The Detroit Tigers were looking to avoid a humiliating and rare four-game series sweep when they wrapped up their west coast trip on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball against the Los Angeles Angels. They could not avoid it and lost 4-2 on a bottom of the eighth inning infield single that scored two runs.
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Having gone 2-14 in their previous 16 games, and starting the series Thursday night against the sub-.500 Angels, the Tigers continued their Angels demons in the series and did not have a lead in the series until James McCann flied out to center to bring home J.D. Martinez on a sacrifice fly to make it 1-0 in the second inning in Sunday night’s game.
David Price started for the Tigers and pitched well early, not allowing a hit until the fourth inning, but he started to falter a bit in the fifth inning when he allowed a couple of hits from Erick Aybar and Mike Trout to score two to allow LA to claim a 2-1 lead.
If 2-1 sounds familiar, it is the exact score the Tigers lost their two previous Sunday Night Baseball games, to the Kansas City Royals on May 10 and St. Louis Cardinals on May 17. They ensured it would not be a 2-1 final when Miguel Cabrera scored from second base (while taking third) when second basemen Johnny Giavotella airmailed the ball over Grant Green at first base in the top of the sixth.
One inning later, the Tigers had a huge opportunity to take the lead again, but once again their punchless offense betrayed them. Jose Iglesias led off with a single and was sacrificed over to second by Andrew Romine. Anthony Gose grounded out and back-to-back walks were issued to Ian Kinsler and Miguel Cabrera, which set the scene for Yoenis Cespedes who flew out to right field. Just another missed opportunity in a big moment for Cespedes.
With Price clearly fatigued, Brad Ausmus chose to keep his starter in the game where he gave up a walk and single to lead off the eighth inning (though the single should have been a throwing error on third baseman Andrew Romine). After a sacrifice bunt and intentional walk, Price induced Carlos Perez to pop-up.
After 121 pitches, Ausmus removed Price for Joba Chamberlain who allowed Giavotella a ball to shoot up the middle. Ian Kinsler kept it in the field and threw to second, well short of the third out. Iglesias, covering second, fell to the ground and did not get up in time as two runs scored.
Chamberlain was not charged with either run, keeping his 1.29 ERA intact, but increasing his WHIP near 1.50. Price’s night was done after 7.2 innings, allowing eight hits and four runs, striking out six and walking four.
After a tough west coast road trip, in which they went 2-5, the Tigers will take a day off before beginning a brief three-game series at home against the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday. Alfredo Simon (5-2, 2.67) will return from bereavement leave to take on Kendall Graveman (2-2, 5.79). First pitch is set for 7:05.