Rookie second baseman Kody Clemens hit a three-run home run in the sixth inning — the first long ball of his career — to lead the Detroit Tigers to a 6-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night at Chase Field in Phoenix.
The Tigers (28-43) have won two in a row and will try to sweep the Diamondbacks (32-41) in the series finale on Sunday.
The game was tied at 3 when the Diamondbacks turned to left-handed reliever Joe Mantiply, who came up in the Tigers system and made his MLB debut in Detroit in 2016.
Mantiply gave up a lead-off single to Harold Castro, his former longtime teammate at Double-A Erie, and then another single to Robbie Grossman.
Then Clemens — hitting just .117 in 34 career at-bats at that point — came to the plate. On paper, it was a lopsided matchup. Mantiply had a 0.34 ERA in 26 2/3 innings this year, hadn’t given up a homer since last June, hadn’t given up an extra-base hit all season and hadn’t given up a homer to a left-handed hitter like Clemens in his entire career.
But Clemens crushed a ball to deep right, giving the Tigers a lead they would never relinquish.
Tigers starter Alex Faedo allowed three runs in four innings, his third consecutive start in which he failed to go five.
But Tyler Alexander, Joe Jimenez, Michael Fulmer and Gregory Soto combined for five innings of scoreless relief, allowing just two hits.
Alexander was helped by a brilliant diving catch by center fielder Riley Greene in the sixth inning.
Miguel Cabrera singled in the seventh inning for his 3,053rd career hit, tying him with Rod Carew for 27th place on the all-time list.
Harold Castro had three hits, including a triple.
Jimenez struck out two batters, the eighth consecutive appearance in which he’s done so. That’s tied for the third-longest streak by a Tigers reliever since 1901.
The Tigers and D’backs wrap up their three-game series on Sunday at 4:10 p.m. Rookie right-hander Beau Brieske (1-6, 4.07 ERA) will start for Detroit. Arizona has not yet announced its starter.