Renato Nunez, JaCoby Jones homer vs. Gerrit Cole in Detroit Tigers' 7-4 loss to Yankees

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press
·4 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

LAKELAND, Fla. — The Detroit Tigers lost to the New York Yankees, 7-4, on Monday at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium.

The Tigers dropped to 7-8 in Grapefruit League play.

What happened

Battling to secure a rotation spot, right-hander Michael Fulmer pitched into the third inning but struggled through his 63 pitches (32 strikes). He gave up three runs on four hits and three walks, with a mere one strikeout. Manager AJ Hinch pulled him amid a bases-loaded, no-out jam, and left-hander Derek Holland saved the team from further damage with three consecutive outs.

[ Alex Lange's road to Tigers paved by baseball bloodlines, incredible adoptive mother ]

Facing right-hander Gerrit Cole, MLB's strikeout leader in 2019, Renato Nunez and JaCoby Jones each hit solo home runs in the second inning — their first long balls this spring. Rule 5 draft pick Akil Baddoo, vying to make the roster, crushed his third homer in four days. Miguel Cabrera went 0-for-3 but continues to make solid contact.

FRESH CUTS: Tigers make spring training moves: Christin Stewart, others sent to Triple-A Toledo

MAKING HIS CASE: If Akil Baddoo keeps raking, Tigers' AJ Hinch won't rule out five outfielders

Starting off

Unlike Fulmer's outing last, he did a much better job mixing his pitches. Against the Toronto Blue Jays, Fulmer didn't use his changeup until his 31st pitch, which came in the second inning. This time, he tossed a changeup with his third pitch to leadoff hitter Brett Gardner. Fulmer's pitch usage Tuesday against the Yankees: changeup (17), slider (14), four-seam fastball (12), sinker (11) and curveball (nine). His fastball averaged 92.3 mph. This spring, Fulmer has a 15.00 ERA across six innings.

At the plate

In the seventh inning, Baddoo drove a 93.8 mph sinker from Luis Cessa — a former Tiger — over the left-center wall. He has three home runs, with a .391 batting average, this spring and continues to make a case to earn a spot on the 26-man roster. If he doesn't make the team, the 22-year-old must be returned to the Minnesota Twins.

The Tigers collected four hits, three of which were homers from Nunez, Jones and Baddoo. The only other hit was a double from Jonathan Schoop. The team drew four walks compared to 10 strikeouts. Grayson Greiner worked a 10-pitch walk against Cole in his first plate appearance back from a fractured nose. In the ninth, Victor Reyes drove in Derek Hill, who displayed excellent base running by stealing second base and advancing to third on a throwing error from the catcher.

NEWSLETTER: Me and Julio (Teheran), down by the schoolyard

On the mound

Holland got back-to-back strikeouts before getting a ground out to escape Fulmer's bases-loaded mess in the third inning. He then struck out the side in the fourth inning: Brett Gardner (curveball, looking), Luke Voit (curveball, swinging) and Aaron Hicks (changeup, swinging). His fastball averaged 93.6 mph, touching 96 mph, and his knuckle curveball got four swings-and-misses. Holland signed a minor-league contract this offseason and is trying to make the team. This spring, he has no earned runs, one walk and 11 strikeouts in six innings.

Right-hander Bryan Garcia made his first appearance since getting called back out of COVID-19 protocol. He allowed three runs on homers to Clint Frazier and Mike Tauchman in the fifth inning, giving the Yankees a 6-2 lead. Still, Garcia completed his lone inning with 23 pitches. Righty Erasmo Ramirez pitched the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. He didn't allow any runs or hits, with two walks and two strikeouts. Drew Hutchison tossed in the ninth inning.

[ Why there's still belief in aging Tigers prospect 'fighting for his life' in baseball ]

Prospects

Spencer Torkelson (first base), Riley Greene (right field), Daz Cameron (designated hitter), Derek Hill (left field), Jake Rogers (catcher) and Ryan Kreidler (third base) came into the game as replacements in the seventh and eighth innings. Rogers had a passed ball in the ninth inning, which allowed Josh Breaux to advance to second base and then score easily on Thairo Estrada's single to right field.

Three stars

1. Holland, 2. Jones, 3. Ramirez.

Next up

Wednesday vs. Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater.

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: Detroit Tigers launch three home runs in 7-4 loss to New York Yankees