Things were going great for Marlins left-hander Adam Conley, who tied a career high on Tuesday with nine strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings, on exactly 70 pitches.
In the span of 22 pitches — and zero outs — Conley’s night went from great to mostly forgettable, as the Tigers went on to win 7-5.
“It just shows you how hard the game is and how fast it can change,” he said. “In that fifth inning, you go through four or five hitters, a walk there, a homer. It just shows you how fast that game can snowball.”
Jose Iglesias put the Tigers on the board with a two-run shot with one out in the bottom of the fifth. He hit a no-doubter 392 feet to left field. It was his third homer of the year.
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Conley joins Nationals starter Max Scherzer and White Sox ace Chris Sale as the only pitchers Iglesias has hit home runs off of this season.
“The pitch to Iglesias was not a very good fastball and it just wasn’t executed,” Conley said. “He did his job in there.”
The Tigers took the lead three batters later, on a three-run home run from Cabrera — his 17th of the season, and his only hit of the night. Nick Castellanos added to the Tigers’ lead two batters later, on a two-run shot over the wall in center — which went off Ozuna’s glove.
Cabrera’s home run was his first extra-base-hit against the Marlins, who signed him as an amateur free agent in 1999. Cabrera was 7-for-16 going into the game — all singles.
“It looked like he was missing his location for the most part,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of his starter. “They started laying off the breaking ball and he seemed to be wanting to go back to it, and he got away from his fastball it looked like to me a little bit.”
Conley struck out Detroit’s first six batters on Tuesday, much like his last outing against the Tigers — a spring training game that was rained out after two innings in March.
“He struck out six straight batters, then it got rained out,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “He picked up right where he left off.”
After Marcell Ozuna singled to start the second inning, Giancarlo Stanton crushed a 2-1 pitch from Mike Pelfrey 420 feet to dead center field, giving the Marlins a 2-0 lead.
Conley had eight of his nine strikeouts after three. He is only the third pitcher this season to strike out eight in three innings, joining Scherzer (two) and Cubs righty Jake Arrieta.
“At the beginning of the game, pretty much all my stuff was working,” Conley said. “I was able to do with my pitches mostly what I wanted to. There was a lot of execution, a lot of first pitch strikes and just kind of setting them up for some things.”
Stanton drove in another run with two outs in the top of the fifth, on a single that scored Christian Yelich. Stanton took second on a fielding error by Tigers right fielder Mike Aviles.
Right fielder Ichiro Suzuki had two hits, moving him to 2,986 — 14 shy of 3,000.
The two teams finish the short two-game series tomorrow. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. The Marlins send right-hander Tom Koehler (6-6, 4.07 ERA), while the Tigers counter with lefty Daniel Norris (0-0, 4.50 ERA).