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Detroit Tigers’ Riley Greene HR not enough in 2-1 loss in Cleveland

CLEVELAND – Riley Greene hit a leadoff home run.

But the Detroit Tigers lost again.

The Tigers couldn’t build on Greene’s home run to open the first inning in Monday’s 2-1 loss to the Cleveland Guardians in the first of three games at Progressive Field.

Greene has nine home runs in 35 games this season.

However, the Tigers (18-17) dropped their fourth straight game in their first game against the first team of the American League Central. The Guardians countered with a run of their own in the bottom of the first inning, then broke the tie with a solo home run in the sixth inning.

José Ramírez, a five-time All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger, put the Guardians ahead 2-1 with a solo home run – his seventh of the season – off the inside fastball of right-hander Jack Flaherty in the sixth inning.

The ball rattled off the foul pole in right field.

A one-out double by Kerry Carpenter put a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh, facing right-handed reliever Hunter Gaddis.

Spencer Torkelson hit a weak dribbler down the third base line. Ramírez, the third baseman, pulled the first baseman off the bag with a bad throw, but Torkelson singled. But Carpenter did not advance to third base when Ramírez decided to throw to first base, leaving the Tigers with runners on first and second base instead of runners on the corners.

Andy Ibáñez hit a force out, and Wenceel Pérez struck out swinging. Those outs left the runners behind and squandered the last scoring opportunity.

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The Tigers finished 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

Jack Flaherty’s six innings

Flaherty was defeated by Ramírez in the sixth inning, but other than that, the 28-year-old – who struck out 14 on the last day of April – dominated the Guardians for his second sharp performance in a row.

The 28-year-old, who signed a one-year, $14 million contract this offseason, gave up two runs on six hits and one walk with six strikeouts over six innings, throwing 101 pitches.

The Guardians answered Greene’s leadoff homer with Estevan Florial’s leadoff double in the bottom of the first inning. Flaherty recorded back-to-back outs before walking Josh Naylor to keep the first inning alive, and Will Brennan made Flaherty pay for that mistake by hitting a first-pitch, down-and-away curveball for an RBI single into right field, tying the game at one run apiece.

Carpenter – instead of trying to throw Florial out of right field at home plate, which would have been a reckless decision – beat Naylor on his way to third base with a strong throw from the outfield, ending the first inning.

Flaherty generated 15 whiffs on 47 swings – a 31.9% whiff rate – with nine fastballs, five sliders and one curveball. His fastball averaged 90.4 miles per hour.

In 2024, Flaherty has a 3.86 ERA with six walks and 56 strikeouts across 42 innings.

Left-handed reliever Joey Wentz, who owns a 0.68 ERA over 13⅓ innings, kept the Guardians from scoring in the seventh and eighth innings. He dismissed all six of the seven batters he faced and recorded four strikeouts.

Riley Greene’s big swing

Not only did Greene launch a leadoff homer, but he also ambushed the first pitch of the game, a 90-mph fastball from right-hander Triston McKenzie.

Greene hit the ball 400 feet with an exit velocity of 110 mph.

The next three batters struck out swinging: Mark Canha (fastball), Matt Vierling (curveball) and Carpenter (curveball). McKenzie allowed one run on three hits and three walks with six strikeouts over five innings, throwing 83 pitches.

The Tigers missed a chance to score in the fifth inning, only because of three bad calls by home plate umpire Ramon De Jesus on Mark Canha with runners on the corners and one out. Three called strikes were questionable, and two of them were definitely outside the strike zone.

Canha struck out when she looked at a curveball on the seventh pitch at the top of the strike zone. After the strikeout, Canha expressed his displeasure by exchanging words with De Jesus at the plate before walking to the dugout.

Vierling, the next batter, produced a deep fly ball to left field on a first-pitch, center-center slider for the third out in the fifth inning, but if Canha had walked as he deserved, so would Vierling’s fly ball been. I have been a sacrificial fly.

Contact Evan Petzold at [email protected] or follow him @EvanPetzold.