Clemens’ first career homer lifts Tigers over D-Backs 6-3

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
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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.

UP NEXT

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.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.