Detroit — The Saturday attendance at Comerica Park was 23,581 — thousands more of which, certainly, came to see Shohei Ohtani than, say, Victor Reyes and Kody Clemens.
But Reyes, with a two-out, go-ahead single and a key diving catch, and Clemens, with a double and single coming off the bench for an injured Jonathan Schoop, helped lead the Tigers to a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels to even the three-game series at a one-run win apiece.
Tyler Alexander (3-7) gave up three runs on six hits through three innings and appeared headed for a short day, until he was nearly flawless over the next three innings. From the third through the sixth, he allowed a single base runner, and no runs, retiring nine in a row at one point.
BOX SCORE: Tigers 4, Angels 3
The Tigers’ bullpen did the rest, with Alex Lange, Joe Jimenez and Gregory Soto combining for three hitless innings to close out the game.
The game was tied at 3 through three innings, with Jeimer Candelario’s sacrifice fly scoring Eric Haase, who led off the third with a double.
Then, in the fifth, Candelario drew a one-out walk, and Clemens, in his second at-bat since coming in for Schoop after he left with a right ankle injury, singled off Angels left-handed start Reid Detmers. Tucker Barnhart followed with a strikeout for the second out, before Reyes drilled a two-out RBI single to center.
It was the second hit of the game for Reyes, who also singled in the second — when the Tigers had five hits, including two doubles, and a walk, but only scored two runs.
But Schoop, whose RBI drove in Harold Castro for the Tigers’ first run, went home on Barnhart’s single to right. He was thrown out by right fielder Taylor Ward. The throw beat Schoop by a wide margin, but he attempted to tap dance around catcher Max Stassi, who applied the tag. Schoop laid on the ground for a few moments, clutching his right ankle, limped off the field and immediately went down the dugout tunnel with Tigers’ head athletic trainer Doug Teter. That was the end of Schoop’s day.
The Tigers threatened to only score once on the five hits, but Willi Castro got a two-out, bases-loaded walk.
Clemens was one of three Tigers with two hits, lining a double down the line in right in his first at-bat, off Detmers (4-4).
Riley Greene also had two hits for the Tigers, who had 11.
Alexander allowed the three runs on seven hits in six innings, striking out two. Lange got two strikeouts in his perfect seventh inning, Jimenez got two in his perfect eighth inning, and Soto went unscathed in the ninth for his 23rd save of the season. Soto was helped out by first baseman Harold Castro, who made a great over-the-shoulder catch for the first out, and Soto also worked around a one-out walk.
Soto got Stassi to hit into a double play to end the game, 6-4-3.
The Tigers and Angels will wrap up the series at 1:40 p.m. Sunday, with an intriguing pitching matchup — Ohtani, who limped off the field after fouling a ball off his foot Saturday, against Eduardo Rodriguez, who is making his first start since May after leaving the Tigers for several months for a personal family matter.
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism