PHOENIX — Kody Clemens hit his first major league home run to lead the Detroit Tigers to a 6-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday.
The 26-year-old son of seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens hit a three-run homer in the top of the sixth inning off Arizona reliever Joe Mantiply to break a 3-3 tie.
Clemens called his home run an “amazing” moment.
“It was great,” he said. “As soon as I hit it I knew it had a chance, and as soon as I was about to go around first I saw it was going out and he (Mantiply) turned and looked up, and I showed some emotion there. I was pumped, especially it being kind of late in the game. A three-run homer was crucial for the team. It was just awesome.”
Clemens came into the game hitting .125 and hadn’t played since June 19. He was 1 for 5 against left-handed pitching before homering off Mantiply. It was the first home run Mantiply has allowed to a left-handed hitter in his career.
“It’s a big moment for him,” Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said of Clemens. “He’s been grinding and never had a bad attitude even though he hasn’t been playing a lot. He waits his turn and comes up with a big swing.”
Clemens said he has been standing in bullpens every day over the last week trying to emulate at-bats.
“I’ve been working my (butt) off trying to do everything I can to be in the lineup and help the team win,” he said. “It’s great to see it pay off.”
Tyler Alexander (1-3) got the win for Detroit with two innings of scoreless relief. Mantiply (0-1) took the loss, allowing three earned runs in 1 1/3 innings. It was the Diamondbacks’ fifth straight defeat and dropped Arizona to a season-low nine games under .500.
Harold Castro and Robbie Grossman led off the sixth inning with back-to-back singles off Mantiply, who came on in relief of Arizona starter Zack Davies. After Jeimer Candelario struck out, Clemens hit an 82 mph curveball over the right field fence.
Gregory Soto pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his 14th save for Detroit.
Neither starter figured into the decision. Davies gave up five hits and two earned runs in five innings. Detroit’s Alex Faedo allowed three earned runs in four innings of work.
After getting just two runners on base through the first three innings, Arizona broke through in the fourth against Faedo. Christian Walker drew a one-out walk, and David Peralta hit an 0-1 slider over the right field fence to give the Diamondbacks a 2-1 lead.
It was Peralta’s ninth homer of the season and first since May 24. After Buddy Kennedy walked, Daulton Varsho lined a double to right, scoring Kennedy and extending Arizona’s lead to 3-1.
Detroit tied the game 3-3 in the top of the fifth inning. Tucker Barnhart walked and went to third on a Victor Reyes double. Riley Greene hit a ground ball to second base that Kennedy misplayed, allowing both runners to score.
The Tigers opened the scoring in the top of the fourth inning. Javier Baez led off with a single, and Castro lined a triple down the right field line to score Baez and give Detroit a 1-0 lead.
MAKE ROOM, MR. CAREW
Miguel Cabrera‘s seventh-inning single gave him 3,053 hits for his career, tying him with Rod Carew for 28th place in MLB history. Cabrera’s next double will tie him with Paul Molitor (605) for 15th place on the all-time list.
LHP Beau Brieske (1-6, 4.07) starts Sunday’s series finale for Detroit against the Diamondbacks, who had yet to name a starter prior to Saturday’s game.