DETROIT — Spencer Turnbull and the Detroit bullpen combined on a three-hitter, Austin Romine and Travis Demeritte each drove in two runs and the Tigers beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-2 Friday night.
Turnbull led the majors in losses last season as a rookie, going 3-17 and dropping his last 13 decisions. The 27-year-old righty pitched five effective innings at Cincinnati last weekend in getting a no-decision in his first start, then fared well in his second time against the Reds.
Turnbull (1-0) allowed two runs and three hits in six innings. He struck out six, walked one and didn’t allow a hit until former Tigers teammate Nick Castellanos doubled leading off the fifth.
“Feels good,” Turnbull said. “I think it’s been a minute since I got a W too, so it’s extra sweet.”
His last win had come in May 2019.
“I thought his fastball command was excellent tonight,” said Romine, who caught Turnbull. “It was tough for them to get the ground under them.”
Detroit relievers Gregory Soto, Buck Farmer and Bryan Garcia retired nine consecutive batters in the final three innings.
Luis Castillo (0-1) gave up five runs on eight hits in six-plus innings.
The Tigers scored twice in the fifth to take a 3-2 lead on Romine’s RBI double and Jacoby Jones’ run-scoring single. They added two in the seventh to chase Castillo on Romine’s RBI single and Nate Jones’ wild pitch.
Demeritte hit a two-run double in the eighth. He had entered the game in the seventh as a pinch runner.
The Red took a 2-1 advantage in the fifth as Nick Senzel’s double and Tucker Barnhart’s single brought in the runs.
Niko Goodrum’s sacrifice fly gave Detroit a 1-0 lead in the third.
Reds: Placed LHP Wade Miley on the injured list, retroactive to Tuesday, with a strained left groin.
Tigers: OF Cameron Maybin was placed on the injured list with a strained right quadriceps. He sustained the injury while legging out an infield single in the ninth inning of Thursday night’s 5-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals. Detroit recalled Demeritte, an outfielder, from its satellite campus in Toledo to take Maybin’s place. Demeritte had a groin injury during much of summer camp.
Trevor Bauer (0-0, 1.42) goes for the Reds against Michael Fulmer (0-0, 13.50), in the second game of the series on Saturday at 1:10 p.m. Fulmer is making his second start since returning from Tommy John surgery. Fulmer’s first start was also against Cincinnati.
6 teams idle
MIAMI — With six teams idled Friday by the COVID-19 pandemic, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke to union leader Tony Clark about the importance of players following the sport’s coronavirus protocols.
Manfred and Clark talked about what needs to be done to finish the season, a person familiar with the conversation said. The person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
“Every player in this league better take a hard look at what you’re doing off the field, because what you do affects, more than just you and your team,” Chicago Cubs outfielder Steven Souza Jr. tweeted, hours after the St. Louis-Milwaukee game was called off. “Your decisions off the field will put all of our seasons in jeopardy this year.”
The conversation between Manfred and Clark, first reported by ESPN, comes amid growing evidence that the spread of infection threatens to overtake efforts to play ball.
“Some things aren’t looking too good right now, but we have to play up to that point. Players are seeing what can happen,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said.
“The rest now is up to us and the virus,” he said.
Concerns have been expressed about lax behavior by players on the field — such as spitting or high-fives — and off. The scrambled schedule has also heightened doubts about whether the owners’ desire to play is realistic.
“Obviously, we saw the message. They sent a memo. Just be more diligent, wear a mask in the dugout when you’re not playing, what we’ve thought to be the rules all along,” Arizona catcher Stephen Vogt said. “So it’s just like every other rule that MLB has for players — now it’s going to be enforced, so to speak. Just strongly encouraging.”
“Everything gets a little bit lax when you get in the game because the habits of what we’ve been doing our whole life takes over. When one of your teammates gets a big hit, you want to high-five them. You want to celebrate the way you’ve always done,” he said. “And the last thing I want to do when I’m trying to play and do my job is be worried about COVID, but that’s the times were in right now.”
The latest game to be postponed was Milwaukee’s home opener against St. Louis, scrapped hours before the first pitch after two Cardinals players tested positive for COVID-19.
“TV Show suggestions please,” tweeted Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty, one of an increasing number of players who found themselves with unexpected free time as the postponements mounted.
The Cardinals said in a statement they learned Thursday night about positive tests from samples collected Wednesday. Players and staff were instructed to isolate in their hotel rooms.
“The team is currently conducting rapid testing of the entire traveling party, has implemented contact tracing, and will continue to self-isolate,” the Cardinals said.
The Cardinals and Brewers still hoped to play Saturday night, and to make up Friday’s game with a pair of seven-inning games Sunday under a newly approved MLB plan for doubleheaders.
Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio said baseball is braced for curveballs, especially this year.