"We just couldn't get the first out," Turner said after a seven-run opening inning sent the Tigers on their way to an 11-5 loss to the Angels Tuesday night. "Made a few pitches. They just kept stringing stuff together and keeping guys on base. When guys are on base, you have to really make pitches. Just couldn't get that first out."
He didn't get much help toward it.
"Believe me, it's not totally on him," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We missed plays. We threw the ball away a couple times. And he took the beating for it."
He wasn't being diplomatic. Though Shohei Ohtani took advantage of a 2-0 pitch over the plate and sent it 411 feet to left-center field for a three-run home run, one of those runs reached on an infield single when shortstop Jose Iglesias looped a throw to first that Justin Upton beat. After Ohtani cleared the bases, an Iglesias error began repopulating them, with back-to-back singles to right field loading them for a Kaleb Cowart run-scoring walk and Francisco Arcia two-run single.
A run-scoring double steal forced by Eric Young Jr. provided the exclamation point.
"Yeah, he made some bad pitches and they got him, started beating him around," Gardenhire continued. "But he still made enough pitches to get out of that inning without all that damage. But it just didn't work out. We played sloppy baseball tonight."
It wasn't the way Turner's return was hoped to go, sort of like his first stint in Detroit.
Once upon a time, the idea of the Tigers rebuilding their rotation around Turner seemed like a realistic possibility. The ninth overall selection in the 2009 MLB Draft made his Major League debut for the Tigers against the Angels in 2011, taking a loss but flashing the potential that had scouts and fans envisioning him alongside Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello. Detroit's trade for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante a year later changed those plans, sending Turner to Miami.
Six years and four organizations later, Turner donned the Old English D again thanks to another trade. Mike Fiers' trade to Oakland opened a rotation slot for Turner, signed earlier this summer to a Minor-League contract. When he took the mound Tuesday night, wearing his old number 50, he was still the youngest member of the Tigers rotation.
"I have a special place for Detroit. I've always felt that way," Turner said. "To be able to put that uniform back on was fun."
The 37 pitches that followed generally were not. His fastball looked familiar, topping out just shy of 97 mph, according to Statcast™. His secondary pitches produced one swing-and-miss and one called strike out of 17 pitches. Though half of the Angels hits were softly hit, with exit velocities under 80 mph, the damage built up.
"Like I said, just not getting the first out kind of snowballed it," Turner said.
The Angels' outburst nullified the two runs the Tigers produced in the top of the first inning. While the Tigers bullpen quieted the Angels, Detroit's offense perked up again to work their way back. Jeimer Candelario's two-run homer in the fifth diminished Detroit's deficit to 7-5, as the Tigers saddled Angels starter Andrew Heaney with five runs in as many innings for the second time this season. But former Tiger Upton's two-run homer in a three-run sixth inning off Drew VerHagen restored the Angels' cushion.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Young glove: The Tigers brought the potential tying run to the plate in the sixth inning against former Detroit reliever Jim Johnson, but Young produced his second diving catch in as many nights to kill the rally. One night after flying through the air to deny Iglesias a gapper in left-center, he did the same in right-center to retire James McCann, then threw out Ronny Rodriguez as he tried to scramble back to first.
"It was a heckuva play," Gardenhire said. "He made a bunch of them out there. That kid was running all over the place, making a lot of good plays."
SOUND SMART Turner became the first Tigers starter to give up seven or more runs in an inning or less since Porcello did it, also at Angel Stadium. Mike Trout's grand slam helped saddle Porcello with nine runs over two-thirds of an inning on April 20, 2013.
HE SAID IT "I don't even know where it's at." -- Gardenhire, when asked before Tuesday's game if he's on Twitter
UP NEXT Blaine Hardy, who took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning of his last start last Friday in Oakland, will try to pick up where he left off as the series against the Angels concludes with a 4:07 p.m. ET game Wednesday. Hardy (4-3, 3.25) has allowed one run on five hits over 12 innings in his last two outings. Jaime Barria (6-7, 3.84) starts for the Angels.