Part of the trouble is the Tigers' penchant for hitting into double plays. They lead the Majors with 52 grounded into double plays and have at least one in each of their past 16 games.
Manufacturing a run is out of character for the Tigers. They'd prefer plenty of hits and a steady supply of power.
The Tigers manufactured a run against the A's on Tuesday night and made it stand thanks to David Price and the bullpen.
"We're trying to do some stuff to stay out of double plays that suck the wind out of you," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "When you start a guy, you hope to have at least a runner on second. Sure, there's an out, but it's not a double play."
Ausmus said there were a couple of missed signs on the bases and a couple of missed hit-and-run opportunities.
"We tried to do something to get it going, but it didn't really work tonight," he said. "I don't think we'll have to do it all season."