"Sonny Gray's a pretty good pitcher," manager Brad Ausmus said, "and we couldn't do anything against him tonight."
Even if the Tigers had entered the night on a tear, that might have been the case.
Gray's eight scoreless innings left the Tigers on the brink of a third shutout in 10 days, and a crowd of 30,718 at Comerica Park in mostly quiet conversation.
Miguel Cabrera just missed clearing the center-field wall in the ninth inning, but the double was enough to score Jose Iglesias for Detroit's first run in 13 innings. The crowd that was left provided by far the loudest cheer of the night.
One fan yelled out, "Thank you, Miggy!"
Cabrera wasn't all that consoled by avoiding the shutout.
"It's very tough, very tough," Cabrera said. "Losing is no fun at all. We've gotta go out there and have fun. It's the only way we can get out of this. I don't care what people say. We have to go out there and play baseball. It's still a long season, and we have enough to go out there and compete. Forget about what people say. Go out there, have fun and play baseball.
"I think that's the way we can get out of this: Relax and have fun."
Cabrera, not surprisingly, has been the most consistent hitter through the struggles. He has reached base in 22 consecutive games, the longest current streak in the Majors, batting .338 (27-for-80) with five homers, five doubles, 13 runs scored and 14 RBIs in that stretch.
He can only do so much. And as much as Victor Martinez struggled at the plate against right-handed pitchers before going on the disabled list two weeks ago, the Tigers are struggling to replace his presence in the lineup.
Even so, they're a better offensive team than this. They went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position Wednesday, and are now 6-for-54 in that category over their last nine games, part of the reason why the offense has scored 18 runs in that span. Detroit hit into its league-leading 55th double play of the year to erase another chance Wednesday.
Ian Kinsler, who moved to the fifth spot in the batting order on Tuesday, is 5-for-53 over his last 14 games. Cleanup man Yoenis Cespedes is 17-for-52, but has just five RBIs with limited opportunities to plate runners.
"We are just trying to grind through it," said J.D. Martinez, whose breakout last week has been halted by an 0-for-8 series. "We've got a lot of guys who can hit on this team. We are just going through this thing right now. We have to keep battling. Tomorrow is a new day."