March 30, 2023 12:00 pm

Tork tears into 1st MLB HR during 1st multi-hit game

DETROIT — Spencer Torkelson sounded almost apologetic talking about his first Major League home run Wednesday.

“I kind of stood there and enjoyed it a little bit,” he said. “I didn’t mean to show up the pitcher or anything. I just knew I got it as soon as I hit it, so I just wanted to enjoy it.”

He didn’t stand at home plate and watch the 396-foot drive carry into the left-field seats, nor did he flip his bat. He took a few steps to get into his home-run trot, but that was about it. From there, he made his way around the bases with a smile on his face.

Still, with the Tigers trailing at the time, he was worried about the look.

“We were down a little bit and it wasn’t a huge home run,” he said. “But in my mind, I just wanted to soak in that moment and enjoy it, watching that ball go.”

He would’ve had that right in most any circumstance. After an 0-for-10 start to his career that ended with a single on Tuesday, and a spotlight on his first week as a Major Leaguer after opening the season as MLB Pipeline’s No. 4 prospect, he had every right to savor the first Major League Tork Bomb.

He could also appreciate the rally it arguably helped ignite. The Tigers had a seven-run deficit before his two-run homer. Once he stepped to the plate again an inning later, the potential tying run was waiting on deck after him.

Though the Tigers fell short in a 9-7 loss to the Red Sox that ended their season-opening homestand at 2-4, they provided a reminder why it’s too early to dismiss Detroit’s chances of taking the next step toward contention. They have a more balanced offense and, Cincinnati Bengals Jerseys   despite a near-constant rain that soaked the infield and the players alike as they labored to avoid a rain delay, they have a mentality that they’re not out of it.“The game could’ve gotten away from us pretty easily, but I saw some encouraging at-bats as the game progressed,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “Hopefully that carries over to the next series. I’m really proud of our guys for not giving at-bats away and just kind of getting to the next series. It was a good sign.”

Some of those at-bats came from Torkelson, who gave a glimpse into how he thinks and adjusts as a hitter, and why he tended to heat up quickly after an adjustment period at each Minor League level last year.

Torkelson hit one home run in Spring Training, but it came in an 11-pitch battle against Phillies All-Star Aaron Nola in one of the final games of Grapefruit League play. Once he’d seen every pitch Nola could offer him, he focused on what he could attack — then jumped on a Nola fastball on the 11th pitch that was nearly the same as the first pitch he saw.

Similarly, when Torkelson stepped to the plate against Red Sox reliever Austin Davis in the seventh inning Wednesday, he remembered his six-pitch battle with Davis in Monday’s series opener. He lined out to left field in that at-bat, but he saw what Davis could throw him and how he tried to pitch him inside.

“It does help seeing a guy twice,” Torkelson said. “I saw all of his pitches two days ago when I pinch-hit. I saw him well. I just missed a slider that got in on me.”

Torkelson had several long at-bats amidst his 0-for-10 start, taking pitches outside the strike zone and working counts instead of chasing. He was more aggressive on Wednesday, and the Red Sox were more aggressive pitching him in the zone.

“I was really hunting the fastball,” Torkelson said, “and when I’m doing that, I’m seeing the ball really well and I’m going to be aggressive in the zone.”

Davis threw Torkelson two fastballs in the seventh. San Francisco 49ers Jerseys The first was high and out of the strike zone. The second was at the top of the zone. Torkelson crushed it.

The ball landed in an empty section of left-field seats, behind the Tigers’ bullpen, before a young fan chased it down. Someone in the Tigers’ bullpen asked for it. The fan’s reaction, and Torkelson’s response, said about as much about him as his home-run reaction.“A fan got it, and it’s so awesome. He’s a great person,” Torkelson said. “The bullpen asked, ‘Hey, can we have that ball?’ And he was like, ‘Oh yeah, sure.’ And he just tossed the ball. And so, we brought him in the dugout and gave him a signed bat, batting gloves and a couple tickets from my debut, so I’m very thankful for him.”

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