Taiwanese infielder Chang Yu on Saturday made his major league pitching debut when he was pulled off third base in the bottom of the eighth to preserve the Tampa Bay Rays’ bullpen in their 9-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers.
Chang’s chance to take the mound came as the Tigers’ scoring was already out of hand for the Rays. Detroit mounted a rare offensive outburst, leading Rays manager Kevin Cash to preserve his pitchers by allowing Chang to throw an inning.
He retired Willi Castro on what the scoreboard called a 40mph curveball, but Detroit’s Jonathan Schoop hit the next pitch for a two-run homer.
“I asked him if he had ever pitched and he said he had,” Cash said. “I always appreciate it when one of our position players is willing to go out there and do that.”
The Tigers’ win ended a three-game skid with Harold Castro driving in two runs and scoring twice over All-Star Shane McClanahan and the Rays on Lou Whitaker Night.
Playing in front of their first sellout crowd since opening day, the Tigers won for the fifth time in 16 games on the night they retired Whitaker’s No. 1. Garrett Hill (2-3) picked up the win, allowing one run in 5-1/3 innings.
Photo: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY
“Lou spent some time in our clubhouse, talking to our players, and it was awesome to meet him,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “It was cool to come out of honoring him with that ceremony and follow it up with one of our best games of the season in front of one of our best crowds.”
McClanahan (10-5) gave up four runs on six hits in seven innings.
“It’s very frustrating, because I felt like I threw the ball a lot better than my numbers show,” he said. “All our guys are out there busting their butts and I can’t keep them in the game.”
Chang gave the Rays a 1-0 lead with a second-inning homer, but the Rays missed another opportunity in the fifth, making the Taiwanese’s score the only on the board for Tampa Bay.
The Tigers put the game away with a five-run seventh. Jonathan Schoop made it 3-1 with a sacrifice fly, ending McClanahan’s night, and Harold Castro added an RBI single off Jimmy Yacabonis. With two out, Yacabonis hit Riley Greene and Baez hit a two-run double to left.
“They put together some very good at-bats against Shane, and Jimmy looked like a guy who hadn’t pitched in a game for a while,” Cash said.
Miguel Cabrera then lined an RBI single to right — his 3,075th hit — before receiving a standing ovation, as he was replaced by pinch-runner Akil Baddoo.
Shortly after, Chang was called in to pitch.
In other games, it was:
‧ Mets 8, Braves 5
‧ Cubs 4, Marlins 0
‧ Mariners 2, Angels 1
‧ Orioles 6, Pirates 3
‧ Phillies 11, Nationals 5
‧ Guardians 4, Astros 1
‧ Rangers 8, White Sox 0
‧ Giants 7, Athletics 3
‧ Mets 6, Braves 2
‧ Twins 7, Blue Jays 3
‧ Royals 5, Red Sox 4
‧ Cardinals 1, Yankees 0
‧ Reds 7, Brewers 5
‧ Rockies 3, Diamondbacks 2
‧ Dodgers 8, Padres 3
‧ Angels 7, Mariners 1
Additional reporting by staff writer, with Reuters
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