ANAHEIM -- The last time the Tigers faced the Angels, a goose wandered onto the field at Comerica Park during a rain delay, and its wayward exit created a symbol for Tigers comebacks.
The Rally Goose craze happened just over two months ago. It only feels like it's longer. The way the Tigers are searching for runs nowadays, including Monday's 6-2 loss to the Angels, they'd gladly take a flashback.
They're going to have to be their own rally symbol now.
"No one's going to give you anything," catcher James McCann said. "When you're going through a tough stretch like this, you're going to have to find a way to manufacture runs. You have to get guys on, you have to get them over and you have to get them in. And that becomes contagious."
When Nicholas Castellanos sent a full-count fastball from Nick Tropeano high off the right-field wall for a first-inning solo homer, the Tigers were hoping the strain would spread. After the A's held Detroit to a lone run, unearned, over 31 innings in a weekend sweep in Oakland, it felt like a spark.
When Cam Bedrosian used four consecutive sliders to set up Castellanos for a similar fastball for a called third strike with the bases loaded and nobody out in the sixth, the spark was instead a weight. Castellanos was trying to avoid the trap of chasing a pitch out of the zone like in recent games, and it left him frozen when Bedrosian attacked him.
"I think he's trying to be a little more selective," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I don't think he's trying to carry anything. I think he feels it, though. He feels like he's the leader out there, and I think he does feel it, but I don't think he's trying to carry. He just wants to do well, like everybody else out there."
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Five pitches later, with bases still loaded and one out, Bedrosian used a slider at the knees to induce a ground ball from Jeimer Candelario. The ball had a 95 mph exit velocity, but Andrelton Simmons didn't have to range far to begin an inning-ending double play that proved soul-crushing for the Tigers.
"Believe me, these guys are frustrated. I know they are," Gardenhire said. "They don't like this any more than anybody else. But if you put more pressure on yourself, it's not going to get better. We have to relax and go play."
It's easier said than done in a stretch like this. The at-bats were better, the plate discipline more refined, but the results barely changed, from the lost opportunity in the sixth to Eric Young making a flying catch to rob Jose Iglesias of a potential RBI double in the eighth.
By that point, the Angels had pulled in front with the long ball off Matthew Boyd (6-10), whose nasty slider left hitters waiting for fastball situations to swing. After three consecutive second-inning hits off fastballs tied the game, Simmons turned on a 2-0 high fastball and sent it into the left-field corner for his seventh home run of the season and a 3-1 lead. Young worked a 3-1 count for a similar pitch and a homer leading off the fifth.
Boyd induced seven swing-and-misses on 24 sliders, but yielded 10 balls in play off 51 two- and four-seam fastballs, with an average exit velocity just shy of 92 mph, according to Statcast™. He gave up two homers in a game for just the third time in 22 starts this season.
"The only time I got hurt was when I didn't locate my fastball," Boyd said. "It wasn't as good as it has been. The other stuff was good. Unfortunately, those runs were the difference."
The Tigers fell to 8-7 in games in which Castellanos homers. He hadn't homered since July 7 in a win over the Rangers at Comerica Park.
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Both Victor Reyes and Mike Gerber cover a lot of outfield territory, so it shouldn't be a surprise that they could cross paths when playing next to each other. That was the case in the third inning, when Kole Calhoun's drive to deep left-center field sent Gerber flying from his post in center as Reyes tried to do the same from left. Reyes pulled up at the last minute but couldn't avoid Gerber, who sideswiped him and tumbled onto the warning track but held on for a highlight catch.
Six years after Jacob Turner made his last start as a Tiger, the former first-round pick returns to his old club Tuesday, stepping into Mike Fiers' former rotation slot to face the Angels in a 10:07 p.m. ET start in Anaheim. Andrew Heaney (6-7, 3.75), whom the Tigers roughed up in May at Comerica Park, starts for the Angels.