Greene's career night can't save Alexander's homecoming

August 27th, 2022

ARLINGTON -- The Tigers saw opposite ends of career nights in their series opener against the Rangers on Friday at Globe Life Field: had a good night, had a bad night, and it came together in a 7-6 loss.

Alexander entered the opener with a chance to pick up back-to-back wins for the first time in his career. Instead, it was a career night to forget.

In Detroit’s defeat, the left-hander allowed a career-high seven runs, three home runs and eight hits through just three innings of work -- his shortest outing since returning to the rotation in late July.

He summed his night up in seven words.

“It was three innings worth of crap,” said Alexander, who is now 1-5 over his last six starts.

Against a hot-hitting Texas squad, Alexander gave up his first home run in the first inning -- a solo shot off the bat of Nathaniel Lowe, who sent the ball a Statcast-projected 449 feet to dead center: 1-0.

The damage was minimal, but then came the second inning.

After inducing a groundout to start things off, the Rangers reached on two consecutive singles, followed by a three-run homer from Ezequiel Duran: 4-0.

When the Tigers cut the lead in half the following frame, the score didn’t look so bad. Then, Texas struck again with three runs in the bottom of the third, including a two-out, two-run homer from Mark Mathias: 7-2. Alexander's night was over.

Prior to Friday -- both as a starter and a reliever -- Alexander had not allowed more than three earned runs in any outing since April 29: He surrendered a combined 12 earned runs in four starts that month.

After the loss, Alexander, who was born in Chicago but grew up in the Dallas-Fort Worth area before being drafted out of TCU by the Tigers in 2015, said he didn’t feel any nerves playing in his home state. He felt like he was making his pitches, but the game got away from him.

“It seemed like every ball they hit hard went over the fence,” he added.

Once Alexander was pulled from the game, Greene ramped things up and put the Tigers in a position to win. In the fifth inning, the rookie plated two runs on a triple that turned into a Little League home run as he advanced home on a throwing error.

His night was topped off by a two-run home run in the ninth inning to make it a one-run game, but -- with the tying run on first -- Rangers pitcher José Leclerc struck out and swinging to close out the win.

Greene finished the game having posted a career-high three hits, three runs and four RBIs in five at-bats. While the outcome wasn’t what he was hoping for, Greene echoed manager A.J. Hinch’s postgame sentiments.

“[Tonight] just shows that we’re never out of it," he said. "Whether we’re down four runs or six runs. We scored six runs in one inning two days ago in Detroit. ... We’re gonna fight until the last out.”