DETROIT -- For the second day in a row, it was just one bad inning that doomed the Angels in their four-game series against the Tigers at Comerica Park. This time it was a five-run first that lifted the Tigers to a 6-2 victory on Thursday, as they took three of four in the set.
Angels starter Andrew Heaney (2-4) retired the first batter of the inning but gave up back-to-back doubles to get the scoring started. Following two singles and a hit batter, the Tigers had the bases loaded for Victor Reyes, who hit a triple to left-center to highlight the early outburst.
"They came out and punched me right in the mouth," said Heaney, who saw his ERA rise to 3.66. "Just took me a bit to regain it and start making some better pitches. So credit goes to them. They were aggressive early and they know how I like to attack the strike zone. They put some really good swings on some balls."
In the three games the Angels dropped to Detroit this week, the Tigers had one four-run inning and two five-run innings.
"When you give up five runs that quick, it pretty much puts the game out of hand," said Heaney.
The Tigers batted around in the first inning and tallied five hits, including three extra-base hits.
"I think Andrew lived a little too much over the heart of the plate and missed with a couple pitches," said manager Mike Scioscia. "Still, he's really a pitch or two from getting out of that inning with just a run or two."
Heaney was able to settle in after the bumpy start. The first two batters of the second inning reached but didn't move as Heaney set down the next three batters. He ended up throwing five frames and only allowed three hits after the first. He also struck out three and walked one.
"Give those guys credit," said Scioscia. "They kept the inning going, got the big hit into left-center that cleared the bases. He settled in and went five innings, and that was important to us."
Whereas relievers spoiled Shohei Ohtani's start Wednesday night, they stepped in for Heaney and kept the Tigers' bats mostly tame. The Tigers scored in the sixth off Noe Ramirez when Reyes, who finished a home run short of the cycle, doubled and was plated on another double by Niko Goodrum.
As has become a theme for these Angels lately, runs were tough to come by on Thursday, which marked the ninth time in May that they've been held to fewer than three runs. The Angels got a run in the fifth when backup catcher Jose Briceno led off the inning with a home run, then again in the eighth when Michael Trout singled to right to score Ian Kinsler.
"We kept playing, but when those guys get a five-run lead, it kind of lets those guys work both sides of the plate, not worried about the one mistake," Scioscia said. "We weren't able to get too many good looks at those guys."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
When the Angels scored their first run of the game on Briceno's solo home run, Tigers starter Ryan Carpenter exited with a right oblique strain, providing the top of the Angels' order with the opportunity to rally against the Tigers' bullpen. But right-hander Warwick Saupold (3-1) retired Kinsler, Trout and Justin Upton in order to get out of the inning.
The lone bright spot for the Angels offensively this series was that Kinsler seemed to climb out of his slump by finishing 9-for-14, including 3-for-4 with a double and two singles on Thursday. Kinsler came into Detroit batting just .178, but he was able to raise his average to .217 with the big series.
"There's no doubt that Ian's seeing the ball better," said Scioscia, "and I think he's found his timing. Hopefully it'll be a sign of good things to come, because he's going to be important to us."
The Angels announced that right-handed reliever Blake Wood underwent successful Tommy John surgery and is expected to be out 12-14 months. Wood had a 2.31 ERA this season over 11 2/3 innings pitched.
The Angels return home for the first time since May 20 when they open a three-game series against the Rangers on Friday at 7:07 p.m. PT. The Angels will rely on right-hander Jaime Barria (4-1, 2.97 ERA), who has won three of his last four starts. The Rangers will go with 45-year-old Bartolo Colon (2-2, 3.55 ERA), who needs one more win to tie Juan Marichal for most by a pitcher from the D.R.