Tigers look to bounce back after tough loss
CINCINNATI -- Joakim Soria couldn't remember an outcome like that.
"I don't know the last time somebody hit my curveball out of the ballpark," he said of Todd Frazier's walk-off grand slam in the Tigers' 8-4 extra-innings loss to the Reds on Wednesday night. "I trusted my pitch."
According to data from FanGraphs, Soria hadn't given up a homer off the curve since 2008, his second season in the big leagues. In a Wednesday night marathon that kept throwing curveballs to those who watched it, maybe it was fitting, even if the Tigers were too tired to deal with irony.
They've rolled on the momentum of Miguel Cabrera's home runs in the past. His go-ahead three-run shot on Wednesday, though, had barely landed in the right-field seats when the rain picked up at Great American Ball Park and brought out the tarp, starting an one-hour and 14-minute rain delay and knocking out David Price.
They got through the pitching duel portion of the game with a lead, but neither Price -- who battled the weather for five innings, sweating through multiple jerseys and struggling to grip the ball due to the humidity -- nor anyone could shut down the rain.
"You like your chances with Price out there for another few innings," manager Brad Ausmus said.
They got the lead back on their first pinch-hit homer of the season by Tyler Collins, then lost it on a single by Reds catcher Brayan Pena that bounced off the second-base bag as Jose Iglesias had lined it up to try to make a play.
"Iglesias said he thought he had a bead on that ball until it hit second base," manager Brad Ausmus said. "Sometimes it's better to be a little lucky."
Their bullpen became largely a mash-up of guys in differing roles once Price was done. For most extra-inning games, Alex Wilson would be the long guy. With a sixth-inning lead to protect, however, Ausmus used him to try to bridge the gap between Price and the late-inning relief corps.
Joba Chamberlain got a lead to protect, but lost it in part to a two-out double from the left-handed hitting Jay Bruce. Ausmus indicated he went with Chamberlain for the inning more than the matchups.
"I wanted Chamberlain for the eighth," he said.
Al Alburquerque covered two innings with the second 40-pitch outing of his career, and his first since 2011. Lefty Ian Krol took the loss in his longest Major League outing, throwing 39 pitches. Soria, whom Ausmus saved until the game was on the line, inherited a jam in a tie game instead of a save situation.
In the end, every position player played. Every pitcher pitched but the other four Tigers starters and lefty reliever Tom Gorzelanny. Wilson, Krol, Alburquerque and Chamberlain all pitched back-to-back days, leaving the Tigers' bullpen potentially short for Justin Verlander's second start of the season.
The last time the Tigers lost a marathon game, a 19-inning defeat at Toronto last August, the implications lingered for days. They don't expect a repeat.
"They'll be fine," Ausmus said. "Every game's a new game."
Soria said much the same.
"Thank God we have a night game," Soria said.