Detroit Tigers fall to Reds in Game 1 of 2, despite Tyler Alexander's record-setting day

Carlos Monarrez
Detroit Free Press

Tyler Alexander put on a pitching clinic Sunday and tied a Detroit Tigers and American League record by striking out nine straight batters.

But it wasn’t enough for the Tigers, who fell to the Cincinnati Reds, 4-3, in the first game of what is believed to be Major League Baseball’s first scheduled seven-inning doubleheader.

Alexander tied Doug Fister’s strikeout mark against the Kansas City Royals on Sept. 27, 2012. The major league record is 10, set by Tom Seaver of the New York Mets on April 22, 1970, against San Diego.

Alexander struck out the entire Reds order, notching his ninth strikeout when he came back from a 2-0 count against Nick Castellanos and got him swinging on a curve. 

[ Castellanos hits a pair of HRs at his longtime nemesis ... Comerica Park ]

The streak ended when he hit Mike Moustakas on the forearm on a 1-2 pitch in the sixth inning. He got his 10th and final strikeout when he struck out the next batter, Eugenio Suarez. He left the game after he walked Matt Davidson.

Alexander threw 55 pitches with 38 for strikes in 3⅔ innings.

Reds right fielder Nicholas Castellanos is struck out by Tigers reliever Tyler Alexander during the fifth inning of the Tigers' 4-3 loss in Game 1 of the doubleheader against the Reds at Comerica Park on Sunday, August 2, 2020.

He entered the game in the third inning with no outs after starter Rony Garcia gave up a second home run to Castellanos that gave the Reds a 3-0 lead.

The Tigers tied it at 3 in the sixth inning. With the bases loaded, Victor Reyes hit a deep fly to right field that Castellanos dropped.

[ Why didn't the Tigers call up Casey Mize? A deeper look at the factors at play ]

The Reds went ahead, 4-3, in the seventh on Shogo Akiyama’s single off Joe Jimenez that scored Freddy Galvis from third. Galvis led off the inning with a double.

Historic twinbill

According to research provided by the Elias Sports Bureau and the Reds, it was believed to be the first doubleheader in the majors since 1900 in which both games were scheduled for fewer than nine innings.

The Elias Sports Bureau said there has been only one doubleheader in the modern era (since 1900) in which both games lasted fewer than nine innings. On Sept. 19, 1912, the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Naps played a doubleheader with Game 1 lasting five innings and Game 2 going six innings.

[ Tigers prospects Spencer Torkelson, Dillon Dingler show progress after wild draft year ]

Candelario ends drought

Jeimer Candelario led off the third inning with a triple when he hit a screaming grounder into the right field corner. It was his first hit of the season and ended an 0-for-17 streak. He got a second hit in the fifth inning and went 2-for-3.

Reds right fielder Nicholas Castellanos during the third inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park in Game 1 on Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020.

Rony roughed up

Garcia started for his second appearance of the season. He threw 48 pitches and lasted two-plus innings, giving up three runs on three hits and two walks and two homers to Castellanos.

Tight game

With only seven innings scheduled, the Reds didn’t want to concede any runs. They saved a run when they brought the infield in with Candelario on third base with one out in the third inning. Candelario had to hold when JaCoby Jones hit a chopper to Galvis at shortstop. Niko Goodrum struck out looking and the Reds kept their 3-0 lead.

Stew shines

Left fielder Christin Stewart has made some nice defensive plays this season. He made two consecutive plays in the second inning when he charged Nick Senzel’s low liner. He followed that with a shall we say interesting play when he charged Josh VanMeter’s liner, almost over-running the ball and leaping to make the catch.

Votto on IL

Reds first baseman Joey Votto was placed on the injury list without a designation before the game. The Cincinnati Enquirer, citing a source, reported that Votto self-reported symptoms to the ream’s medical staff Sunday morning but had not tested positive for COVID-19. The Reds reinstated right-hander Anthony DeSclafani from the 10-day injured list before the game.

Contact Carlos Monarrez at cmonarrez@freepress.com and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.