Michael Fulmer crushed, Tarik Skubal strong in Detroit Tigers' 10-6 loss to Blue Jays

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Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press
·3 min read
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DUNEDIN, Fla. — The Detroit Tigers lost 10-6 against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Fla. The game only lasted seven innings.

The Tigers dropped to 6-4 in Grapefruit League play.

What happened

Right-hander Michael Fulmer started for the Tigers and went two-plus innings, but he gave up three home runs — George Springer, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Alejandro Kirk — to the 13 batters he faced. Opponents had a 98.7 mph exit velocity against Fulmer in his second start of spring training. The highlight for the Tigers was left-hander Tarik Skubal's three innings. He struck out four batters and allowed just one hit, without any walks or runs. His fastball reached 96.4 mph and averaged 94.8 mph.

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Starting off

Besides Fulmer's uptick in fastball velocity, which averaged 93.4 mph and maxed out at 94.9 mph, nothing went as planned. He gave up seven runs on five hits and two walks, with one strikeout. Fulmer used 55 pitches (34 strikes) but only managed four swings-and-misses. He departed from the third inning with no outs. For Fulmer's second out of the game, he got help from center fielder Derek Hill. On a drive to the right-center gap from Bo Bichette, Hill dashed and fully extended to make the catch. (He made another leaping grab in the third inning, this time against the center-field wall, to take extra bases from Kirk.)

At the plate

The Tigers were held to eight hits, of which four didn't come until the final inning. In the sixth, Jeimer Candelario flied out to left field, allowing Hill — after hitting a triple off the wall in center field — to score easily for the team's lone run. Candelario finished 2-for-2 and increased his batting average to .438 this spring. In the seventh, prospect Kody Clemens plated two runs with a triple to center field, and Hill added an RBI single. Infielder Ryan Kreidler, a 2019 fourth-round draft pick from UCLA, ripped an opposite field two-run homer to right field, cutting the deficit to 10-6 with two outs. But Aderlin Rodriguez made the final out. The Tigers struck out nine times and took just one walk.

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On the mound

Right-hander Ben Taylor took over for Fulmer in the third inning. He gave up an RBI single to Guerrero and a three-run blast to Randal Grichuk, giving the Blue Jays a 10-0 lead, before completing the frame. Upon entering in the fourth, Skubal struck out Marcus Semien (splitter) and Teoscar Hernandez (curveball). In the fifth, he sent down Rowdy Tellez looking with a 96.4 mph fastball. He finished with four strikeouts across 50 pitches (30 strikes), earning four swings-and-misses and 11 called strikes. Skubal's only blemish was a four-pitch single allowed to Guerrero, who finished 3-for-3 with four RBIs.

Prospects

Top prospect Spencer Torkelson — the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft — started at third base and went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. The 21-year-old is 0-for-13 through seven spring training games. He has eight strikeouts and three walks. In the sixth inning, he made a throwing error over the head of first baseman Rodriguez.

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Three stars

1. Skubal, 2. Hill, 3. Candelario.

Next up

Friday vs. New York Yankees in Lakeland.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Tarik Skubal dominates in Detroit Tigers' 10-6 loss to Blue Jays