DETROIT -- Shohei Ohtani's first career start in Detroit was spoiled by two rain delays and a bullpen that faltered in the Angels' 6-1 loss to the Tigers at Comerica Park on Wednesday night.Ohtani was firing away when the skies opened and sent the game into a 23-minute rain delay
DETROIT -- Shohei Ohtani's first career start in Detroit was spoiled by two rain delays and a bullpen that faltered in the Angels' 6-1 loss to the Tigers at Comerica Park on Wednesday night.
Ohtani was firing away when the skies opened and sent the game into a 23-minute rain delay between the fourth and fifth innings. The span was short enough to allow Ohtani to return afterward and unleash a 101.1-mph fastball to Jeimer Candelario, the fastest pitch thrown by a starter this season, breaking his own record of 101 set on April 24.
More rain came, resulting this time in a 41-minute delay. That was too long for another return to the mound for Ohtani, who had yet to endure a rain delay while pitching.
"This is my first time experiencing something like this," Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara, "so I'm just going to take it as a learning experience for the future."
Ohtani had thrown five innings of one-run ball at that point. His only blemish came in the first inning, when he walked two batters and allowed an RBI single to Niko Goodrum. Most notably missing from the inning was the velocity Ohtani usually brings.
Ohtani said he may have been fooled by the humidity before the game by believing he had warmed up enough to take the mound.
"I thought I was ready physically because of the amount of sweat, but I guess I wasn't ready," he said. "When I saw 91 on the board, I haven't thrown 91 on my fastball since high school, so I knew there was something wrong there."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia noticed the same thing from his two-way star, who hadn't pitched since May 20.
"As the game went on, you saw the velocity, you saw the crispness of his pitches," Scioscia said. "He pitched a great game. It's a shame we had those rain delays, because he would've been able to keep going, and given us a chance to win for sure."
Both teams went to their bullpens after the second delay. The Tigers' Louis Coleman backed up starter Mike Fiers with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless work, but the Angels immediately struggled with Cam Bedrosian and Jim Johnson, who combined to allow five runs in the decisive sixth frame.
The first three batters of the inning reached on Bedrosian, who allowed a two-run single to Jose Iglesias and was charged with four runs. Johnson took over with one out and allowed two more RBI singles and a fielder's choice that allowed a run to score when Andrelton Simmons' throw was late to the plate.
Just as the humidity had fooled Ohtani before the game, it also was partially to blame for Bedrosian's outing too, the reliever noticed.
"No matter what I did, I just couldn't get a grip on the breaking balls," said Bedrosian, who entered the game having not allowed a run in his last four appearances.
"When he's in trouble, he's just trying to scratch and claw to get back into counts," Scioscia said. "His command gets a little fuzzy. He gives these guys a lot of good looks, and he's gotta be really fine with his pitches when you're constantly trying to get back into counts."
The 6-1 lead was plenty of room for the Tigers to work with. The Angels have now been held to three runs or fewer in two of their first three games in Detroit, with their lone run Wednesday coming in the form of a run-scoring single from Jose Pujols in the third inning.
Ian Kinsler went 2-for-3 with a double to up his batting average to .600 (6-for-10) for the series. He entered the four-game stretch against his old team hitting .178 (27-for-152).
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
As the Angels weathered a rocky sixth, Tigers slugger Victor Martinez came to the plate with two outs and runners on first and third. Martinez, who began the inning with a single, popped up a ball high into the air in shallow left. It was too far away for left fielder Justin Upton to make a play, but shortstop Andrelton Simmons dashed 85 feet to make a diving catch and end the inning. Statcast™ tracked his sprint speed at 29.4 feet per second.
HE SAID IT
"I had a duck as a pet growing up, and he was always running around when we were playing … ball in the backyard. They're a beautiful animal. It looked like me trying to get off the ground with the wings for a while. He had about six inches of altitude, but he finally got up." -- Scioscia, after seeing the on-field attempts to corral a Canada goose during the second rain delay
The Angels finish their four-game series vs. the Tigers on Thursday with a 10:10 a.m. PT first pitch at Comerica Park. It is the final game of the Angels' 10-game road swing. The Halos will send Andrew Heaney (2-3, 3.09 ERA) to the mound as he looks to back up his 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball on Friday vs. the Yankees. The Tigers will start Ryan Carpenter (0-1, 8.31), who's filling in for the injured Francisco Liriano.
Tyler Fenwick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit.