Arizona native, Tigers ace Tarik Skubal dices up Diamondbacks

May 17, 2024, 9:22 PM | Updated: 10:04 pm

Tarik Skubal...

Tarik Skubal #29 of the Detroit Tigers delivers a first inning pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on May 17, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Detroit Tigers ace and Arizona native Tarik Skubal threw six shutout innings to earn a win in his first career start against the Diamondbacks Friday at Chase Field.

Skubal, from Kingman, gave up one hit with no walks en route to a Tigers 13-0 mauling to open a three-game series.

For the Diamondbacks (21-24), Ryne Nelson was tagged with a career-high eight earned runs. Every Tigers (22-22) hitter in the lineup except catcher Jake Rogers recorded at least one hit against Nelson, who did not record an out in the fifth inning.

“It was a painful, painful game,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said.

Tarik Skubal dominates in homecoming

Skubal, 27, was perfect through four innings. The Diamondbacks had not hit a ball to an outfielder at that point. The lefty struck out the side in the fourth inning.

Randal Grichuk ended any no-hitter flirtation with a double off the wall in center field with one down in the fifth.

Skubal’s night ended after only 74 pitches while up by a baker’s dozen. The lefty’s heater got up to 100.2 mph, and half of his six strikeouts came on the upper 80s mph changeup. His ERA dropped to 1.80 for the season, which is second-lowest in the American League.

“A lot of (velocity), a lot of location, a lot of mixture. It’s about as good as we’ve seen this year. That was really impressive,” Lovullo said.

Skubal had a sizable fan section in attendance, receiving a loud ovation during introductions. The southpaw said postgame he came to a Diamondbacks Opening Day game in high school, which he said was the coolest experience.

“To throw in front of family and friends and the people who sacrifice everything for me to do what I do, it’s always special,” Skubal told reporters postgame. “I don’t know the total number, but there was quite a bit. … I was probably a little more nervous for this start than I normally am.”

Growing up in Mohave County, he won two state championships for Kingman Academy, although he only had one Division 1 offer from Seattle University.

The Diamondbacks took him in the 29th round of the draft in 2017 after he missed a season following Tommy John surgery, but he returned to Seattle. Detroit picked him in the ninth round of the following draft, and from there, he rose to the top of prospects lists.

Tigers tee off on Ryne Nelson

Nelson exited to a cross between murmurs and boos after allowing 11 hits and recording 12 outs. He has allowed 29 hits over his last 13.2 innings. Even when he hit the edges, Detroit’s hitters punched the ball into holes early.

“I felt like I was executing pitches, and sometimes it just happens when the ball finds holes,” Nelson said. “Got to be able to pitch around it when stuff like that happens. I think that just kind of started to snowball a little bit.”

The Tigers scratched across a run in the second on three consecutive singles, and the cliff was coming.

Detroit tacked on three runs in the third, two from a Kerry Carpenter triple. Nelson failed to cover first base on a ball to Christian Walker with two outs in the fourth, and Wenceel Perez drove the run in with a double.

“Those little things add up,” Lovullo said.

Nelson allowed two hits and a hit-by-pitch in the fifth before receiving the hook. His ERA ballooned from 5.33 to 7.06.

“They were staying on the baseball, they were using the all-field approach, you could tell there was clearly a game plan they had with some of their contact early in the game,” Lovullo said. “They just start to slug and then just got a really good rhythm.”

Friday was a big night for many Tigers grinding at the plate.

Colt Keith, a highly-ranked prospect who entered the game hitting .171, picked up his first career four-hit game. Javier Baez came into Friday hitting .100 this month and drove in five runs on three hits.

Former Arizona State baseball star Spencer Torkelson went 2-for-4 with a couple runs scored. The Sun Devil and 2020 No. 1 overall pick has hits in 10 of his last 11 games.

Detroit had not scored a run over its previous two games and is a bottom 10 offense in MLB by runs, batting average, slugging and on-base percentage.

Ketel Marte extends streak

Ketel Marte singled in the ninth inning to extend his hit streak to 16 games. That ties his career high.

Diamondbacks’ next game

D-backs ace Zac Gallen (2.86 ERA) will make his first home start in over a month Saturday, while Detroit turns to veteran right-hander Jack Flaherty (3.88 ERA).

First pitch is at 5:10 p.m. on 98.7 and the Arizona Sports app. 

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