Even reliable K-Rod falters on Tigers' tough night

June 14th, 2016

CHICAGO -- With two outs in the ninth inning Monday night, one of the best closers in baseball had White Sox right fielder Avisail Garcia down 0-2.

In a wild 10-9 loss to the White Sox, Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez couldn't finish the job.

Dealing with a rare lapse of command that plagued him throughout the ninth inning, Rodriguez missed for ball one with an inside fastball. Then he threw a changeup away, trying to get Garcia to chase. Another miss.

On the 2-2 pitch, Rodriguez threw a fastball out of the zone. That, Rodriguez said, is when he blew it.

With Rodriguez forced to throw to contact, Garcia fouled off a 3-2 curveball before taking a changeup over the plate into center field for a game-tying RBI single.

"I just got hit around," Rodriguez said. "Every pitch they hit was bad."

Rodriguez got J.B. Shuck to fly out and end the inning, but he gave up two runs in the ninth on three hits and two walks. It was his first blown save since Opening Day and ended a streak of 19 straight converted save opportunities, the sixth-longest streak of his career.

"He had an off night," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "He's been so good. The best closers in the game have an off night. He's one of the best and he had an off night. ... I'm not worried about K-Rod at all."

The Tigers had a chance to end it earlier in the inning when Todd Frazier hit a high-bouncing ball to shortstop that could have been a game-ending double play. Jose Iglesias tossed to Ian Kinsler at second, but Kinsler's hurried throw to first was wide and pulled first baseman Miguel Cabrera off the bag.

"[The hit] was too slow," Rodriguez said. "[Iglesias] had to wait for it. When he stepped back, even if it was a good throw, I still believe he wouldn't get [the out]."

The Tigers fell three innings later when Adam Eaton singled home Shuck against Anibal Sanchez, who was into his third inning of relief.

Although the usually reliable Rodriguez picked up a share of the blame, the Tigers blew a bigger lead much earlier.

Detroit got out to a 7-0 advantage after pulverizing Chicago starter James Shields in the first three innings. The White Sox, though, struck back for six runs against Tigers starter Matt Boyd. In relief, Bobby Parnell allowed two inherited runners to score before surrendering an earned run of his own in the fifth. Parnell was optioned to Triple-A Toledo after the game.

The cumulative effect was a turbulent night that ended with a deflated feeling in the Tigers' clubhouse, one that remained shut much longer than usual after the game.

Although the loss was not solely on Rodriguez, his comments said as much as anyone could say.

"Every time you lose the lead -- six, seven runs, early in the game -- and you don't come out on top, it's tough," Rodriguez said. "Just have to put it behind us."