DETROIT -- The Tigers have made their brand this season by seemingly never being out of a game. The way Trevor Bauer pitched on Wednesday put them about as close to out of a game as they've been in a while.Hours after the Tigers erased a big deficit with a
DETROIT -- The Tigers have made their brand this season by seemingly never being out of a game. The way Trevor Bauer pitched on Wednesday put them about as close to out of a game as they've been in a while.
Hours after the Tigers erased a big deficit with a five-run seventh inning, John Hicks -- who scored a run and drove in the go-ahead tally Tuesday -- summed up the day for the Tigers' offense in a 6-0 loss to Bauer and the Indians.
"He threw one at my face," Hicks said of the fastball, "and then he threw me a slider away. That was kind of the strikeouts. He threw one that kind of brushed me off and then went away. As a hitter with two strikes, when you have one come at your face, you can't really look for that pitch down and away."
It was a tip of the cap from the Tigers to Bauer after Wednesday's shutout loss. Detroit hitters haven't had to do it often this year, but with eight shutout innings and 10 strikeouts from Bauer, this was one.
The Tigers still took the series from a team that had beaten them in their last 11 meetings beforehand. Detroit also finished off a 4-2 homestand against the Indians and Mariners. The Tigers reinforced the belief that they can compete with anybody, including the two-time defending American League Central champions. But they couldn't compete with Bauer on this day. The wins earlier in the homestand made Wednesday slightly easier to endure.
"We've had some pretty good ballgames," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We've played well here, which is what you want to do. We're a little beat up right now."
Bauer has a mixed history against Detroit. He tossed seven innings of two-run ball with seven strikeouts against the Tigers in Cleveland last month, but allowed four runs over four tumultuous innings at Comerica Park last year. Once he spotted a 96-mph fastball on the outside corner to strike out Niko Goodrum leading off the second inning, however, the Tigers' recent run of late-inning comebacks was at risk.
Bauer (3-3) retired 12 consecutive Tigers before Goodrum singled to lead off the fifth inning. Detroit's only runner to reach scoring position against Bauer was Grayson Greiner, who doubled off the out-of-town scoreboard leading off the sixth. He reached third base, but Bauer stranded him with strikeouts of Victor Reyes and Pete Kozma.
"He worked quick, obviously has good life on his heater, good ride on it," outfielder Michael Mahtook said. "He was throwing his offspeed pitches for strikes and he was throwing it for chase pitches. He threw well."
By that point, Bauer had a comfortable lead to protect with six runs off Ryan Carpenter, who stepped in for a spot assignment. Rajai Davis and Michael Brantley singled and scored in the opening inning before three consecutive two-out hits fueled a three-run fourth. Brantley's sixth home run of the year punctuated the damage to lead off the fifth inning. Artie Lewicki spared Detroit's bullpen with four scoreless innings and four strikeouts, mixing in his breaking ball better than he had in previous Detroit stints.
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Error sets up opening inning: Cleveland's first two hitters singled, then a Carpenter throwing error helped the Tribe tack on its first run. Carpenter knocked down Jose Ramirez's comebacker but rushed his throw to first, sending it past Hicks and into foul territory. The error allowed Davis to score and Brantley to move from second to third base, setting up Francisco Lindor's sacrifice fly and a 2-0 Indians lead.
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Greiner's double extended his hitting streak to four games since being called up by the Tigers. It's the longest such streak by a Tiger to begin his big league career since Quintin Berry's six-game streak in 2012.
HE SAID IT
"It's an ongoing process. When you get up in the morning, you have to do it all over again. You have to figure out another way to play against a good team with another good pitcher going." -- Gardenhire, on the Tigers' mentality
The Tigers begin a seven-game road trip on Thursday with a 10:10 p.m. ET game in Seattle, where Matthew Boyd will start in his hometown for the first time in his big league career. He'll pitch opposite Mariners starter Marco Gonzales, son of former Tigers draft pick and Toledo Mud Hens pitcher Frank Gonzales, for the second time in six days.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.