DETROIT -- Jordan Zimmermann knows that a glance at the box score of his latest start will show unimpressive numbers. But it took less than an inning for his strong start to turn sour in a 4-1 loss to the Indians on Saturday night in Game 2 of their doubleheader."Just
DETROIT -- Jordan Zimmermann knows that a glance at the box score of his latest start will show unimpressive numbers. But it took less than an inning for his strong start to turn sour in a 4-1 loss to the Indians on Saturday night in Game 2 of their doubleheader.
"Just a rough sixth inning there," said Zimmermann, who allowed four runs on five hits and a walk in 5 2/3 innings. "A bloop and a blast makes it look like I had a bad night."
Zimmermann was in control entering the sixth, having allowed just three baserunners (none of which advanced past first base) and holding a 1-0 lead. Despite generating just one swinging strike, according to Statcast™, he kept the Indians at bay with sharp sliders and well-located fastballs. Three of his four strikeouts through five innings came on called strikes.
The sixth inning started with a pair of hits from Roberto Perez and Jason Kipnis. Zimmermann said he'd been working the outer half of the plate on Perez, but when he tried to sneak a fastball inside, the Indians catcher shot it through the hole on the right side of the infield. Kipnis, who'd seen a steady diet of inside pitches from Zimmermann, then reached for a sinker tailing away and slapped it into left for a double to put two runners in scoring position.
Zimmermann appeared to take the sting out of the situation, striking out Francisco Lindor and holding Michael Brantley to an RBI groundout.
"It looked like he might've been able to get out of it with one run [allowed]," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.
But Edwin Encarnacion, on a full count, poked a bloop single to right as Kipnis scored the go-ahead run. It was a slider that jammed Encarnacion so much that the ball had pine tar all over it, Zimmermann said.
On the next pitch, the last of Zimmermann's night, Jose Ramirez cranked a homer a projected 415 feet, according to Statcast™. Zimmermann was trying to locate a fastball inside on the switch-hitting Ramirez, but instead the ball ran over the middle of the plate, and Ramirez hit his 10th homer from the left side this season.
The Tigers made little offensive noise in support of Zimmermann, but Ausmus credited the Indians' pitchers, namely starter Carlos Carrasco, for giving Detroit hitters a tough time.
For five innings, Zimmermann and Carrasco went back and forth in a 1-0 pitchers' duel. Then the Indians made Zimmermann pay for some misfortune and a mistake pitch to Ramirez, which made all the difference.
"You know when you go up against Carrasco, you could see a game like that," Ausmus said. "It's really the unfortunate truth. Zimm was matching him and even pitching a little bit better than him. Something gave in the sixth, and they were able to put four on the board."
Jordan Horrobin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit.