Rogers' homer, run production not enough in late innings

June 30th, 2024

ANAHEIM -- The Tigers needed production at the plate badly. Losers of their last three games and having already dropped the first two of their series against the Angels, in which they had gone 6-for-58 (.103) at the plate, Detroit couldn’t afford another no-show offensively.

While they got off to a fast start on Saturday and led by as many as three runs as late as the seventh inning, it still wasn’t enough to get the win. They fell 6-5 at Angel Stadium on Saturday.

“It was big for us to take the lead," manager A.J. Hinch said. "Obviously, we wanted to get a little bit greedy in the first, but we only scored one. I liked the way we started this game better. We put up some good at-bats, it just wasn’t enough.”

The top of the order set the tone with a leadoff single by Wenceel Pérez, followed by Riley Greene reaching first base on an error and another single from Matt Vierling to load the bases with no outs. Colt Keith grounded out into a fielder’s choice a couple of batters later, but got the RBI as Pérez came in to score to give the Tigers an early 1-0 lead, their first of the series.

The early run support was crucial for starter Reese Olson, who fanned a career-high nine batters and held the Halos to just two runs on five hits in six innings. After giving up the two runs in the third, Detroit wasted no time responding in the very next half inning when Keith and Gio Urshela scored on a fielder’s choice from Zach McKinstry and sac fly from , respectively, to re-take the lead at 3-2.

Rogers had the big swing of the game for the Tigers in another at-bat, two innings later, a 443-foot moonshot to left-center field, the longest of his career, putting Detroit up 5-2.

“We hadn’t been able to get the big hit at the big moment to create multiple runs. We did that,” Hinch said. “But [the Angels] were able to respond and have some pretty big innings of their own late in the game.”

The Angels counter-punched the Tigers with a rally in the bottom of the seventh to bring them within a run. Then on the first pitch of the bottom of the eighth, Logan O’Hoppe tied it with a solo homer.

The Tigers' offense tried to respond, but it seemed like the Angels made the right play every single time. Greene was caught stealing on a prime Javy Báez-esque tag by Luis Guillorme for the third out in the top of the ninth. In the 10th, Keith hit a ground ball to short that looked destined to be a two-out RBI single to give them the lead. But instead, Zach Neto was right there to field it with a smooth backhand and throw Keith out.

“He did that a couple times with some good throws. They’re big-time plays,” Hinch said. “Obviously, in close games, all of it really matters.”

The Tigers were 7-for-36 (.194) on Saturday. Not great, but better than both of the first two games of this series combined. They lost their fourth consecutive game, and will now try to avoid the sweep on Sunday.

“You never have it until you finish it. You got to finish the game,” Hinch said. “Credit to them of course, because they did that against some really good relievers … but yeah, it’s tough to start the road trip this way.”