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Javier Baez's grand slam gives Tigers 5-1 win over Diamondbacks

Chris McCosky, The Detroit News on

Published in Baseball

PHOENIX – A hefty segment of the 22,064 people who came to Chase Field Friday night to welcome Spencer Torkelson back to Arizona where he starred at Arizona State, but Javier Baez gave them a bonus treat.

He blasted a grand slam home run in the third inning, sending the Detroit Tigers to a 5-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first of three games.

It was Baez's third homer in three games and it was majestic. He had just chased and swung wildly at a 1-1 curve ball from D-backs starter Merritt Kelly. Kelly came right back with the same pitch, only he left it over the plate.

Baez sent it 459 feet, nearly reaching the second deck in left-center. The ball left his bat with an exit velocity of 111 mph. It was the farthest ball hit by a Tiger since Jeimer Candelario hit one 467 feet in July of 2019.

Baez put his fingers to his lips as he started his home run trot, as if to hush the critics -- some of whom might've been giving him the business from the expensive seats near the Tigers' dugout.

The Tigers tacked on another run in the eighth on an RBI double by Robbie Grossman.

 

Right-hander Rony Garcia, for the third time this month, gave the Tigers a strong outing. He went 5.1 innings allowing a run and just three singles.

Impressively, he did that seemingly without a good feel for his best pitch – his breaking ball. Instead, he battered the Diamondbacks with fastballs, four-seamers and two-seamers, moving them up and down, in and out.

Of his 81 pitches, he threw 35 four-seamers and 20 two-seam sinkers, both ringing the gun between 92 and 94 mph.

Manager AJ Hinch came to get him after he walked Ketel Marte with one out in the sixth, summoning Alex Lange.

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