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Harold Castro’s late homer powers Detroit Tigers to 3-2 win at Tampa Bay Rays

By DICK SCANLON

Associated Press

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, fanning 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.