MINNEAPOLIS -- Ron Gardenhire's influence in his first season as Tigers manager has been noted for his team's enthusiasm in the dugout and refusal to feel out of a game. Tuesday, he admitted, was one notable exception.As Gardenhire sat on the dugout bench, trying to figure out how to mix
MINNEAPOLIS -- Ron Gardenhire's influence in his first season as Tigers manager has been noted for his team's enthusiasm in the dugout and refusal to feel out of a game. Tuesday, he admitted, was one notable exception.
As Gardenhire sat on the dugout bench, trying to figure out how to mix and match relievers to cover innings following Matthew Boyd's fifth-inning exit with a left oblique spasm, he noted the change in tone as the Twins pulled away for a 6-0 Detroit defeat. It marked the Tigers' fifth straight loss, and their fourth straight game with two runs or less.
They don't expect to lose Boyd for long, if it all. If anything, Gardenhire pulled Boyd to prevent a more serious injury. But he doesn't expect another listless dugout, either.
"There wasn't as much enthusiasm on the bench, and that's my fault," Gardenhire said. "I was kind of sitting there, trying to figure out how we were going to get through it. I told those guys tonight, 'We'll bring it tomorrow. You won't have me sitting around tomorrow. I'll be up there.' We just all have to pick it up."
Boyd (2-4) has been the Tigers' most effective starter so far this season and allowed a lone hit through four-plus innings Tuesday, but his command appeared to be off, walking the leadoff batter in three consecutive innings. His slider, a devastating pitch for him at times this season, didn't have the same movement, catcher James McCann noted.
Boyd threw 20 sliders out of 61 total pitches, according to Statcast™, but induced one swing-and-miss with it and just two called strikes. Twins batters put six of them in play, but nothing with an exit velocity over 90 mph.
"I don't think he was getting through pitches quite like he has in the past," McCann said. "Heck, he still went four shutout on one hit, but four walks, that's not who he's been this year. Obviously something was bothering him."
Boyd, however, said his oblique didn't act up until he went back out for the fifth inning.
"In between innings, I felt a little spasm," said Boyd, who compared it to a twitch. "I wasn't getting through at the end there. I didn't really feel anything outside of the spasm."
Boyd walked Minnesota's first two batters in the fifth before pitching coach Chris Bosio made a mound visit, noticed something was off and called for Gardenhire, who made the change.
"We said, 'No way we're going to leave you out here,'" Gardenhire said. "Let's get him off the field and see how sore he is tomorrow, but I think it's just a spasm. That's what everybody said and that's what he said. We just had to battle through to try to get through the rest of it."
Two run-scoring doubles off reliever Warwick Saupold, including a two-run liner by James Dozier to the right-field wall, put the Twins in command. Dozier doubled in another tally in a three-run eighth off Buck Farmer to put the game away.
The Tigers' lineup struggled to do much against Lynn (2-4), whose methodical work with runners on base kept Detroit stymied for 6 2/3 scoreless innings. JaCoby Jones' second-inning double marked the Tigers' lone extra-base hit mixed in among four singles against the right-hander. Lynn stranded runners at second and third with a Jose Iglesias first-pitch flyout following Jones' double in the second, then Thomas Pressly struck out pinch-hitter Michael Mahtook with two on and the tying run at the plate in the seventh.
"Lynn, he didn't give us anything," Gardenhire said. "We didn't hit the ball very much, didn't put anything on the board."
Short-term, it was ugly. But both Gardenhire and Boyd believe he'll likely make his next turn in the rotation, though the Tigers could use Thursday's off-day to give him up to six days' rest. As for their current funk, they'll hope for better life Wednesday.
The Tigers were shut out for the seventh time this season, most in the American League and tied for second-most in the Majors, one behind the Brewers.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
The Twins could've had a bigger fifth inning, but Jones halted the damage with an acrobatic catch. Robbie Grossman's drive to left with a 99.8-mph exit velocity turned Jones around, but he recovered in time to make a leaping grab.
"I had a pretty good jump on it, but these lights are pretty tough," Jones said. "It kind of got in the lights a little bit, but luckily I was able to pick it out of the lights and make a good play on it. That's my job."
HE SAID IT
"Losing causes frustration, whether you're losing by one run or you're losing by 20 runs. No one shows up to lose. Of course it gets frustrating. We've had plenty of games where we've had the same amount or even more hits than the other team, and we just don't seem to come up with the big hit right now in RBI situations. All teams go through it at some point during the year. It's how quickly can you come out of it." -- McCann, on Tigers' losing streak
Michael Fulmer (1-3, 4.35), who made his Major League debut against the Twins at Target Field two years ago, will try to improve to 4-0 against Minnesota as the series concludes Wednesday with a 1:10 p.m. ET matinee. Fulmer is winless in seven starts since beating the White Sox on April 7, including a no-decision from 6 1/3 quality innings last Friday in Seattle. Kyle Gibson will start for the Twins.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.