Detroit Tigers get preview of post-deadline ‘pen as Derek Law implodes in 5-3 loss to Jays
TORONTO — Right-hander Drew Hutchison returned to Rogers Centre, the place where he was an Opening Day starter in 2015, and provided the Detroit Tigers with a solid performance Saturday against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The 31-year-old allowed one run on two hits and three walks in five innings.
But the Tigers squandered the game in the sixth inning, when right-handed reliever Derek Law allowed four runs — due to a hit-by-pitch, fielding error, wild pitch and three-run home run — in his first MLB appearance since July 10, 2021.
The Tigers lost, 5-3, in the third of four games in the series.
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Manager A.J. Hinch sent Law — called up Saturday morning from Triple-A Toledo — to the mound for the Tigers (41-61) to protect a 3-1 lead in a high-leverage situation against the best batters in the Blue Jays’ lineup.
Santiago Espinal, the No. 9 hitter, singled to right field. After Law retired George Springer, the 31-year-old drilled Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the left wrist. Guerrero stayed in the game and took first base.
The next batter, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., reached safely on Law’s fielding error to load the bases. The ball bounced back to the mound, but Law bobbled and booted the ball while trying to collect himself and get the force out at third base.
Then, Bo Bichette cut Toronto’s deficit to 3-2 with a sacrifice fly. Hinch had righty Alex Lange warming, but he kept Law in the game to face Teoscar Hernandez. A wild pitch advanced both runners — Guerrero to third base and Gurriel to second base — before Hernandez crushed a three-run home run to center field to make it 5-3, Jays.
Hernandez, who has 14 home runs this season, set a pair of personal highs with his swing on Law’s cutter: 109 mph exit velocity and 424 feet. All six pitches during the Hernandez at-bat — and 21 of the 26 pitches in Law’s outing — were cutters.
Scratching out a lead
The Tigers took a brief lead in the fifth, as the offense scored two runs after loading the bases to begin the frame: Eric Haase (single), Robbie Grossman (single) and Jonathan Schoop (hit-by-pitch).
Initially, the Schoop hit-by-pitch was ruled a double play.
Home plate umpire Alex Tosi believed the ball deflected off the knob of Schoop’s bat, so Toronto’s defense tossed the ball around the infield, recording outs at third, then first. Hinch challenged the ruling and won, which loaded the bases with nobody out.
Kody Clemens’ sacrifice fly got the Tigers on the scoreboard and chased Blue Jays right-handed starter Ross Stripling, and then Riley Greene’s RBI double off right-hander Adam Cimber put the Tigers ahead 2-1. Schoop was then thrown out at home plate for the second out.
Cimber tried to pick Schoop off at third. The ball got past third baseman Matt Chapman, but he recovered and fired a dart to catcher Danny Jansen to keep the Tigers from adding another run.
Javier Báez then grounded out for the third out.
In the top of the sixth, before Law’s implosion, the Tigers took a 3-1 lead on Schoop’s RBI single with two outs.
The Drew league
For most of his outing, Hutchison escaped self-inflicted jams.
The Blue Jays scored in the first for a 1-0 lead on Gurriel’s RBI single — which plated Guerrero after he stole his second base of the season — but from that point on, Hutchison managed his mistakes.
He worked around a one-out walk in the second with a double play, a two-out walk in the third with a forceout and a leadoff walk in the fourth with another double play. His only perfect frame was the fifth, also his last inning.
For his 68 pitches (35 strikes), Hutchison used 32 four-seam fastballs (47%), 19 sliders (28%), 12 sinkers (18%) and five changeups (7%). He earned seven swings and misses: five with his four-seamer and two with his sinker.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers stung by callup Derek Law in 5-3 L to Toronto Blue Jays
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