Apr 13, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres first basemanYonder Alonso
(23) celebrates after scoring during the fourth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
The Detroit Tigers had to like their chances at winning the rubber match of a three-game series at Petco Park on Sunday as they were throwing the reigning AL Cy Young winner up against the light-hitting San Diego Padres. The Tigers bats, which came to life a little more on Saturday after being one-hit in the series opener on Friday, had to like their match-up with Tyson Ross, who had been been battered in his appearances in 2014.
As is often the case in baseball, the opposite happened and San Diego upended Detroit, 5-1 to win the series. With the loss, the Tigers finish up a slightly disappointing Southern California trip at 2-3 and suffer their first series defeat of the season.
Max allowed a long homer to Jedd Gyorko in the second inning, the first of the season for the second basemen. Detroit tied the score in the top of the fourth when Torii Hunter doubled, moved to third on a long fly ball out to the warning track for Miguel Cabrera, and scored on a Victor Martinez base hit.
With the score tied in the bottom of the fourth, Scherzer struggled with his command and walked the first two men he faced. Each came around to score on a Will Venable double. Ross helped out his own effort by slicing an RBI base hit past shortstop Alex Gonzalez, to make it 4-1 Padres.
Max had an odd day. He struck out 10 guys (the most strikeouts ever for a Tigers’ pitcher in five innings of work) and walked three, two of which scored. Although he allowed only four hits, three of them yielded RBIs. Ross allowed a lot of traffic on the bases, but limited the damage with the help of some sparkling defense behind him.
The Tigers wasted a couple good opportunities to score runs, having two on, two out in the third and fifth innings, but couldn’t make anything happen. Detroit also put two on with two out in the ninth inning before Rajai Davis grounded out to third base.
- The Tigers had never previously lost a series to the Padres. They faced them in 2008 in San Diego (2-1), 2005 in Detroit (3-0), 2003 in San Diego (2-1), and of course the 1984 World Series (4-1).
- Phil Coke pitched a perfect seventh inning, but had several hard hit fly balls tracked down by the outfielders. Meanwhile the other major bullpen concern, Joba Chamberlain, fanned the first two batters he faced before allowing a sharp base hit up the middle. He got out of the eighth inning with no further damage.
- Rajai Davis‘ two hits in the game extended his hitting streak to seven games.
- San Diego’s Xavier Nady is hitting .167 on the season, notching just two hits in 12 at-bats. Both of his hits have been homers, including a solo shot off Ian Krol to pad the Padres lead in the seventh inning.
- After a great day at the plate for a Tigers’ pitcher in Justin Verlander on Saturday, Scherzer made a bid for a hit in the fifth, but a diving stop by Gyorko stole the hit away.
- Former Tiger Joaquin Benoit (2011-13) pitched against the heart of the Tigers’ order in the eighth inning. He struggled with his command against the first two-hitters, walking Hunter, but induced Cabrera into a double play and Martinez to ground out.
The Tigers have yet another off-day on Monday before coming home to host a 10-game home stand against the Indians, White Sox, and Angels. First up will be the Indians for three games beginning Tuesday. It will be the first night game of 2014 at Comerica Park.