Mize (6 IP, 1 ER), Henry-Malloy (HR, 3 RBIs) power up in finale

Kreidler's good reads, aggressive baserunning help Tigers halt Nats' win streak

June 13th, 2024

DETROIT -- Tigers right-hander got back on track with a quality start in Thursday afternoon’s 7-2 win over the Nationals at Comerica Park.

Rookie outfielder , Detroit’s No. 6 prospect per MLB Pipeline, put the game away with two big two-out hits -- a 407-foot solo homer in the sixth inning and two-run double in the seventh. And shortstop Ryan Kreidler, who singled twice and scored both times, provided the offensive spark Detroit needed to avoid getting swept in three games.

As a result, three young players who had struggled a bit came through with games Tigers manager A.J. Hinch hoped would be something to build upon for each of them.

Mize went six innings, allowing one run on four hits for his first quality start since May 15. His ERA rose from 3.50 to 4.73 from May 21-June 8 (four starts), when he allowed 14 earned runs in 15 1/3 innings.

However, Mize was in control during this outing.

“The reason I took him out -- which might sound early with the pitch count -- is he needs a building block,” said Hinch who gave Mize the hook after 84 pitches and six innings. “And today was one of them. He wasn’t at his best, but that’s pretty good for six innings and one run based on how we’d gotten there from the last few starts.”

Hinch said Mize thrived despite not having his best stuff.

“I honed in that fastball command,” Mize said. “Threw some splits and sliders at the bottom of the zone, and got some weak contact -- which I was pretty pleased with. Dropped in some curveballs, too. It was just a better mix [of pitches] and a little better execution.”

Mize struck out four after fanning just seven across his past four starts. He registered three strikeouts on called four-seam fastballs and got No. 3 hitter Jesse Winker to go down swinging on a slider.

Malloy entered the game batting .150 with one homer and two RBIs in 20 at-bats, but he got going with a power surge.

“Having a break-out game like that,” Hinch said, “it just brings some confidence. It brings a little bit of a collective exhale for him and for all of his family around him and all of his friends. Hopefully, he can relax those shoulders and relax that mind.

“The breakthrough hit in the big moment to change the game is a great first for him.”

“Redemption’s always cool,” Malloy said. “It’s just flushing that and being in the moment in the next at-bat and letting that other at-bat go paid off.”

Kreidler, 26, is once again getting a chance to stick in the Majors after having brief opportunities in each of the past two seasons. He got called up Tuesday when starting shortstop Javier Báez was placed on the 10-day injured list.

Kreidler's mission is to prove he can hit in the Majors after batting .111 in 18 at-bats in 2023 and .178 in 73 at-bats in '22.

Kreidler scored Detroit’s only run through the first five innings by leading off the third inning with a perfect bunt single. He deadened the ball in the dirt with his bat and beat out the throw. After advancing to second on an Andy Ibáñez infield single, Kreidler read the looping single to left by Mark Canha perfectly and scored from second.

And again in the seventh, after lining a single up the middle, Kreidler had a no-hesitation read on a single by Matt Vierling to reach third with one out. He scored on an Ibáñez double.

“A lot of times with Kreids, we talk about defense first,” Hinch said. “But today, offensively, he gets on first with a bunt, he gets a base hit later in the game. He near misses [with] a really good at-bat at the end on the flyball to left.

“The baserunning was distracting to their pitching. He did take the extra base. You can do a lot of things with Kreids when he’s in control of his game. So, that was awesome to see.”

“I’m just trying to help us win," Kreidler said. "Hitting in the nine hole, that’s my role, just getting on base and staying on base so these guys can drive me in. I didn’t bunt a whole lot in the Minors, but if I think that’s my best chance to get on base, I’m going to try that.”