 in the sixth, when Willi Castro received a sinker at the bottom of the strike zone, where he does the most damage. Castro launches the ball into the seats in right for a solo home run.

Quantrill allowed four runs on five hits and two walks with two strikeouts over six innings, throwing 60 of 99 pitches for strikes.

Norris’ trophy

In his second MLB start this season, left-hander Daniel Norris allowed one run on four hits and two walks (and three hit batters) across four innings.

He hit one batter in each of the first three innings — all three in the foot: Rosario in the first, Miller in the second and Ramirez in the third. The Guardians loaded the bases with one out in the second, but a gutsy play from Báez saved a run from scoring.

Báez fielded a grounder from Straw and, without any hesitation, threw the ball home to catcher Eric Haase. He received the ball with his foot on the plate before Josh Naylor could cross the plate for the second out.

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Daniel Norris delivers against the Cleveland Guardians during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, in Cleveland.

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Daniel Norris delivers against the Cleveland Guardians during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, in Cleveland.

Then, Steven Kwan grounded out for the third out.

Norris, though, couldn’t work around his hit batter in the third inning. After plunking Ramirez, Oscar Gonzalez cranked a double to the gap in right-center field. Ramirez scored easily to put the Guardians ahead 1-0.

For his 89 pitches (52 strikes), Norris tossed 25 sliders (28%), 25 four-seam fastballs (28%), 18 changeups (20%), 15 sinkers (17%) and six curveballs (7%). He recorded seven swings and misses and 17 called strikes.

Norris got swings and misses with three four-seamers, three changeups and one sinker.

The Tigers nearly imploded in the sixth inning.

Right-hander Jose Cisnero opened his relief outing by giving up a double to Gimenez, who advanced to third base on a groundout. Straw took a four-pitch walk to put runners on the corners, and a passed ball charged to Haase — though Cisnero’s command was extremely inconsistent throughout his 21-pitch outing — plated Gimenez from third base.

The Guardians cut their deficit to 4-2 with one out. Cisnero responded by retiring the next two batters with Straw standing on second base.

Contact Evan Petzold at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers’ nightmare 8th inning results in 8-4 loss to Cleveland