DETROIT (AP) — Jake Rogers drove in three runs and Akil Baddoo homered as the Detroit Tigers beat Aaron Civale and the Tampa Bay Rays 4-2 on Saturday.
Detroit entered the game with a 3-17 record against American League East opponents and had lost all four meetings with the Rays this season.
Tampa Bay went into the ninth down 4-2, but closer Alex Lange walked the first two batters. Yandy Díaz hit into a double play before Lange walked Wander Franco.
Tigers manager A.J. Hinch brought in Beau Brieske, who struck out Isaac Paredes for his first career save.
“That offense stays in the game for all nine innings and they are always threatening,” Hinch said. “It’s always tough to take a guy out at the end of the game, but we needed strikes. His command and everything are just a little off right now.”
Tarik Skubal (2-1) picked up the win, allowing an unearned run and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. The left-hander struck out six and walked one.
“I thought I did a good job of pitching to my strengths and (Rogers) called a great game,” said Skubal, who made his sixth start after missing 11 months with an elbow injury. “They’ve got nine righties, and a lot of them handle lefties really well, so you have to execute your pitches.”
Civale (5-3) lost for the first time in 11 career starts against the Tigers, giving up three runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. Civale, who was making his Rays debut, had gone 7-0 with a 2.06 ERA in 10 starts against Detroit for Cleveland. The Guardians won all 10 games.
“I thought he threw the ball really well. He pretty much eliminated hard contact. That’s what pitchers are trying to do,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “His pitch count got driven up a little bit with some long at-bats, but I’m really encouraged.”
Both teams scored a run in the second. Tampa Bay got a one-out RBI single from Manuel Margot and the Tigers answered with three singles that finished with Rogers driving in Miguel Cabrera.
The Tigers added two in the fourth when Rogers doubled in Andy Ibanez and Baddoo.
The Rays loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth, but reliever Jose Cisnero struck out Margot to end the inning.
Baddoo made it 4-1 with a solo homer in the sixth, and the Tigers appeared to escape another bases-loaded jam in the seventh. Detroit turned an apparent 6-4-3 double play to end the inning, but a replay review showed Paredes beat the throw to first, making it 4-2.
Jason Foley retired Randy Arozarena to keep the lead at two runs.
“Skubal was really good. He seems like he’s healthy and that might have been his best game,” Cash said. “We did have some good at-bats later, but that big hit just wasn’t coming.”
Cabrera was honored for his career achievements in a pregame ceremony during Fiesta Tigers weekend. Cabrera singled in his first at-bat for his 3,140th hit.
The teams finish their three-game series Sunday, with Detroit RHP Matt Manning (3-3, 4.53 ERA) facing RHP Tyler Glasnow (5-3, 3.15).
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB