Tigers commit six errors in sloppy loss to Halos
Cabrera hits 21st homer; Angels plate eight runs in fifth
DETROIT -- Unlike in April, Rick Porcello's rematch against the Angels did not end in the first inning. This was a long, drawn-out drubbing they put on him and the Tigers.
Once the Angels chased Porcello in the fifth inning, the damage looked similar, as did the defensive struggles behind him. And the Angels were just halfway done.
By the time Tuesday's 14-8 loss was final, four hours and three minutes after Porcello's first pitch, the Tigers had allowed their highest run total since July 2, 2011, and posted their first six-error game in 31 years. They also had their fourth loss in as many games to the Angels this year by a combined 36-12 margin.
Miguel Cabrera's 21st home run of the year for a brief lead was a distant memory, as was his brief staredown with C.J. Wilson.
"The weather was miserable," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said, "and we had a miserable night."
Porcello, on the other hand, was struggling to figure out what happened -- not so much against the Angels as his last two starts.
"Tonight, there's definitely some things to be had, some things to learn from," Porcello said. "The past few starts, I've been getting beat with fastballs up in the strike zone, so obviously there's a little something that's off. I took a look at it when I came out of the game, and there are some adjustments that I need to make.
"The biggest thing, though, is mentally bear down with two strikes against those guys. A big inning starts with a couple hits, and those could have been easily avoided tonight."
This was supposed to be the chance for Porcello to avenge the first-inning drubbing the Angels handed him April 20 in Anaheim. Porcello suffered the misfortune that afternoon of three infield singles and three more ground balls before Mike Trout's grand slam on a hanging curveball chased him with two outs in the first.
Porcello went 4-1 with a 2.63 ERA in his next nine starts after that outing, making it more of an anomaly in a potential breakout season, before the Orioles put up six runs in as many innings against him last Wednesday.
Porcello needed just nine pitches Tuesday to outlast his previous meeting with the Halos, retiring the side in order in the opening inning. A 31-pitch second inning, albeit a scoreless one, raised more concerns.
"The first time around this year, I think it was just a combination of a lot of freak things, and a couple of bad pitches," Porcello said. "But tonight was just me. I was off and it just happened to be against the same team. If I make good pitches, I'm getting those guys out for sure, but I just didn't make good pitches tonight."
The missing factor from Porcello's April outing with the Angels, besides a big out from his defense, was the curveball, a pitch that became more effective in the outings since. Time and again Tuesday, he tried to get that going, starting off several hitters with it the second and third trips through the batting order.
The results of those pitches were mixed. The results, overall, were anything but.
"The offspeed stuff wasn't as good as it has been and I've got to get back to getting the ball down in the zone," Porcello said. "That was the biggest thing, it's just elevated, leaving pitches out over the plate."
Six consecutive Angels hitters reached base safely in a 12-batter fifth. The only out in a 10-batter span that required three different pitchers was an Erick Aybar sacrifice fly.
Porcello threw strikes, except for an intentional walk to his final hitter, and the Angels sent them into the outfield. A 2-2 changeup to Albert Pujols went for the double that started it all. Fastballs to Mark Trumbo and Howie Kendrick went for singles. A curveball to Josh Hamilton ended up being his second hit on an 0-2 count in as many innings.
"Just a rough outing and a rough night, and that's one of those where you just turn the page," Leyland said.
Leyland pulled Porcello with the bases loaded and one out, handing the ball to Darin Downs with a 4-2 deficit. Downs had stranded nine consecutive runners since May 1. A Hank Conger bases-loaded walk, Aybar sac fly and J.B. Shuck RBI single later, all three runners were in, and the game was blown open.
"Downsie looked like he was a little dead-armed," Leyland said.
Porcello gave up seven runs on 10 hits over 4 1/3 innings, bumping his damage against the Angels to 16 runs on 19 hits over five innings. He owns a 3.70 ERA against every other opponent this year.
The Tigers added three runs in the bottom of the inning against Wilson, two on a Victor Martinez two-out single after a Prince Fielder RBI double. By that point, the Tigers' best chance at avoiding a defeat was a rainout, and the storm that passed through wasn't heavy enough for that.
"We're just trying to get as many wins as we can," Wilson said. "That's really all there is to it. It's so deep in the season now. I don't care if we win in 16 innings and they're all unearned runs or whatever."
Not since Sept. 11, 1982, had the Tigers committed six errors in a game. Two errors went to Evan Reed, who followed his errant pickoff throw by missing first base on a grounder to Fielder, and Cabrera, who made two errant throws to first. The half-dozen miscues marked the highest total in the Majors since the Pirates committed seven errors Sept. 7, 2012, against the Cubs.
"We hit the ball and we did what we had to do, but they outscored us. This is baseball," Torii Hunter said. "We'll just chalk this up as a loss -- as a beatdown, actually -- and come back ready to go tomorrow."