ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Harold Castro hit his first home run of the year with two outs in the ninth inning, a tiebreaking shot that sent the Detroit Tigers past the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 on Monday night for their season-best fourth straight victory.
“I know I’m not a home run hitter. I was just trying to make contact and get on base, but it’s amazing to help your team win,” Castro said.
He connected off Andrew Kittredge (3-1) for his first long ball since going deep in consecutive games against Oakland in early September last year.
“It wasn’t a terrible pitch by any means. A good piece of hitting,” Rays catcher Mike Zunino said. “He may have wanted to get it a little further in but ... you just have to tip your cap.”
The versatile Castro, who plays all over the field, had three home runs in 2021.
“You don’t see that out of Harold a lot, but ... Harold’s got power,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “He said last year, ‘I could hit a homer whenever I want to.' Looked like he wanted to.”
Michael Fulmer (2-2) got the win in relief and Gregory Soto pitched the ninth for his sixth save in seven tries.
Jonathan Schoop hit a two-run homer that put Tigers rookie Alex Faedo in position for his first major league win, but Brett Phillips helped the Rays erase their 2-0 deficit with a home run in the sixth and a leadoff double against Fulmer in the eighth.
Phillips scored on Wander Franco's sacrifice fly to tie it.
Faedo, a first-round draft choice in 2017 who did not pitch in 2020 or 2021 because of the pandemic and Tommy John surgery, tossed 5 2/3 innings in his third career start. He gave up one run and four hits, striking out four.
“I thought I commanded better,” Faedo said. “I know that one got away from me that Phillips hit a long way. But overall I definitely thought my execution was good and my misses weren’t over the heart of the plate, which is a huge thing.”
Schoop hit his third homer off Rays starter Corey Kluber, giving Detroit a 2-0 lead after Miguel Cabrera's leadoff single in the fourth.
Phillips had three of Tampa Bay's six hits from the No. 9 spot in the batting order. The home run was his third of the season.
“With (Brandon) Lowe and now Manny (Margot) out, we have to have guys step up, and we can’t always depend on doing it late,” Phillips said. “We've all got to step up with guys out, that’s just the reality of it. Good teams get production from 1 through 9.”
Kluber allowed two runs and four hits in six innings. He struck out eight, including five in a row.
Tigers: OF Austin Meadows (vertigo) and OF Victor Reyes (left quad strain) were placed on the 10-day injured list. OF Daz Cameron was recalled from Triple-A Toledo and will be in the lineup Tuesday. ... RHP Michael Pineda (fractured right middle finger) visited a doctor to determine a course of treatment. ... RHP Matt Manning (sore shoulder) will pitch for Toledo on a rehab assignment Wednesday.
Rays: 2B Brandon Lowe went on the IL with lower back discomfort. INF Isaac Paredes was recalled from Triple-A Durham.
FAEDO BACK HOME
It was an unforgettable start for Faedo, who pitched at Alonso High School in Tampa. His dad, Landy, coached Rays manager Kevin Cash at Gaither High School in Tampa.
“It was a dream come true, for sure. I’ve seen a ton of games here,” the 26-year-old right-hander said. “It's a really good ballclub over there, and I felt like I could hear the support of the crowd. It’s home, too, so it was a really special moment.”
RHP Bo Brieske (0-2, 3.86 ERA) makes his fifth start for the Tigers against LHP Shane McClanahan (2-2, 2.52) on Tuesday night.