Petaluma’s Garrett Hill wins stellar MLB debut, Tigers beat Guardians in Game 1 of doubleheader
DETROIT — Garrett Hill (Petaluma, Analy High School, Santa Rosa Junior College) won his major league debut by pitching six impressive innings, Miguel Cabrera delivered a two-run single and the Detroit Tigers beat the Cleveland Guardians 4-1 Monday in the opener of a day-night doubleheader. Detroit completed a sweep with a 5-3 win in Game 2.
The Guardians played their third doubleheader in seven days and their seventh this season.
A 26th-round draft choice by the Tigers in 2018, Hill (1-0) allowed just two hits, including a home run by Josh Naylor. He struck out three and walked one.
“I’ve tried to get to this level and live out my dream,” Hill said. “I was pleased with all of it. I was able to stay super calm. I was happy with my preparation and everything.”
Hill drew attention last year after pitching in the Arizona League Fall Stars Game. The 26-year-old right-hander was a combined 4-2 with a 3.23 ERA in a combined 15 starts at Triple-A and Double-A this season.
Back in 2005, another Tigers rookie pitcher also made his big league debut on the Fourth of July against Cleveland — that day, Justin Verlander took the loss.
Hill is the first Tigers pitcher to have allowed two or fewer hits in his MLB debut in six innings or more.
“After the second inning, going into the third, I started feeling my way again,” he said. “From then on, I just wanted to keep throwing strikes.”
Changeups and sliders were especially effective, Hill said.
“Give the kid credit,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “He threw strikes. He got his fastball, I don’t want to say by us, but stayed off the barrel a lot. He mixed in all of his pitches and actually did a pretty good job.”
Tigers relievers Andrew Chafin, Michael Fulmer and Gregory Soto teamed for three hitless innings. Soto worked the ninth and picked up his 16th save, walking two before retiring Owen Miller on a groundout.
The two hits matched the fewest for Cleveland batters this season (June 18 at the Dodgers) and fewest allowed by Detroit pitchers (June 1 against Minnesota).
Jonathan Schoop, who entered the game hitting .191, had four singles in four at-bats and scored two runs. He had two more hits in Game 2 to close out a six-hit night.
“I just want to put it on play,” he said. “We need the win.”
Cabrera’s single in the first inning gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead and put him at 3,060 hits, tying Craig Biggio for 25th on the all-time list. His 1,831 RBIs tied him with Manny Ramirez. Cabrera has now hit safely in 10 games.
Cleveland starter Zach Plesac (2-6) went six innings and suffered the loss.
“It’s just going out there and brick by brick,” Plesac said. “I’ve been living by that phrase the past month and a half, just continue to get better every day, and look for ways to help keep us in games.”
The Guardians’ Myles Straw tried to score on Steve Kwan’s third-inning single but didn’t slide and was tagged out on by catcher Tucker Barnhart after a throw from left fielder Robbie Grossman. A replay overturned plate umpire Erich Bacchus’ original safe call.
Naylor hit his 11th homer, connecting in the fourth. Naylor walked in the seventh and exited because of back spasms. Miller pinch-ran for him.
Javier Báez hit an RBI single in the seventh and Barnhart singled home Schoop in the eighth.