Detroit Free Press
Published 10:51 PM EDT Jul 20, 2019
As it does, the rain found the Detroit Tigers.
An hour into Saturday evening’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays, as inclement weather moved across Comerica Park from the north, the skies opened, delaying a game for the third time this week.
When play resumed less than an hour later, the Tigers came out swinging, extending their two-run lead to four on a two-run home run by John Hicks.
But then, as it often does, the Tigers bullpen gave it right back, resulting in a 7-5 loss, their sixth in a row. The Tigers are 3-28 in their past 31 games at home and have the worst record in baseball at 29-65.
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Toronto rookie phenom Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. hit his first career grand slam into the shrubs beyond left-center field to tie the game in the top of the fifth inning, then Brandon Drury hit a two-run home run in the sixth for the lead.
Both homers came against rookie left-hander Gregory Soto, recalled from Triple-A Toledo earlier in the day.
Lefty Daniel Norris’ start was cut short due to the rain delay. Norris pitched four innings, allowing one run on five hits. He struck out three batters and walked one.
Here are three observations from the game:
With a four-run lead, the wheels came off when Soto took the mound in the fourth. After a strikeout ot open the inning, he put the next three men on – single, double, walk – before Guerrero, Jr.’s home run, a mighty impressive shot hit to where only the most feared power hitters in baseball hit them. Guerrero, Jr., 20, is 5-for-9 in the series. It was his ninth home run of the year. The Tigers put one runner on base after the fourth inning.
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In his first start against his former team, Norris was solid. At 58 pitches through four innings, the lefty was poised to pitch deep into the game until the rain came. Though there is no expectation Norris will be traded, teams who are casting a wide net looking for relievers could be evaluating him as a reliever. Norris allowed an early run after Freddy Galvis doubled in the top of the first and Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. drove him in on a ground out.
Disappearing act, again
The Tigers took an early lead when Nicholas Castellanos and Brandon Dixon hit back-to-back doubles in the second inning, followed by Niko Goodrum’s ninth home run of the year, an opposite-field shot that just disappeared over the left field fence. The home run went an estimated 343 feet. Those good at-bats early didn’t carry over following the rain delay, however: The Tigers totaled four hits the rest of the way, and seven in the game.
Contact Anthony Fenech at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @anthonyfenech. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.