Tigers split doubleheader, Perez hits homers from both sides of the plate vs. Cards


Detroit — When Wenceel Perez was six years old back in the Dominican Republic, his coach encouraged him to become a switch-hitter. Right-handed is his dominant side. His coach wanted him to learn how to hit left-handed, too.

“He told me I was too short,” said Perez. “So I had to hit on both sides of the plate.”

Harsh critique for a six-year-old, but after Perez’s performance Tuesday in Game 2 of a doubleheader against the Cardinals, he might want to send that coach a thank-you text.

“It was good advice,” Perez said with a smile.

The switch-hitting rookie Perez hit home runs from each side of the plate and drove in three runs, helping the Tigers get the split, beating the Cardinals in Game 2, 11-6, at Comerica Park. They’d managed just one run in the opener, losing 2-1 and spoiling a 14-strikeout performance by Jack Flaherty.

“Sometimes we fail, but it’s always about how you come back,” Perez said. “Game 1 happened but Game 2 is a different game and you have to come and battle every pitch, every out and that’s what we did.”

Perez, who has hit three home runs in his last three games, is the first Tigers’ hitter to homer from both sides of the plate in the same game since Victor Martinez back on Aug. 30, 2018.

BOX SCORE: Tigers 11, Cardinals 6

“Oh my gosh,” Perez said. “I didn’t know that. That’s really good.”

The last rookie to hit homers from both sides of the plate in the same game? Raul Casanova, June 6, 1996, per Elias Sports Bureau.

“I’m very proud of him,” manager AJ Hinch said of Perez. “He’s not overdramatizing it. He’s not taking it too seriously. Not trying to do too much. And yet, he’s doing more and more every day.”

The Tigers were already ahead 2-0 when Perez, leading off the second inning batting right-handed against Cardinals’ lefty starter Steven Matz, launched an opposite-field homer over the wall in right center.  

Perez, who singled in the fourth inning, came to bat with two outs and a runner on in the fifth. The Cardinals had scored five times in the top of the inning to take a 5-4 lead. The Tigers tied the game off right-handed reliever Kyle Leahy.

The Cardinals brought in right-hander Ryan Fernandez to face Perez, who turned around to hit left-handed for the first time. He pounced on a 2-1 slider and drove it deep into the seats in right field. The Tigers didn’t give back the lead again.

“I can’t say enough about how our group came out in Game 2,” Hinch said. “You get 40 minutes in between games and we came out and, completely the same dugout, same vibe, same energy…As a manager, I’m very proud when your team responds to getting punched in the mouth like that in the first game.”

Riley Greene, who homered in the first game, launched his seventh home run of the season, a towering drive to right field that ignited a four-run outburst in the seventh that including an RBI double by Rogers and a bases-loaded walk by Parker Meadows.

Greene, hitting out of the cleanup spot against a left-handed starter, also singled and doubled in the game and raised his OPS to .912 on the year.

“We just swung the bats more in Game 2,” Greene said. “We were more aggressive and we had a bunch of really good at-bats.”

From there it was on the bullpen to lock it down, something it was unable to do in the first game when the Cardinals scored twice off reliever Shelby Miller in the top of the ninth to pull out a 2-1 win.

Things got dicey for a bit in the nightcap, as well.

More: Analysis: Sending Kennedy down a no-brainer, but Tigers’ next move will be a tough one

Right-handed starter Matt Manning, called up from Triple-A Toledo for the third time this month to serve as the 27th man, went into the fifth inning nursing a 4-0 lead.

To that point, he’d limited the Cardinals to four hits and had seven strikeouts. But things went south in a hurry in the fifth.

Brendan Donovan blasted a 1-0 fastball (93 mph) for a two-run homer. Then with two outs, Manning gave up a walk and single. He was at 89 pitches and with left-handed hitting Alec Burleson due up, manager AJ Hinch summoned lefty reliever Tyler Holton.

Holton, touched up for five runs in his last outing, had never in his career given up a home run to a left-handed hitter covering 153 plate appearances.

But Holton fell behind Burleson 2-1 and threw a 91-mph sinker that stayed up and over the plate. Burleson, who had never hit a homer off lefty in his career, blasted his first and the three-run shot temporarily flipped the game, taking the Cardinals from 4 down to one up, 5-4.

“I think you just kind of get into a jam a little bit and you really want things to go well,” said Manning, who was optioned back to Triple-A Toledo after the game. “You want to prove, like I want to put up zeros to have a fighting argument to get back up here.

“So it’s just a balance of staying under control and making pitches and maybe pressing a little bit.”

Manning, with perfect comedic timing, then added, “Really, it was Jack (Flaherty’s) fault. He took all the zeros from me. Goldy wasn’t going to go 0-for-8.”

Goldy, Paul Goldschmidt, got four hits in the nightcap, but the Cardinals’ lead didn’t survive the bottom of the fifth.

The Tigers close out the March-April portion of the schedule with a 17-13 record, their best start since 2016.

Chris.McCosky@detroitnews

@cmccosky



Source link

  • Related Posts

    Wells Fargo and Bilt Deny Rocky Card Relationship

    Wells Fargo and Bilt are denying reports that their co-branded credit card relationship is in trouble. The banking giant teamed with the FinTech startup in 2022 on a card that…

    Cards catcher Willson Contreras likely will begin a minor league rehab assignment on Tuesday

    State AlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareFloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirginiaWashingtonWashington D.C.West VirginiaWisconsinWyomingPuerto RicoUS Virgin IslandsArmed Forces AmericasArmed Forces PacificArmed Forces EuropeNorthern Mariana IslandsMarshall IslandsAmerican SamoaFederated States of MicronesiaGuamPalauAlberta, CanadaBritish…

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    You Missed

    Wells Fargo and Bilt Deny Rocky Card Relationship

    Wells Fargo and Bilt Deny Rocky Card Relationship

    Cards catcher Willson Contreras likely will begin a minor league rehab assignment on Tuesday

    Cards catcher Willson Contreras likely will begin a minor league rehab assignment on Tuesday

    Cards catcher Willson Contreras likely will begin a minor league rehab assignment on Tuesday

    Cards catcher Willson Contreras likely will begin a minor league rehab assignment on Tuesday

    Cards catcher Willson Contreras likely will begin a minor league rehab assignment on Tuesday

    Cards catcher Willson Contreras likely will begin a minor league rehab assignment on Tuesday

    Cards catcher Willson Contreras likely will begin a minor league rehab assignment on Tuesday

    Cards catcher Willson Contreras likely will begin a minor league rehab assignment on Tuesday

    The best cards of Shadows of the Galaxy

    The best cards of Shadows of the Galaxy