As the Comerica Park crowd buzzed with anticipation, skepticism surrounded A.J. Hinch’s bold decision to bench Kerry Carpenter, Colt Keith, and Riley Greene against a tough left-handed pitcher. However, as the game unfolded, those doubts would soon dissolve under the heat of a fierce, back-and-forth battle. The Detroit Tigers, displaying remarkable resilience at the plate, outpaced the persistent threats posed by the Toronto Blue Jays. Despite some shaky moments on the mound, the Tigers’ pitchers clawed their way through each inning.

The drama peaked when the Blue Jays snatched an 11-9 lead in the eighth, thanks to Daulton Varsho’s deafening three-run homer. Yet, this advantage was short-lived as Mark Canha delivered a game-tying two-run single in the bottom of the frame. With the game knotted at 11, relief pitcher Mason Englert managed to stave off further damage, setting the stage for a nail-biting finale. In the bottom of the ninth, after some strategic small ball, Matt Vierling delivered a climactic walk-off home run that sealed a dramatic series win for the Tigers, leaving the crowd in a delirious uproar.

Early Innings Drama

The game began with Tigers’ starter Casey Mize narrowly escaping a jam-packed first inning, signaling the start of an intense, back-and-forth contest. The Tigers responded in the second inning with four runs, ignited by Spencer Torkelson’s sharp double and a series of clutch hits from Javier Baez and Andy Ibanez. By the third, the Tigers extended their lead to 5-0, thanks to another home run by Torkelson.

However, the Blue Jays weren’t subdued for long. They struck back in the fourth, with Cavan Biggio’s two-run homer off Mize, marking the beginning of their relentless pursuit. Despite their efforts, the Tigers’ bats continued to answer, pushing the score to 8-3 by the end of the fifth inning after Carson Kelly smashed a three-run homer.

As the innings progressed, each team’s bullpen was tested. The Blue Jays took a late 11-9 lead in the eighth via Daulton Varsho’s three-run homer off of Jason Foley, putting immense pressure on Detroit. Yet, the Tigers remained undeterred. Mark Canha’s clutch two-run single in the bottom of the eighth re-tied the game at 11, setting the stage for the final act.

Late Inning Heroics

The ninth inning began with tension thick in the air at Comerica Park, as A.J. Hinch called on the recently promoted Mason Englert to preserve the 11-11 tie. Englert stepped up, inducing a groundout from Ernie Clement to shortstop Javier Baez, who fired a challenging one-hopper to first. Spencer Torkelson made a spectacular pick to secure the out.

Englert followed up the groundout by striking out Cavan Biggio with a sharp slider that sliced through the strike zone. Despite issuing a six-pitch walk to Davis Schneider, Englert regained control and got Danny Jansen to fly out deep to left field, with Mark Canha snagging the ball on the warning track—just shy of a go-ahead homer. Englert’s clutch inning set the stage for a dramatic bottom of the ninth, keeping the game tied.

The tension reached its peak in the bottom of the ninth. 

Spencer Torkelson led off against Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano, and delivered exactly what Detroit needed. He dropped a short fly ball just out of the left fielder’s reach for a single. Following a strategic sacrifice bunt by Wenceel Pérez, which advanced Torkelson to second, the Javier Baez grounded out for the second out of the inning.

After Javier Baez grounded out, Jordan Romano of the Blue Jays chose to intentionally walk pinch hitter Kerry Carpenter, recognizing the threat he posed. Carpenter, ever alert, stole second base, effectively eliminating the potential for a force out.

With two runners on base, Matt Vierling stepped into the batter’s box already having a stellar day, boasting a 3-5 line with a home run. The count ran full, the pressure mounted, and on the sixth pitch, a crucial 3-2 count, Romano unwisely chose an 87 mph slider that broke down and in. Vierling, anticipating the pitch, unleashed a powerful swing that connected perfectly, sending the ball soaring 409 feet into the left field stands for a spectacular three-run, walk-off home run. The blast electrified the stadium, as the crowd erupted in both excitement and relief as Vierling rounded the bases, his teammates ready at home plate to celebrate their dramatic 14-11 victory.

Top Tigers Today

  • Matt Vierling: 4-6, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI
  • Mark Canha: 3-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI
  • Spencer Torkelson: 3-5, 3 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI
  • Carson Kelly: 1-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI

Up Next

This game-ending blast not only sealed the win for the night but also clinched the series for the Tigers. Taking three out of four against the Toronto Blue Jays was massively important. With this electrifying finish, the Tigers moved one game closer to .500, now standing at 26-27 for the season.

They’ll enjoy a well-deserved day off on Memorial Day before hosting the Pittsburgh Pirates for a two-game series.

Probable Starters for Upcoming Series:

  • Tuesday: LHP Tarik Skubal vs. RHP Jared Jones
  • Wednesday: RHP Jack Flaherty vs. RHP Paul Skenes


For more from our Detroit Tigers and Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21


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Original Photo Credit: © Brian Bradshaw Sevald – USA TODAY Sports

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By Published On: May 26th, 2024Categories: Detroit Tigers, MLB, Trending News

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