DETROIT — Turns out, it was just a matter of breaking the seal.
Giants right-hander Logan Webb was cruising along, holding the Tigers hitless for 4.1 innings. Then Jeimer Candelario, hitting under .200, decided enough was enough.
With the defense shifted to the right side of the infield, Candelario made a decided effort to inside-out his swing and push the ball to the vacant side of the field. Which he did, rolling it inside the bag at third for a single.
The hits flowed freely after that.
The Tigers went on to bat around in the inning, bang out six hits, score six runs and ultimately beat the Giants, 6-1, at Comerica Park Wednesday afternoon.
After Candelario broke the seal, Tucker Barnhart followed with a double. Akil Baddoo walked to load the bases. And after Webb won a seven-pitch battle and got a called third strike on Riley Greene for the second out, Victor Reyes quickly fell into an 0-2 hole.
Reyes has been quietly clutch for the Tigers this season, hitting .409 with two outs and runners in scoring position. He slammed the 0-2 pitch right at shortstop Brandon Crawford, who was playing behind second base in the Giants’ shift.
The ball left Reyes’ bat with an exit velocity of 104 mph and it ate Crawford up, caroming into center field. Two runs scored.
Kody Clemens and Harold Castro added RBI singles and, against lefty reliever Thomas Szapucki, Willi Castro lined a two-run double into the left field corner.
From being no-hit to scoring six runs, all with two outs – useful.
Tigers’ starter Matt Manning was happy for the support, for sure. He spun six scoreless innings, with a career-high eight strikeouts and no walks.
But he had to grind. Starting with a 26-pitch first inning, he stranded a runner at third base in four of his six frames.
As has been his way, though, he got stronger as the outing wore on. He ended up getting 16 swings-and-misses and 22 called strikes. His slider was baffling the Giants. They took 19 swings at it and missed on 12. They also took it eight times for strikes.
Manning’s response to the six-run inning: He struck out the heart of the San Francisco order in the sixth – Wilmer Flores, Joc Pederson and Evan Longoria.
The last Tigers’ pitcher to work six or more scoreless innings with eight or more strikeouts was Michael Fulmer, Aug. 14, 2016, when he threw a complete-game shutout at Texas.
Over his last four starts since coming off the injured list, Manning has posted a 1.80 ERA with 28 strikeouts and five walks.
The Tigers scratched shortstop Javy Baez right before the game because of back spasms. Manager AJ Hinch put Clemens in Baez’s third spot in the order.