Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Unfortunately for the Detroit Tigers and starter Drew Smyly, Smyly was unavailable to relieve himself from his terrible start against the Los Angeles Angels and the Tigers lost 11-6. In his first start of the season, Smyly got smashed by the Angels from the top of the order down through hitter number nine. He pitched three innings, throwing over 80 pitches, gave up six hits(five for extra bases, including a triple by Ian Stewart and Howie Kendrick‘s first two run home run of the night), four runs, and two walks while striking out two.
It certainly didn’t get any better for the Tigers when Luke Putkonen took the mound. Putkonen gave up doubles to Mike Trout(his second of the game) and Stewart, a home run to Kendrick, a walk and hit a batter before retiring the Angels in the fourth inning. He fared better in the fifth, retiring the side in order for the first time in the game. Returning to pitch the sixth, Putkonen gave up a double to Collin Cowgill and a walk to Trout before throwing a fastball right over the heart of the plate that Albert Pujols sent into the bullpen in left field. That was the end of Putkonen’s night, finishing with two innings pitched(not retiring a batter, though he faced three, in the sixth), seven hits, seven earned runs, two walks, a hit batter and one strike out. Ouch.
Justin Miller was called upon to try to staunch the bleeding and did an excellent job in his first Major League appearance retiring five consecutive batters before giving up a single to Stewart, who was a last minute line up addition and finished the game a home run shy of hitting for the cycle. Miller pitched two innings, gave up just one hit and had one strike out.
Phil Coke pitched a solid eighth inning for the Tigers, giving up a single to the smoking Kendrick, but closing the inning without allowing a run. He eliminated the runner Kendrick with a nice pick-off move that resulted in an out following a short run down.
Evan Reed was stellar once again and has yet to give up a run on the season. Reed pitched the ninth and sat the Angels in order. Once the horror show pitched by Smyly and Putkonen was over, the Tigers’ bullpen was strong, giving up only two hits after the sixth inning. On a possibly related note, after the top of the sixth inning, with a 10 run lead, Angel’s manager Mike Scoscia made the decision to pull both Trout and Pujols, replacing them with Raul Ibanez and former Tiger Brennan Boesch.
The Tigers’ offense was as quiet as the Angel’s was booming until the seventh inning. Save for an RBI single by Torii Hunter in the third that plated Andrew Romine, the Detroit bats were stymied by Jered Weaver‘s total lack of power(they were underpowered, maybe?). Tigers’ bats finally found some purchase against reliever Josh Wall. Alex Avila started the rally with a double to left field, followed by a walk to Romine, a single by Rajai Davis, and a two run single that sent Davis to third to put runners on the corners with no one out. Nick Castellanos made his first appearance of the evening pinch hitting for Torii Hunter and singling to score Davis and send Kinsler to third. Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez both followed with RBI groundouts, giving the Tigers five runs in the seventh and suddenly the idea of a comeback from 11-1 didn’t look so daunting.
The rally was not meant to be, though. With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Martinez and Jackson had back to back singles, but the game ended on a Don Kelly double play.